Encounter with Erdem: A Champion of Yagli Gures

### Encounter with Erdem: A Champion of Yagli Gures

In the backstage of the 2023 Yagli Gures championship in Turkey, I had the honor of photographing Erdem, a Turkish wrestler and friend for 10 years. To capture this moment of closeness and intensity, I used a fixed 85mm lens, ideal for portraits due to its ability to produce a shallow depth of field. With an aperture of f/1.8, I was able to isolate Erdem from the background, making his face and skin details even more striking.

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Encounter with Erdem: A Champion of Yagli Gures

In the backstage of the 2023 Yagli Gures championship in Turkey, I had the honor of photographing Erdem, a Turkish wrestler and friend for 10 years. To capture this moment of closeness and intensity, I used a fixed 85mm lens, ideal for portraits due to its ability to produce a shallow depth of field. With an aperture of f/1.8, I was able to isolate Erdem from the background, making his face and skin details even more striking.

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The key to achieving this photo was managing the natural light. Yagli Gures often takes place outdoors, and that day, the light was soft, creating subtle shadows that highlighted Erdem’s muscular contours. I preferred a slightly warm white balance to maintain the event’s authentic atmosphere.

In post-production, I worked on the contrast and desaturation of colors. This highlighted the texture of the oil on Erdem’s skin and gave the image a raw and realistic look. I also enhanced details such as sweat droplets and wrestling marks to emphasize the intense physical effort of this traditional sport.

What I love about this photo is how it captures the essence of Yagli Gures: strength, concentration, and tradition. Erdem, with his determined expression and body marked by effort, perfectly embodies these values. This image is not just a sports portrait, but also a tribute to the resilience and passion of wrestlers like Erdem, who dedicate their lives to this ancestral sport.

 

Technical Analysis of the Photograph

Aperture and Depth of Field:
An aperture of f/1.8 for a shallow depth of field, highlighting Erdem’s face while blurring the background.

Focal Length and Composition:
Using an 85mm focal length, ideal for portraits, capturing Erdem realistically and closely.

Exposure and Contrast:
Adjusting the exposure to balance natural light and shadows, capturing details without losing nuances.

ISO Sensitivity:
ISO 200 for optimal clarity, even in variable natural light conditions.

Color and Tone:
Slightly desaturated tones to reflect the raw and authentic ambiance of Yagli Gures, emphasizing the skin’s texture and the moment’s intensity.
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Twilight Resilience: Ahmed’s Rebuilding Efforts in Jordan

Ahmed’s Hard Work at the Camp in Jordan

Twilight illuminates the silhouette of Ahmed as he delves into his work, repairing a dwelling in the camp I visited in Jordan. His focused and methodical posture embodies the resilience and determination needed to rebuild under tough conditions.

A native of the region, Ahmed is committed to repairing the living quarters in the camp, a critical challenge for improving the living conditions of the residents.

Ahmed captured in action, repairing a dwelling in a camp in Jordan.

Technical Analysis of the Photograph

This photograph was captured with a focus on technical detail to highlight the intensity of the moment and the nature of Ahmed’s work.

  • Aperture and Depth of Field: An aperture of f/4.0 for a moderate depth of field, focusing attention on Ahmed while integrating his environment.
  • Focal Length and Composition: A 50mm focal length was used, ideal for capturing the subject in context with realism.
  • Exposure and Contrast: The exposure time was adjusted to balance the light and shadows, capturing details without losing the nuances.
  • ISO Sensitivity: An ISO of 400 for optimal clarity even in darker areas.
  • Color and Tone: Cool tones to reflect the twilight ambiance, accentuating the harshness of the work.

This photograph not only captures a moment of work but also tells a story of determination and adaptation to challenges. The technique used here aims to enhance the impression of resilience and focus, essential qualities that Ahmed brings to his daily work in tough conditions.

The Syrian Rebel: A Symbol of Resistance

The twilight illuminates the silhouette of the Syrian rebel, his gaze fixed on the horizon as he carries his weapon on his shoulders.
His powerful, almost defiant posture embodies the resilience and determination that push him to fight for his future.
Originally from Jordan, he is ready to face the Syrian army, a tremendous challenge, but one that he considers essential for the future of his region.

This scene was captured with careful photographic approach. The natural light of the sunset, soft and enveloping,
offers a striking contrast between the shadows of the figure and the bright background of the sky, enhancing the dramatic effect.

To capture this moment, a fixed focal length lens was used, favoring a wide aperture, probably around f/2.8 or larger,
to obtain a shallow depth of field. This aperture creates a subtle bokeh effect in the background, blurring the trees to focus
attention on the main subject.

The focal length, likely between 35mm and 50mm, offers a perfect balance between capturing the environment and highlighting
the rebel. The ISO sensitivity was kept relatively low to minimize digital noise, making the most of the natural sunset light.

A slightly longer exposure time allows enough detail to be preserved in the shadows of the figure while capturing the subtle shades of the sky.
The contrast between the deep shadows of the subject and the softer light of the background creates a dramatic effect, reinforced by the increased color saturation.

This Syrian rebel is now a close friend, whose journey I follow closely, offering advice and support in his fight for freedom.
This personal relationship adds an extra dimension to each photo, revealing not only the courage of a fighter,
but also the unwavering spirit of a community ready to defend itself.

The Story of Adam: A Symbol of Palestinian Resilience at the Heart of the Refugee Camp

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The Story of Adam – A Young Palestinian Refugee


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At the heart of the UNRWA refugee camp in Jordan, I met Adam, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy.
His captivating gaze and peace sign struck me from the first moment, revealing an unexpected inner strength for a child so young. Originally from Palestine, he lives in a world of uncertainty, where each day brings its share of challenges. Yet, his eyes reflect a blend of resilience and hope.

To capture this moment, I chose a 50mm fixed focal length lens, a lens that offers an intimate, human perspective. Using a wide aperture (f/2.8), I was able to create a shallow depth of field, highlighting Adam’s face and his symbolic gesture while subtly blurring the background to focus attention on his expression. The soft daylight enhances the details of his face and creates a striking contrast with the dark, blurry background of the camp.

Post-production focused on enhancing contrast and partially desaturating colors to emphasize the harsh reality of daily life for a Palestinian refugee while preserving the clarity of his peace message. I intentionally kept the marks on his face visible to remind us of daily hardships while capturing his determination to move forward.

Through the lens of my camera, I see in Adam a powerful symbol of Palestinian courage and resilience. His mere presence, discreet smile, and peace sign are a vibrant call for a future where every Palestinian child will have the opportunity to dream without limits, grow up without fear, and reach their full potential.

This photo is a tribute to young Palestinians like Adam, whose tenacity and determination shine like a beacon in the storm. It reminds me why I am involved in this work and why it is crucial to continue capturing these stories with passion to raise awareness and inspire.