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Stefan has been following a Turkish nomadic family for seven years. He is invited to stay as their friend and lives close together with them from time to time. He finds them through their mobile phone in various places throughout the country, living in cramped conditions without heat, electricity, clean water or proper sewer systems, in abandoned house skeletons and under motorway bridges. Difficulties with money, health care, and welfare rights take turns playing havoc on their lives, and every day is a struggle to keep the whole of the large family alive.
From the introduction to “The Family” by Stefan Bladh, published by Nouvel Publishing in March 2010:
“We lay beside each other like a rosary, feet next to faces. Me at the end next to big brother Ali, 20. On the other side is dad Hüseyin, 40; snoring. The little ones are tucked into the middle. Above us is the booming noise of traffic, it’s late summer and the air is raw and damp. I tug the blanket I stole from the hotel further up over my nose, but the bitter cold and the acrid stench of garbage, urine, and greasy food still gets through. Also, beyond that, the highway smell: exhaust fumes, asphalt, burned rubber. We sleep on randomly dug up carpets and blankets, our rest provided us by the viaduct’s concrete foundation. The night is jet black. I lay awake listening to the sound of stray dogs chasing rats in and out of refuse bins, accompanied by the whispering of people’s feet sneaking past us in the gravel.”
Stefan Bladh was born in 1976 in Örebro, Sweden. He is now based in Stockholm where he has been working as a professional photographer since 2002. He spends most of his time traveling and working in middle Asia and eastern Europe.
Photographer Anders Petersen states in a brief afterward of the book: “Stefan is invited both as a friend and a photographer and he is aware of the responsibility this invitation brings. You´ll find his pictures full of despair and tenderness, focusing on the humanity we share. He knows that photography is not all about photography. In the end, it is the encounter that matters the most.”
The book The Family is available from PhotoEye