Tag: portraits

Art supplies and Turkish coffee in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

Art supplies and Turkish coffee in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

We’ve returned to the US from Turkey, and while I won’t speak for David, I’ve been walking around in a thick fog of jet lag. That fog, combined with a healthy dose of cultural shock, has left me feeling unmoored and dislocated — suspended between two worlds. So before my heart settles completely, I wanted to write a blog post about some of our final experiences in Turkey, in a city called Kahramanmaras.

In Kahramanmaras, we were fortunate to have both Khalid and Ezgi Içöz with us. Ezgi is an art therapist from Istanbul, and she and Khalid paired up to create a fantastic series of art therapy sessions for the kids:

Ezgi during an art therapy session at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, by Mieke Strand

Ezgi during an art therapy session at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

Khalid during an art therapy session at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

Khalid during an art therapy session at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

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Students during an art therapy session in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

A student describes her drawing during an art therapy session in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

A student describes her drawing during an art therapy session in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

While Khalid and Ezgi were hard at work, David was taking portraits of other students on the roof of the school:

David photographing on the roof of a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

David photographing on the roof of a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

David also took photos of the kids coming into the school after break. They lined up like a choo-choo train and sang a song while entering the building.

Kids at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, by David Gross

Kids at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, by David Gross

Here’s one more photo David took of a group of girls inside the school:

Students at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by David Gross

Students at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by David Gross

We’ll add another blog post shortly to wrap up our final thoughts on our trip. After that, we’ll be focusing on creating the eBook and sending out our kickstarter rewards. Stay tuned!

Görüşürüz! -Mieke

Happy New Year!

We’ve taken a holiday break from the blog, which means this post will be long and chock full of photos! We are now in a city about 4 hours north of Reyhanli, called Gaziantep. I’m really enjoying this city–the people are warm and welcoming.

Our friend, As’ad Sieo, connected us with a wonderful Syrian school here; its name translates to “Friendship School”. We’re also incredibly lucky that another friend, Khalid Eid, has been teaching art classes for us at this school. Khalid is a natural-born teacher, with an energy that the children love. The moment he begins speaking in a classroom, the children light up with joy. It’s magical to watch. Below, I’m posting a few photos of Khalid in action, but I’ll be posting some video clips of him as well in a later post. (Khalid’s also a photographer, so I’ll post some of his photographs in the next post, as well.)

Khalid and his students, by Mieke Strand

Khalid and his students, by Mieke Strand

Khalid and his students, by Mieke Strand

Khalid and his students, by Mieke Strand

Khalid and his students, by Mieke Strand

Khalid and his students, by Mieke Strand

A student at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

A student at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

Here are a couple of the paintings from the art sessions:

Painting by a child at the Syrian Friendship School in Gaziantep, photo by David Gross

Painting by a child at the Syrian Friendship School in Gaziantep, photo by David Gross

Painting by a child at the Syrian Friendship School in Gaziantep, photo by David Gross

Painting by a child at the Syrian Friendship School in Gaziantep, photo by David Gross

David’s been making many portraits at this school; I’m including a few, mostly of teachers, below. We’re saving most of the photos of the kids for the book.

Manager at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, Turkey, by David Gross

Manager at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, Turkey, by David Gross

Teacher at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, Turkey, by David Gross

Teacher at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, Turkey, by David Gross

Student at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, Turkey, by David Gross

Student at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, Turkey, by David Gross

Class of students at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, Turkey, by David Gross

Class of students at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, Turkey, by David Gross

I’ve started working again with my digital camera, photographing the city and the neighborhoods where the students live. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to take the school bus home with one of the girls at the school (and Khalid, who is also a fantastic translator). Below are a few photographs that I took on the bus ride:

Students from the Friendship School getting off the bus after school in Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

Students from the Friendship School getting off the bus after school in Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

Friendship School bus dropping kids off after school in Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

Friendship School bus dropping kids off after school in Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

