The CENTER Awards: Project Launch 1st Place Winner: Guy Martin
For the next two weeks, Lenscratch will be celebrating the 2014 CENTER Award Winners. We are thrilled to align with such a wonderful organization that honors, supports, and provides opportunities to gifted and committed photographers. For 20 years, CENTER has launched careers, provided incredible exposure and inspired photographers to create work that excites and challenges the photographic dialogue.
Today we celebrate Guy Martin‘ Project Launch 1st Place Award, starting with jurors, Laura Ruth & Fred Bidwell’s, statement. Guy’s project is a fascinating combination of reality and fiction–he was wounded in the same attack that killed Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros in Libya in 2011, and in an attempt avoid making work on the front lines, he has created a series that merges the drama of Turkish soap operas and the reality of the protests in Istanbul, making us consider what is the truth in the reportage of war.
PROJECT LAUNCH: Juror’s Statement
We enjoyed viewing and discussing the hundreds of portfolios immensely. While it seemed at first overwhelming, surfing through these entries revealed many strong bodies of work and our eagerness to see more kept us going strong. Powerful, well-executed images, crisp concepts and emotional impact were what attracted us to a short list of finalists. The fact that our selections had little overlap with that of the other two jurors is a testimony to the strength and quality of the entries.
In the end, it was not difficult for us all to agree that the Guy Martin’s City of Dreams, which mixes the drama of Turkish Soap Operas with the reality of social turmoil in Instanbul, had the formal, conceptual and emotional impact to be awarded First Place.
Guy Martin‘s Artist Statement: City of Dreams
Marital affairs, blood feuds, divorce and murder; scenarios that although may not reflect the reality of contemporary life in Istanbul, are the plot lines of Turkish soap operas that are drawing in tens of millions of viewers from Athens to Riyadh.
The rise in popularity across the Arab world and Balkan countries has made Turkish dramas a huge commercial success, and a vital component of Turkey’s soft power strategy. It is a way for Turkey to export its culture of secularism and wealth to an audience dying to know more about its close neighbour.
Arab viewers are fascinated with the shows because they purport to reveal how Turks, particularly Turkish women, handle modernity. One series finale pulled in staggering global audience figures of 85 million, with over 50 million of those viewers reported to be female.
Now, as the Arab world finds itself in a period of flux, many television viewers are, consciously or not, looking to Turkey for a lifestyle and governance that is both Muslim and modern.But in May 2013, as these shows were in their final weeks of filming for the summer season, Istanbul was witnessing its’ own, very real, dramatic events. Thousands of young, secular Turks took to the streets to initially demonstrate against overzealous construction projects, but these rallies quickly grew to wide scale protests against a series of government-backed policies that were seen to curb civil liberties and promote Islamic conservatism.
Guy Martin comes from England’s windswept Cornish coast began pursuing long term personal documentary projects while studying at Newport, one of which, ‘Trading over the Borderline’- a documentation of the border region between Turkey and Northern Iraq and its trade routes – won him the Guardian and Observer Hodge Award for young photographers. Inspired by regions that are in periods of transition, he went on to pursue a long term project on the re-birth of the Cossack movement and Russian nationalism in Southern Russia and the Caucasus from 2005 to 2007, which culminated in the documentation of the Russian/Georgia conflict in August 2008.
From January 2011 he began to document the revolutions sweeping through the Middle East and North Africa, photographing the revolution in Egypt before documenting the civil war in Libya from the east to the besieged western city of Misrata in April 2011.
His work has appeared in the Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, Der Spiegel, D Magazine, FADER Magazine, Monocle Magazine, Huck Magazine, The British Journal of Photography, ARTWORLD, The NewStatesman, The Wall Street Journal and Time. In 2011 he became a member of the esteemed photographic agency Panos.
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