"We patronize the animals for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they are more finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other Nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth."

                                                                                                                                                HENRY BESTON, 1928


I am sitting on a bench by the Bosphorus, looking at most probably one of the most beautiful sceneries of the world.

A breeze is softly cooling my face on a warm autumn day; gulls are flying over my head while their screams are echoing in the blue sky; the clouds are forming cottony and smooth shapes behind the hills of Istanbul’s skyline.

It is a wonderful moment… Is it really so? Well maybe…

But I am craving for a bumpy road somewhere in Africa instead, with dust everywhere, the sun overheating the dry grounds, some unknown insects flying around, all wrapped up with captivating scents. I just want to feel the winds of Africa over my face.

In spite of the high humidity of a rain forest, which shorts my breath, the unknown and shapeless creatures surrounding me or curious snakes hanging over my head, Savannahs of Africa or rainforests of South America-Asia are places on planet earth, where I feel my freedom and my bounds to life. 

And of course, beside the nature, there are also their inhabitants, these non-human beings, these millions of other nations that we, human call animals.

The unfortunate beings trapped in a time, where they have to co-exist with human beings. Most of the time ignored, abused or tortured...

Every year billions of farm animals are killed, most of them lived a horrible life and their death becomes their only survival...

Billions of sea creatures are killed for no reason.

Nowadays, every 15 minutes in the savannahs of Africa an elephant is killed for its tusk.

Rhinos are butchered for their horns.

Tens of thousands of wild or canned animals are hunted just for fun.

Rainforests are destroyed together with all the animals living in, for palm plantations or many other worthless reasons.

And, this list can go on almost endlessly.

No words, nothing, can describe and explain the suffering of our mother nature or these animals, all caused by humans.

I strongly believe that every being on this earth has the right to live equally whether it is a bird, a mountain gorilla , a sheep going to a slaughter house or a human being. They all deserve the same respect.

So face to this drama, on one side, I feel lucky to have the opportunity of travelling all around the world to be so close to nature and wild animals, to be a humble guest to their environment. What a great pleasure it is!

But, on the other side, it is a great misery to witness the devastation of this splendour. Wherever I go, it's all the same. This splendour is vanishing. Humankind is decided to wipe out whatever comes against their will and they call it development, while it is in reality the preparation of our own end and disaster.

So you will probably ask me what the connection with photography is. And I will tell you first, that I do not consider myself a photographer, as my camera gear is in a dark locker most of the time of the year. They only go out to the sun when I go to wilderness. I really don't know why I take these photos, but I have a guess.

Probably it is a hopeless effort, to make you to see these animals as the way I see them...

Cantay Gök

October-2013  Istanbul




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