Photographer Cigdem Yuksel (1989) started her photography career at Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, focusing on migration, refugees, and identity. In May 2016, she traveled to Gaziantep, Turkey, with two reporters to make a harrowing portrait series of Syrian child refugees working in textile and shoe factories. Upon her return, she was awarded the prestigious Zilveren Camera Award. The jury praised the way her photo series confronts Western consumers with the consequences of our political and economic policies.
In the past two years, her focus has shifted to perception and the power of the photographer. For that reason, she started a study of our collective visual memory and the visual representation of Muslim women in the Netherlands. This resulted in a much-discussed research report from 2020, in which she examined the representation of Muslim women in the image database of the Dutch press agency ANP.
As a photographer, Yuksel wants to change both the historical archive and the collective visual memory in the Netherlands. Who gets to decide which photos and stories will be included in our archive and which are left out? Why is that? In order to challenge this, she started portraying the first generation of Turkish women in the Netherlands to create a new visual archive.