Tag Archives: Turkish Oil

Inside the World of Turkish Oil Wrestling

The sport ofyal gre, or oil wrestling,is at the heart ofKrkpnar, afestival in the Turkish city of Edirne. Thousands of people will come to see these wrestlersslick with olive oilcompete in the 651stannual games on July 2. Itll be a familiar sight for Turkish photographer Pari Dukovic, who attended the event in 2010 and 2011.

I saw that the sport had an Old World charm to itthe festival, the prayers, the music, the instruments, the outfits, says Pari, who used to watch the festivals coverage as a teenager. I am drawn to subject matter that makes you feel as though you are traveling through time andKrkpnarfascinated me with its history and how it has remained an integral part of Turkish culture.

As the festival begins, drum and horn players parade through the city with the sports grand prizethe Krkpnar Golden Belt. The community then meets in the grand 16thcentury Selimiye Mosque, where the imam gives a sermon in honor of competitors past and present.For the young boys participating in the traditional Turkish coming-of-age ceremony known asSunnet Dugunu, its desirable to celebrate it at the same time asKrkpnar, as the festival represents to many the ultimate in male achievement. The boy in the mosque in slide #10 wears the ornate cape associated with the ritual.

After the sermon, wrestlers pray at the graves of legendary sportsmen and proceed through the streets to the competition field, singing the national anthem. The master of ceremony introduces the wrestlers to the audience, reciting their names, titles and skills in verse. Cheap Digital Cable TV . Very few of the wrestlers, who range widely in age, make a living from the sport. Nevertheless, Pari says hegot the clear sense that being a part of this event is a dream come true for them. They train for a whole year and often travel from villages all over Turkey to participate, so becoming aKrkpnarwrestler is an achievement they take great pride in, he says.The wrestlers, wearing nothing but short leather trousers, get rubbed down with olive oil. This makes the goal of the matchto throw ones opponent on his backall the more difficult. The matches last about 30 minutes each, while the final bout can last up to two exhausting hours.

I think the dedication that goes into what they do is amazing, says Pari. I hope that my photographs stand as visual documents of this tradition and that my respect is captured in these images.

Pari Dukovic is a New York City based documentary photographer. See more of his work here.

Tearsheet of the Day | 8 May 2012

Picked up a New Yorker issue dated 7 May, 2012 from a London newsagents’ last night…First time in a while..Would obviously like to read The New Yorker on a regular basis, but there just isn’t enough time nor money to buy  every magazine I want. Nevertheless, trying to keep at least some kind of tabs on the magazine by picking up a copy every now and then.

Anyway. There’s a point here. Really liked this portrait of boxer Claressa Shields by photographer Pari Dukovic.  Very simple, and very nice. Claressa Shields is a young American boxer who’s fighting for a place at this summer’s London Olympics. Long piece about her in the magazine written by Ariel Levy.

Caption: Claressa Shields at Berston’s gym, in Flint, Michigan. 

Pari Dukovic is a photographer whose work I don’t remember seeing before.  Had to have a quick look at his website. He was part of PDN30 in 2011, so I obviously hadn’t done my home work well enough. There’s some documentary work in there, such as the series on Turkish oil wrestling, which you might want to check out (Paolo Pellegrin shot the same subject recently and should you want to compare…you can see Pellegrin’s here.).  I enjoyed the most going through Dukovic’s tear sheets (New Yorker appears to be a regular client). Digging the gritty and grainy quality in some of his work, visible for example in portraits of Elizabeth Warren and Bernadette Peters (you can see those in the tear sheets) . Interestingly, the Shields portrait highlighted here  doesn’t necessarily seem like his usual style at all.

NB. Please excuse the poor reproduction of the tear sheet. You can see in its proper glory on Dukovic’s website. I shot the tear sheet with my iPhone on a moving train… Where I’m writing this post…