Life through the eyes of children

Serbest Salih, United Kingdom

My name is Serbest Salih, and I am a photographer from Kobane, Syria. I’m the director of Sirkhane DARKROOM, a non-profit mobile darkroom and photo lab dedicated to underprivileged but incredibly talented children from Syria, Turkey, and Iraq. Our darkroom operates in the southeast of Turkey, a few kilometers from the Syrian border. DARKROOM is a photography school for vulnerable children of Syrian, Kurdish, Iraqi and Turkish origin under the organization Sirkhane Social Circus School. In DARKROOM, children learn how to take meaningful photos, develop analog images, and print them. They learn how to create beauty and joy out of the darkness of their past and present. Our vision for Sirkhane DARKROOM‘s future is to continue taking our darkroom to more villages so more children can be part of our artist collective. In recent years, numerous children have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic due to a lack of access to education, culture, and beauty. We aim to take our darkroom to them and their communities; for this, we need to look for more sustainable ways of running this project for them. For example, we initiated and continued our project using inexpensive pinhole cameras that are easy to construct and repair. We also incorporate their photography into our social media outlets to reach out to the entire world and all the artists around the world who might find their work intriguing.

Discover more: Shortlist 2023