Tear Gas Canisters – Mert Cakir

This images was taken in Istanbul, by Turkish photographer Mert Cakir. I wasn’t able to ascertain what the protest was about, but I felt this image was a poignant depiction of unrest.

In the foreground, spent tear gas canisters lie where they have fallen, while behind them, the crowd have moved on. A reasonably shallow DoF ensures that the viewer first looks at the in-focus foreground – this is important in establishing a starting point in an image with lots going on.

From a design perspective, this image has very effective rhythm. The audience’s eye is moved along the canisters and then follows the bollards into the crowd. The figures in the mid ground are moving in different directions & this recreates the discord and chaos of a violent protest. The abundance of space in the front of the frame is also effective in identifying the canisters as debris – it suggests a kind of path of destruction- almost as though the canisters are bodies.

In the distance, the crowd is submerged in a fog that *may* be tear gas (in many ways, it does not in fact matter whether it’s tear gas or something else – the viewer makes this connection automatically because of the canisters in the foreground). Significantly, Turkish flags are visible in the background, and similarly to the presence of the canisters and fog, this creates the impression that the protest is anti-Government.

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