Journey to Krin: A Photo Essay
by Ozan Yavuz
(please click the image for the photo essay)
This is the photographic narrative of my journey back to my ancestral homeland, Krin. Krin is a village where my ancestors lived before their emigration to Turkey from Bulgaria at the beginning of the 19th century. I have no instinct or sense of why my ancestors emigrated to Turkey. A vague story I heard from my oldest uncle says “They walked all the way to Turkey when your grandfather was two years old. When they arrived at the Maritsa River, your grandfather’s father chartered a boat to cross the river. But the boatman said to him, ‘Just leave the kid’ but he refused, ‘No! I am just putting up with the pain for my kid.’’’
It is so ironic today that we are facing a wave of migration from East to West, and I am looking for my past which is not so tragic but essential to reconstruct my migrant identity from West to East. My journey passes from the border of Bulgaria-Turkey, Maritsa River and reaches Perperikon, meets with Vasil Levski but can’t find the lost memory at all. There is nothing to find. Krin has no answers about the lost gaze and my lost memory; it tells its own reality: Balkan reality.
-Road to Krin
-Where am I?
I remember the poem:
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean (Cavafy, 1992)
Ozan Yavuz is currently working towards a PhD in art at Yildiz Technical University, Faculty of Art and Design and working as a Research Assistant in the same institution. Last semester (2016-2017, Fall), he was at Purdue as a visiting scholar with the Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts.