I’ve been to Lake Çıldır during a photography workshop by Osman MAAŞOĞLU aiming Kars Province. Murat KAYA, the best photographer of Kars, was our guide during this workshop of 3 nights and 4 days in which I had the chance to meet the most valuable photograph lover friends from different occupations, and which I regard as a mile stone in my career as photographer.
Our group of twelve people, who were involved with the culture of this city placed at the eastmost point of our loved Turkey, enjoyed the privilege of photographing the moments they witnessed in detail in perfect harmony. Special thanks to Osman MAAŞOĞLU and Murat KAYA for the warm hospitality and for the organisation.
The distance between Kars and the Lake Çıldır which is on the northern part of Kars is 65 km. and it’s apporimately 1 hrs. drive. Elevation of the lake is almost 2000m. And the deepest point of it is said to be 40-45m. The lake is the biggest of Eastern Anatolia following the Lake Van.
Fishing is one of the benefits of the lake for local people. And is also performed under harsh circumstances on the frozen lake in winter time by means of breaking the ice round, placing the fishnets and re-visiting them expecting to be filled with fish after a specified time period. And this activity of pulling the nets from the holes on the ice sets a photographic feast for us the photographers.
We had to walk about 1-2 km. after stopping the car nearby the lake cıldır front. The hardest part of the activity was the winds blowing while we were walking on the snow covered terrain. It was -13 Celcius as it was January. Thanks to the low humidity, cold weather was not much bothering. At the end of the route we reached the lake side. Actually that was what we supposed it to be, because no one was able to differentiate between the terrain and the lake because of the snow.
Walking on a frozen Lake Çıldır…The ice may crack, break, you may slip and faal down any time without knowing it. You’re walking on the ice after all. Fishing Meister Atanur was leading us walking towards the nets which he left under the ice some time ago.
Eventually we’re on scene where nets will be drawn. Meister Atanur, knows the exact place where he buried the nets. After breaking the ice with his axe, he begins to draw the nets in slow motion. And we as a group, occupying the right places for the right frame, are mediating the event occuring which actually is a life struggle, by our photographs.
We are having our shots in a very enjoyful, very respectable, very sincere mood which makes you feel “thank god, I’m here…”. Every body was placed nearby Meister Atanur as close as 1-2 m. shooting the fish and the drawn nets under either diffuse or backlight; the most pleasurable part being the respectful manner which emerged by everybody’s trying not to disturb the others’ frame and letting them their place for the nicer frame positions asap. This is a very high spiritual state…You have to feel it…I feel it deeply by the synergy among our workshop group. It felt as if I was sublimating.