Come Get Your Honey
I am an artist living in Berlin who became German as a first-generation immigrant. I was born in Turkey, my great-grandparents arrived in the Ottoman Empire (today's Turkey) from the Caucasus as refugees and lived in isolation until my generation. I am agnostic, queer, and was raised by a single mother. Even though it was difficult for me to feel at home and safe, I grew a pursuit of life-long self-realization.
I wanted to express my urge to be understood by telling stories of people I felt close to. A few years ago, I became friends with gender-nonconforming, trans*, and queer refugees and asylum seekers in Berlin. I have a deep respect for 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?" On a meta-level, this question resists the standard narratives of both LGBTQIA+ and refugee identities. My approach is about looking at each other at eye level. It is also about embracing and appreciating the differences while connecting on similarities, striving to depict individuals in their wholeness while being aware of the limitations of representation. The work reflects my relationships and my impression of their stories. Thus, it is very subjective, after all.
Come Get Your Honey is published in the Summer of 2021 by Kehrer Verlag, with essays by Amrou Al-Kadhi and Marianne Ager, and an interview with me by Prince Emrah, a gender-nonbinary refugee from Turkmenistan.
"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
"The book is not only a space for visibility and representation – it is also a tool the asylum seekers can use to help build their cases for refugee status."
Miss Rosen, HUCK Magazine
“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
"Come Get Your Honey is about the rich inner lives of his subjects and glimpses of everyday life, which contains everything from the glamorous to the banal."
Marianne Ager, the book Come Get Your Honey