Wedding photographer uses rivers as backdrops to protest hydroelectric plants
Taner Kılınç from Arhavi photographs couples in their wedding outfits, as is traditionally done before the marriage ceremony.As hydroelectric power plants (HES) are spreading across the country, particularly along the Black Sea coast, one photographer is using his camera as a tool to protest against these projects by photographing couples before one of the most intimate moment of their life: Their wedding.
Taner Kılınç, who lives in the coastal town of Arhavi near the Georgian border, photographs couples in their wedding outfits, as is traditionally done before the marriage ceremony. But instead of using the studio as a setting, he takes the pictures outdoors next to rivers near Arhavi and the entire Artvin province, where HES projects have been built or are planned to be constructed.
The number of HES projects throughout the region are multiplying and causing serious damage to the local environment with very little return in energy gain. Locals frequently gather and take legal action against the large energy companies who receive their blessing from the government to help them acquire the necessary permission to construct these projects.
Kılınç says he decided to shoot his photos with a backdrop showing rivers and HES projects to show the angry reaction that local people have toward the HES projects in his area. “Another beauty of this work is to see the bride and groom’s willingness to look after their habitat,” he says.
Kılınç, who is known for his photo shoots next to swimming pools and the sea, describes the HES projects as “evil” projects that are destroying the region’s natural habitat. “Natural beauty is the only kind of richness this country has. I invite everyone who loves their country and their nature to be sensitive and angry about the HES projects,” he said.
The plant has caused outrage in Arhavi as locals claim the HES, which will be the 9th along the stream, may completely dry up the river after it is constructed. Resentment against the project has also grown, as the municipality made legal scrambles to bypass the current legislation, which does not allow such facilities inside cities.