Blog / Unutursan Darılmam: First Draft

So, here’s the story: (Almost) every single detail in a project statement form. Unutursan Darılmam (I Won’t Be Upset If You Forget Me, 2018 - Ongoing) is a story about İstanbul, and me .

Everything in this story takes place in an apartment in İstanbul.

Backstory: Due to a severe depressive episode, the author wasn’t able to leave the house for a year in 2019; aside from psychiatrist visits and the occasional very short outings to the city centre. The city itself became a fading memory and this monstrous ever-changing being after months spent in a room. He clung to those few photographs that he could make and he used his every waking moment studying them; editing them, sorting them, writing about them.

Mental health in a society is often regarded as a personal struggle, and alienation is not an unexpected result stemming from one’s issues. The work turns the author’s struggles outwards, reflecting the effects of a newly diagnosed bipolar disorder off many surfaces of İstanbul.

In the photographs, we both witness everyday life in İstanbul and the feelings these moments invoke in the photographer — we get the opportunity to look inside one’s mind while they are heavily medicated. The scenes in the photographs are serene, sometimes chilling, often restless but also oddly loving.

Interacting with a city of 16 million with a mental disorder: Perhaps it’s a constant appeal to live in a less chaotic place or desire to understand the state of mind of the both city and the author. We get to explore the author’s clinging to life.

One question emerges from the story: Who is being forgotten here; the photographer or the city? Using photography, the body of work creates a common memory for the author, and the city. A collection of photos to look back to once the struggle is all over.

The work is still ongoing, because the body of work has become a way for the author to interact with life and observe everything that has changed in the city. The city won’t stop transforming but the story will end: when the photographer catches up with the things he’s curious about.
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Ci Demi