View from the Friendship School bus in Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

View from the Friendship School bus in Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

View from a neighborhood in Gaziantep in which many Syrians are currently living, by Mieke Strand

View from a neighborhood in Gaziantep in which many Syrians are currently living, by Mieke Strand

And last, but not least, I’ve been going out photographing in the streets of Gaziantep to document city life. I’ll include just a couple here:

Gaziantep at night, by Mieke Strand

Gaziantep at night, by Mieke Strand

Portrait of a man from Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

Portrait of a man from Gaziantep, by Mieke Strand

Görüşürüz! -Mieke

We’ve taken a short, holiday break from Inside-Outside, which has allowed me to process the film I’d taken so far. In the spirit of our last post, here are a couple of the portraits I’ve made in Reyhanli:

Syrian girl in Reyhanli, Turkey by Mieke Strand

Syrian girl in Reyhanli, Turkey by Mieke Strand

Syrian teenage boy in Reyhanli, Turkey by Mieke Strand

Syrian teenage boy in Reyhanli, Turkey by Mieke Strand

We hitched a ride one day with a boy collecting recyclables with his mule and cart. Here’s one photo from that memorable journey:

Smoke break, by Mieke Strand

Smoke break, by Mieke Strand

And my last photo in this post is in honor of my eldest nephew, Esteban. Esteban is currently a huge fan of  Barbapapa, a French cartoon character whose name means “cotton candy” (literally “daddy’s beard”). This one’s for you, Esteban:

Cotton candy in Reyhanli, Turkey by Mieke Strand

Cotton candy in Reyhanli, Turkey by Mieke Strand

Görüşürüz! -Mieke

A few days ago, we asked you, Dear Readers, whether you would like to see some of the photographs and drawings from our project now, or whether we should instead unveil them all for the first time in the Inside-Outside eBook.

The reply was a resounding “now”! You asked, and we shall deliver. (Again, because I am shooting film, the photos in the post are all by David.)

We’ve been working most recently with a Syrian school in Reyhanli. The directors, teachers, and students at the school have been incredibly welcoming and generous with their time. The first two photographs below are of the director of the school and his wife. We can’t thank them enough for their generosity and warm welcome.

Director of school for Syrian children, by David Gross

Director of school for Syrian children, by David Gross

Wife of the Director of a school for Syrian Children, by David Gross

Wife of Director of school for Syrian Children, by David Gross

The next photograph in today’s series is of Tamador. Tamador provides psychological support to the students in addition to teaching. She has been leading art sessions at the school for months, and she had generously lent her time to leading sessions for our project as well. Tamador is constantly working, busy, on the move, and she has a fantastic, fantastic sense of humor.

Tamador, by David Gross

Tamador, by David Gross

And finally, here are two portraits of children from the school.

Girl at Syrian school in Reyhanli, by David Gross

Girl at Syrian school in Reyhanli, by David Gross

Boy at Syrian school in Reyhanli, by David Gross

Boy at Syrian school in Reyhanli, by David Gross

Now, for the drawings. Each session that Tamador has led has had a different focus, and the drawings reflect that. In the first drawing below, Tamador had the child draw his vision of Syrian before, during and after the war. This is drawing is more abstract than many of the others, and it is also one of my favorites. (Please note, I’ve blurred out the children’s names on their drawings for the sake of privacy.)

Drawing by child at Syrian refugee school in Reyhanli

Drawing (Before/During/After the War) by a boy at Syrian refugee school in Reyhanli

In this painting, the upper left corner (all in black paint) is how the child thinks of Syria in the past. As he explained, there were all different kinds of people, different religions, different ethnicities, but people didn’t really see each other as different. In the center section of the painting, the boy shows Syria as he sees it now. Differences are very clear, and they are keeping Syrians divided. His hope for Syria’s future is in the lower right. He expects people in Syria to still see their differences, but to nonetheless live together in harmony.

