My name is Ömer Tevfik, a photographer from Turkey, currently living in İstanbul. I produce documentary series on sexual orientation and gender identity.
I met with the trans community during the Gezi Park protests in 2013, when the LGBTI movement was at its strongest in the history of Turkey, so we could directly affect the political agenda and see the results of our efforts as positive change in the society. In that year, I joined a short film contest, whose jury was combined of trans people. My film isimsiz (unnamed) was awarded the first prize. This motivated me to work more on the subject. I quit my job to live a life with the trans community, and work as a volunteer photographer in İstanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association, which focuses on trans rights and sex work.
As indicated in the 2016 report of Transgender Europe, Turkey has the highest rates of trans murders among European countries. My work on hate crimes has led me to shoot a series on the shelter problem of trans people: transevi (transhome). During and after the shooting of transevi, I received some insightful feedback on my work. As a result, I started to question the point of view of the photographer as a subject who perceives transgender people as victims. I came to understand that in the arts, trans people wanted to see stories in which they are portrayed as strong characters.
After gaining some experience in the intersection of activism and photography, I developed an interest in the storytelling aspect of photography, in which an emotional bond is formed between the photographer and the observer. In this context, I created the series Burçak (28) in 2017.
There are several reasons for my interest in working with trans people, and the most important reason is that while working on this subject, I experience being a transgender person, which is my identity, and to where I belong. Instead of living within the boundaries of male and female, I set out to discover myself through these stories.’’