KORTEJO Family Quarters
The only thing that does not change is poverty Family houses that belong to
underprivileged Jews now belong to Turks.
After 450 years, Jewish family houses (kortejo) that indicates a life style
specific to İzmir have become shelter for underprivileged families of İzmir.
Kortejos where Jews who migrated from Spain used to live in by supporting
each other to adapt themselves to their new life are now a new place for
deprived families, unfortunate, lonely, and lost people. Most of them have
similar stories. Young, old, women, men, children who have had significant
difficulties in their life are now living in the same courtyard and trying to
survive. These people's life has a common space, as well as a common
destiny; it shows the possibilities of the future for us.
Birol Üzmez, who reflected the lives of mine workers in his photographs in
Zonguldak where he lived for long years, was born in Akcakoca in August 20,
1960. In 1984, he began to take interest in the artistic view of his father's
profession, who was also a photographer and became a member of the
Association of Photograph and Cinema Amateurs in Istanbul (IFSAK) in 1986.
In 1985 together with Fahri Bozbaş and Ertuğrul Ünal, he set an exhibition
named "Once Upon a Time Zonguldak” using the photos collected from the
archives of Nazim Baysal, who was one of the first photographers in
Zonguldak. Following to the exhibition "Window" which he arranged together
with Uğur Kasırga in 1986, he set two other joint-exhibitions, "Loneliness" with
Ayhan Ülkü and "Life of a Miner" with İbrahim Akyürek. He worked as a
member of TUSAK Board in 1987-1988. Founding the Zonguldak
Photographers Group with his six friends in 1986, he continued to work for the
development of photograph art in Zonguldak. He set four Zonguldak
Photograph Days with that group. He revealed the photos in the archives of
the architect Süreyya Aytaç. He worked for Cumhuriyet Newspaper 1990-
1993 as a free reporting photographer and documented the strike in 1990 and
the firedamp disaster in 1992. He took place in the formation of the
"Documentary Photography Group" composed of İbrahim Akyürek, Şirin
Küçüktabak, Sevil Üzrek, Faruk Akbaş ve Celal Deniz.Till 2012 he made
many projects and exhibitions.
Today, he carries on working freely as a member of Simurg Photos and Ifod.
And he is supporting National Geographic Turkey.