18 April 2014, Friday
Today's Zaman

[Time in Turkey] Together with nomads in Toros Mountains

15 April 2012, Sunday /
The Kuş Alis are a wonderful family. They pitch a camp after a very long day of walking under the pouring rain.

Ali Uçar, the father, sleeps in the tent. Hatice, his wife, and their older daughter, Emine, make flatbread over a low fire. Twenty-three camels and dromedaries walk around. They carry everything the family possesses in 20 bags. Bayram is in the valley with 300 sheep, while Gülcan and Yasemin look after the 300 goats that are climbing the almost vertical face of the mountain. We hear the two girls shouting at them so that they don’t wander off. Under the trees, five kangal dogs pretend to be asleep. The next two nights, as I sleep under the stars among the goats, I hear the dogs barking at the sounds of the night, walking around animals that are not in an enclosure. They are like dreadful bodyguards.

The six members of the family only get together at night. From where I am, I hear them laughing together. Their closeness is wonderful. Hatice, the mother, has given birth to 13 children. She would like to live in a house, but her husband and children love their life and would not want to change it. At about 1 a.m., I hear shouting and I see flashlights dancing around. The animals have wandered off, and it will take two more hours to gather them again. At six in the morning, they fold the tent, load the camels, put out the fire and start walking in the fog. Tonight, it will be raining again as we pitch a new camp.


Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt was born in 1947 and lives in Brussels. He has been a member of the Agence VU in Paris since its foundation in 1986. A dozen books of his photographs have been published, including “Zoologies” (Robert Delpire, 1982), “Les Travaux et les Jours” (Actes Sud, 1992), “Sur la ligne” (17th book of the Cross-Channel Photographic Mission, 1994), “Chiens” (Marval, 1997), “Duo” (Nathan/Delpire, 2000) and “Photo Poche No.110” (Actes Sud, 2007). His photos appeared in the following newspapers and magazines: Le Monde, Libération, Télérama, El Païs, Die Zeit Magazin, Berliner Tages Zeitung, NZZ am Sonntag, Le Temps, De Morgen, Gazeta Magazyn, Photographers International, Time, The Outlook Magazine and The New Yorker. Solo exhibitions of his photos have been held at: Galerie Delpire (Paris), ICP (New York), Musée de L’Elysée (Lausanne), La Galerie du Théâtre (Gap), La Filature (Mulhouse), Galerie Vu (Paris), Maison Robert Doisneau (Gentilly), Musée de la Photographie (Charleroi), Leica Gallery (Tokyo & Solms), Le Channel/Scène Nationale (Calais), Le Botanique (Brussels), Galerie Camera Obscura (Paris), Galerie Box (Brussels) and Centro Andaluz de la Fotografia (Almeira).

For an interview with Michel Vanden, see www.timeinturkey.com

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