Humanity Photo Awards 2015 "Winners Stories" China, March.2016
HPA2015 Aydin Cetinbostanoglu, Last Duty for Priest Sami
An interview for CFPA (China Folklore Photographic Association)
"Last Duty for Priest Sami" was an unscheduled work for me. He was my friend and a religious leader of a little society living in Antakya who speaks and prays in Arabic. When I heard the news of his passing, I jumped on the first bus I could find in Istanbul and arrived in Antakya 15 hours later. His body was at the church morgue. Antakya (Old Antioch) is one of the most important cities of the Christian world. Christian Arabs have lived and worshipped there for the last 2000 years. They are Arabic-speaking and pray in Arabic. Between 2005 and 2014, I have travelled many times to Antakya in order to watch and photograph the rituals of this 1500-strong people.They grew to trust me and after a while we became friends. Sami, the aging priest of the church, was one of them. This man of God had served his church for sixty years. He played a part in each and every member of his congregation in Antakya. He married them, baptized them, mediated conflicts. He became one of the friends I made through photography.This is why I love documentary photography. I have made ma ny friends through it. I visited him at his home each time I was in Antakya and I had the chance to talk with him at length. However, as a friend, I had one last duty to him. This also gives me the opportun ity to document an interesting ritual.