The next three drawings come from a session dealing with stories of loss. They are particularly heartbreaking. The children we’ve met have seen and experienced more than any child should endure.

"Black clouds. A mother crying for her son, baby, and sister. She lost 3 family members." Drawing by Syrian girl.

“Black clouds. A mother crying for her son, baby, and sister. She lost 3 family members.” Drawing by Syrian girl.

"Two planes drop bombs on the people. The children are crying, and the father has lost his hands." Drawing by Syrian girl.

“Two planes drop bombs on the people. The children are crying, and the father has lost his hands.” Drawing by Syrian girl.

"A girl at her father's grave." Drawing by Syrian girl.

“A girl at her father’s grave.” Drawing by Syrian girl.

And I’ll end on a more uplifting note. This last drawing shows a Syrian girl’s feelings toward Turkey, her current home. She felt that Turkey was the only nation to really help Syrians, and was clearly grateful for that help:

Syria and Turkey. Drawing by a Syrian girl.

Syria and Turkey. Drawing by a Syrian girl.

As always, we look forward to your thoughts, comments and questions.

Görüşürüz! -Mieke

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Terrace in Istanbul, Mieke Strand (iPhone)

Exciting news! Through one of David’s acquaintances, we met a German journalist based here in Istanbul. She has been covering the Syrian schools opening both along the border and here in Istanbul. She’s connected us with the director of one of those schools, and we’re meeting with him tomorrow. He is enthusiastic about the project, and knows a few different schools that might be interested in working with us.

Progress!

David took his lighting gear to the streets today to play with a couple of ideas. We wound up right along the Golden Horn near sunset, not far from Galata Bridge.

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Mieke in Istanbul, David Gross
(Olympus OM-D, 25mm lens, 1/80 sec at f/8.0, ISO 200.
Flash shooting through small umbrella, with approx. 1/4 CTO orange)

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Mieke in Istanbul, David Gross
(Olympus OM-D, 25mm lens, 1/80 sec at f/9.0, ISO 200.
Flash shooting through small umbrella, with approx. 1/4 CTO orange)

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Mieke in Istanbul, David Gross
(Olympus OM-D, 25mm lens, 1/80 sec at f/9.0, ISO 200.
Flash shooting through small umbrella, with approx. 1/4 CTO orange) 

David’s been experimenting with a style of lighting similar to that in many Renaissance paintings. Here’s an image from today that he played with a bit:
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mieke in Istanbul, David Gross
(Olympus OM-D, 25mm lens, 1/80 sec at f/9.0, ISO 200.
Flash shooting through small umbrella, with approx. 1/4 CTO orange)
Processed through SnapSeed for texture.

Mieke Strand in Istanbul. Processed through SnapSeed for texture.

Mieke in Istanbul, David Gross
(Olympus OM-D, 25mm lens, 1/80 sec at f/9.0, ISO 200.
Flash shooting through small umbrella, with approx. 1/4 CTO orange)
Processed through SnapSeed for texture.

While David was shooting test portraits of me, an Italian couple asked him to take their photo, with their photo and his lights. He did, and they gladly posed for a few more photos for David. This is Simone:

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Simone, David Gross
(Olympus OM-D, 25mm lens, 1/160 sec at f/6.3, ISO 200.
Flash shooting through small umbrella, with approx. 1/4 CTO orange)

In a side note, I started watching a few hilarious youtube videos yesterday that claim to teach you how to pose your portrait subjects. I passed on what I learned, with a heavy dose of sarcasm, to David. However, he used some of it in this photo of Simone, and it actually works. Lesson learned.

As I was posing for David, a group of Turkish photography students (we think) decided to take the opportunity to photograph both me and the sunset. Here’s what it looked like from my perspective:

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Photography students, Istanbul, Mieke Strand, iPhone

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Photography students, Istanbul, Mieke Strand, iPhone

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Photography students, Istanbul, Mieke Strand, iPhone

I love it!

Görüşürüz!  -Mieke

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