A Turkish photographer has dived into the Mediterranean Sea to capture pictures depicting what he calls modern day addictions and problems of society, including smartphone addiction that has accelerated recently as people stayed at their homes for over two months as part of sweeping measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
Necdet Demirtaş, the only political underwater photographer in Turkey, dived underwater with his camera in the Mediterranean province of Antalya, off the coast of Kaş district, with professional underwater athletes and divers.
Speaking to daily Milliyet, Demirtaş said his works included a diver depicting a man taking a selfie as an injured person awaits help and a young woman injecting a cell phone into her arm like a drug.
Noting that technology addiction is shown as one of the biggest obsessions of the age, Demirtaş said that the addiction with COVID-19 turned into an “outbreak that should be struggled against globally.”
He pointed out that as people stay in their homes, they are buried in a social media “quagmire.”
Demirtaş has also been trying to raise social awareness on many issues in Turkey such as femicides, child marriages, the 2014 Soma mining disaster, nationwide 2013 Gezi Park protests and the Palestinian resistance.
Demirtaş, who said that he had witnessed a truly changing world order, explained the purpose of his project.
“I wanted to touch on this problem with my lens because it penetrates our self like a virus in the virtual world. The virtual world occupied our minds, just like the coronavirus,” he added.
Among the works are the portrayal of a mother who could not take her eyes off the screen instead of looking after her child and a man who took a photo right next to a body in a funeral.
“Whatever comes to your mind is now virtual and remote. The change of the world order virtualizes everyone in society,” Demirtaş noted.
Meanwhile, Wilco Wan Hapen, a Dutch journalist who lives in Turkey, has cooperated with Demirtaş, who has also worked with successful athletes of the underwater national team in all of his projects.
Renee Blundon from the United States and Gemma Vila and Luis Martinez from Spain were also among those who dived into the sea to work on the project.
Psychiatrist Engin Olcay, the project consultant, emphasized that technological addiction has reached children as young as two and three years old.
“It is an easy way for individuals with limited social skills, who can express themselves only in the virtual world, to adopt fictional personalities in social networks,” Olcay said.
“This extraordinary work underwater draws attention to technological addiction that threatens humanity,” he noted.
Demirtaş stated that he will continue to give such messages from under the water.
Hurriyet Daily News