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  • Some years ago I was in Turkey with my friends and we took a ferryboat from Istanbul to Büyükada, a small island not to far from the capital, famous for having been a favorite destination since the old time by both artists and aristocracy. There are not motor vehicles on the islands: once there you can choose either a bicycle or your feet or to take a ride on a carriage (few locals have motorbikes).

    Carriages, together with beaches, are now the main attractions of Büyükada. We took a ride heading towards one of the rated beaches. During the ride we were fascinated by blooming pink and orange bougainvilleas and old wood Ottoman mansions that summoned up lavish past glories.

    We dropped off at the bottom of the hill, surrounded by a number of high maritime pines, I shot some horses in a very poetic way because that was still my feeling.

    But I turned in a while. I realized that even if carriages were clean, bright and colored, horses were stick-thin and you could feel drivers were very poor. We started walking into a very hot street crossing what it looked like a rigged up shelter for horses, close to a warehouse where they fixed or built carriages. When we arrive at the bottom of the street I couldn’t go forward to the beach, I felt too uncomfortable to enjoy the place despite what I had seen. I took an appointment with my friends and decided to walk back alone and release my disappointment taking photos.

    Photography can be a very good way to fix a point in what it’s going on, because it’s exactly what it’s about: to fix an images of reality. And it can be therapeutic to put it there, instead of keeping it just for yourself.

    I couldn’t feel worse, the poetic atmosphere of the ride, all our laughings and appreciations about the place were disappeared, leaving a sense of pain for such a misery. I walked up the street, entered in the warehouse, and had a chat with the man who was working there. He was very shy and polite.

    Then I went out and took photos of the shelters, a big open air ground with barracks around it, w horses resting over a very dirty soil under the hot midday summer sun, with ribs in evidence under thin skin, covered with scarves and sprayed with colored strips, all in a very depressive surrounding. I took photos of everything I met. I was very sad about this contrast, those funny colored objects, carriages, and these pitiable beings.

    The climax was when I saw a man repeatedly hitting a laying horse with a shovel, to make him get up. There is not judgment in my story, but I want to share the destiny of these poor animals and their owners.

    I headed up till the top of the hill, shot some more photos of carriages. This time my eye was completely changed about this vehicles and their meaning. Then I took a ride back to the harbour, silent and alone.


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