Turkish photographer wins int’l contest with COVID-19 photos
Selected as the winner of the “Discovery of the Year 2020” contest F. Dilek Uyar became the “Emerging Photographer of the Year” in the contest of the California-based International Photography Awards with her work titled “In Epicenter of COVID-19.”
Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has been the most important event affecting the world since Second World War, Uyar said that undoubtedly the biggest difficulty was experienced in hospitals, with health care professionals working day and night.
With the mindset that “I can’t change history, but I can show it,” Uyar decided to spend time in a hospital while shooting. Uyar said she soon became “invisible” to people there with the time spent observing and shooting in the premises.
Instead of shooting with haste, Uyar spent a total of 29 days in the intensive care unit of a hospital for her shootings to reflect the tough times of health care professionals and patients fighting against COVID-19.
Uyar said that as a mother of two, it was a difficult decision for her to enter the intensive care unit, or “the heart of the risk” in her words.
She considered the risk for both herself and her family. “But I knew that I would never forgive myself at the end of this process, which will not be repeated [...] I should have photographed a subject that I had to photograph, not a subject that would be good if I took photos.”
Uyar said she wanted to show people what exactly was happening in a COVID-19 intensive care unit. She aimed to show through her photographs the normal environment of intensive care units, the arrival of a patient, doctors and nurses dressing up and entering patients’ rooms for treatment as well as the moments of treatment and the way health care workers rested and slept.
“In general, we see that events that focus on the moment in documentary photography are away from aesthetic anxiety. But unlike the general ones, I also wanted to show that aesthetic photographs can be taken in documentary photography, albeit difficult,” Uyar said.
“This has been the surprise of my lifetime. I can’t believe it,” she said on social media.