County fairs have been held once or twice a year in Anatolian towns for centuries. After the harvest, people of all ages come together and they engage in small-stake gambling, trade animals, and shop for winter necessities at the amusement park.
I remember a fair I witnessed in a small town in the Aegean region when I was a child, and I was enchanted by it. I was so excited to ride a primitive vehicle resembling a go-kart in a dusty field for just 3 minutes.
While their numbers may have dwindled, this fantastical world with its traditional games, amusements, and all its hustle and bustle has continued unchanged for centuries. Most of the fairground owners and horse traders, who are mostly of Romani origin, travel from fair to fair, staying in tents and caravans. Playing with the spinning the wheel of fortune, winning a packet of cigarettes by throwing a hoop, and earning 100 TL by scoring 2 penalties are the most popular games, some of which have their little tricks.
In my early 50s, I wanted to participate in this game with my photographs, and I visited county fairs mostly in towns in the western part of Turkey, mainly in the Aegean and Marmara regions, some of which have been around for over a century. I tried to take part in this “play” at the fairs with my photographs and see what is beyond the obvious.
2023 - ongoing
“I go out with my camera and I take pictures because I enjoy capturing certain moments. Of course I don’t know that I’m going to get what I’m going to get; it takes time.”
– Saul Leiter –