As a photographer and artist, you tend to see beauty in the ordinary. Turkish photographer Nadir Bucan has a passion for capturing the unknown parts of his homeland. Rather than photographing the bustling cities and popular landmarks, he goes out into the mountain villages surrounding the eastern city of Van.

In 2010, Bucan moved to Van to work for Yüzüncü Yıl University as a teacher of photography. He said in an interview, “I was aware of the area’s traditional villages, mountains, lakes and islands, and as a photographer, this was definitely something I wanted to explore,”

He journeyed into the mountain regions around the city of Van as often as he could and would occasionally stay with villagers for a few days. On these trips, he experienced, “a kind of lifestyle very few of us have ever witnessed. Nature dominates the culture of these [rural] people and they exist quietly in a place where technology is not superior. They know how to face the harsh natural conditions and are able to satiate every need completely independently,” he said.

Bucan’s photography style focuses on the everyday life of the villagers he encounters. You’ll see a lot of landscapes and natural lighting in his photographs. He says of his work, “I love photos taken in extreme weather conditions such as fog and steam which can add mystery to a photo.”

As long as he lives in Van, he will continue to work on the project which he calls “Under the Shadow of the Sun.” With two new projects in the works, he says, “I would like to document story-tellers from oral cultures that often get lost.”

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