Kamila Stanley is one of those precocious, self-taught, up-and-coming photographers whose improvisation and effortless captured moments get me excited. Stanley finds beautiful scenes in the everyday, and uses travel as a way to further explore her perspective in photo. She recently sent me a collection of images made in Turkey this past fall and offered a statement on her editing process after the fact. Below is a selection from the work and some words from the artist.
–Elizabeth Renstrom, VICE Photo Editor
I traveled to Turkey in the autumn of 2015. In the same year, Turkey made international headlines for imprisoned journalists, bloody terror attacks, a shadowy general election, the downing of the Russian fighter jet—and an unprecedented refugee crisis. As I write this, a suicide bomber with apparent links to ISIS shook the country again.
In contrast, I wanted to shoot an intimate series about everyday life in Turkey—distanced from the darkness of its politics and the mainstream media image. I chose to focus on the country's dramatic landscapes, the bustle of its everyday scenes, and its youth. There is a relationship between the solitude of the winding hills and the nostalgia rooted deep in the Turkish character.
I traveled with my brother from Istanbul to the mountains of Cappadocia via empty side roads, eerie gas stations and dusty suburbs. We passed through villages and cities—Antalya, Selçuk, Izmir. It was a series of student flats, motels, citrus trees; selfe-sticks, pole-dance shoes, and again and again religion—Turkish youth blend holy festivals and Islamic traditions with Western clothes and American pop music.
It's certainly a difficult time to be young in the Middle East. Although Turkey's borders separate it from Syria and Iran, it has become deeply entangled in the regional conflict. An identity crisis is rumbling in Turkey's guts, yet its new generation ofers a promise of what a peaceful outcome could look like in the Muslim world.
Contemporary representations of Turkey are often grim and politically charged, or superficial and angled towards a tourist audience. I shot this series on a small 35mm film camera, as I sought to preserve the grit and candor of the many encounters we had. Due to the heat and to the cheap film, the developed pictures came in washed-out, pastel hues. I decided not to alter this as it tints the series with a youthful haze—and carries some of the warmth of Turkey's mellow soul.
All photographs by Kamila Stanley