Friday noon

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I normally do nothing relevant at this time of the day.

Friday prayers have always been a remote, inaccesible thing for me. The Karadeniz region in Turkey is known for its relatively conservative and highly devout religious folk. A preconception living up to its fame. During the namaz (friday prayer), I usually tried staying out of the sight of mosques due to the respect I intended to pay. It never felt comfortable to disturb other people’s sacred, spiritual or just simply peaceful moments, and during namaz I felt it is better to stay away. One day I had Evren, a student of mine asking me to join him during his prayer on a friday. I would not have gone on my own, but it felt like I’m receiving a free pass. He sat within the ‘courtyard’ of the mosque, on the inner side of the building. He told me I’m just fine with sitting on the fence. As people started to gather, I held my camera nervously. No one really talked, all men found their place and prepared for the prayer call. ‘I cannot take a photo during the prayer’, I told myself. I just cannot. Just barely a minute before the prayer would start, I decided to take one shot. I was too embarassed to turn around and see faces- pointing the lens at them would have destroyed their divine moment I never wanted to disturb. Also, since I do not consider the back of people’s heads an interesting subject, I decided to depict them as the mass they were that day: the silent but immense crowd making every move and murmured words in perfect synchronicity. Not the people, but the colorful, diverse yet homogenous pattern their upper bodies made.

Needless to say, the prayer itself was another anecdote.

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