I am an artist living in Berlin, a first-generation immigrant. A grandchild of a segregated minority from Turkey, an agnostic, a queer. Belonging to a community and feeling at home have been big question marks in my life. How can I possibly express my urge to be understood?
I ended up connecting with gender-nonconforming, queer, transgender refugees and asylum seekers in Berlin a few years ago. I respect people whose identities are so intricate and layered that resilience and beauty become invisible.
With that deep respect, I ask, "what if photography is more listening than seeing?" My approach is about looking at each other at eye level. It is about embracing and appreciating the differences while connecting on similarities, striving to depict people in their wholeness while being aware of the limitations of representation. The images reflect my relationships and my impression of their stories. Thus, it is very subjective, after all.
Come Get Your Honey
"It is the fight between social marginalisation and social affirmation that makes this collection such an exciting body of works.
As the viewer, you are never in one definite state."
Amrou Al-Kadhi, the book Come Get Your Honey
"If I remove myself from the situation, trans refugee myself, when I look at the book, I see that you want to show the viewer: ‘These people are just like you.’"
Farah Abdi, Transgender Europe
“Durgun became a familiar face; someone who did not focus on suffering, repression or voyeuristic displays. Instead, he accompanied those portrayed along their way and to their places of refuge in Berlin, with respect and friendship.”
Ulrich Rüter, Leica Fotografie International
"Here - where the social space cannot be described otherwise than precarious - photography functions like a language that can connect people and communities with one another."
Maren Lübbke-Tidow, Berlin Museum of Photography
"Ranging from close-up shots of his close community of friends, lovers and collaborators to studies of architectural environments that reveal their marginalization, Durgun’s protagonists assume their intersectional positionality with camaraderie, intimacy and respect."
Alona Pardo, LensCulture Critics' Choice Awards
Better if I speak (in progress)
I use the question "What if photography is more about 'listening'?" as a compass to narrate stories. I choose participation over spectating. My works are shown in various venues, including Berlin Museum of Photography. My book, Come Get Your Honey, was published in 2021 by Kehrer Verlag and featured in various media outlets, including HUCK, i-D Italy, GQ, LFI by Leica, Halle4 by Deichtorhallen Hamburg. I studied in Bogazici University, Istanbul and University of the Arts (UdK), Berlin. I am German-Turkish-Abkhazian, and live in Berlin.
- Portfolio walk at DFA (German Photographic Academy)
- Featuring, Philosophy & Photogr.aphy Lab
- NFT drop, misa.art by, Guest Room by Der Greif - Heartfelt
- Exhibition at Rundgang – Open Days of the UdK (Berlin University of the Arts)
- Book talk: Photobook Fair talk, Impressions Gallery, UK
- Essay: #Photography2050 for HALLE4 blog, Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Germany
Stay in touch: @hi.sametdurgun
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