I come from the rice fields and I wear sandals of esparto grass. Mangroves and unstable terrain are my native environment. I can't hide it, nor want to. I am not a writer, not a photographer. I travel because it is my work, and because it drives away the demons I have inside.
I've been editing a new series of photographs for a few months. I recognize that has puzzled me. It’s unusual for my way of seeing things, but this time I did not know how to give literary form to the fraying content of the pieces of daily life that I captured around Istanbul. There is not something unique, in fact. Surely these characters roaming ports, parks and city suburbs of the ‘Two Continents’ will continue in the same fears and joys, unconscious of my remote purposes. Very fleeting here.
I couldn't help but remember those small towns where I skipped stones on the lagoons, when I was reviewing each of the thousands of photographs in this series (My hands were pale, and the curious neighbors whined their concern to my parents, guessing what strange illness I contracted at birth). Drawing Valencia’s Albufera lagoon and laborious fishermen thirty years ago, I can still see the sketches and small spaces occupied by tiny inhabitants. As glittering tinplate, these mysterious strangers crossed infinite bridges over the Bosphorus Strait.
I’ve been there, curious, twice. But I don't remember what happened to me. I have not retained my feelings in my memory, nor my actions during that childhood so far away; can’t even maintain my focus when I photograph, because I end up losing myself, becoming a madman through those abysmal lenses. What it creates: a changing amplitude, which consumes my attention and requires everything of me. It's the metamorphosis of mankind, incessant, that moves the earth with slight but effective impulses.
Diversity tends to disappear, my friend. The homogeneity of humanity burns in a blaze of dazzling colors, as attractive as poisonous. The richness of ancient customs is now a ghostly curiosity. We are proud to see ourselves as disposable; combustible. Crackling leaves.
We are embers willing to glow. Coals of what existed for so many years. Burning and burning.
© Text and Images by José Martínez