We are so used to expressing our feelings in words, but what if photography will give you an opportunity to express more - something pure and intimate, which is not subject to any rules of the text?
Mirai Gozalova from Azerbaijan. Istanbul, Turkey. October 2020
She moved to Istanbul just before I came there. We had wonderful time together and this photograph is taken on our first meeting after a rainy walk on Beshiktash.
Rusudani Siradze from Georgia. Istanbul, Turkey. November 2020
Mirai told me about her friend from Georgia and when I saw her on Instagram I decided to photograph her. After we had a long walk.
Miriam Yuka from Istanbul, Turkey. November 2020
When I posted photographs of Rusudani on Facebook group, Miriam replied me and booked me for a shooting. She paid me double, I suppose, because she wanted to support my journey.
The current project was implemented at the end of 2020, during the period of Sharaf's life, when there were many roads, movements, and, what is most vivid, people. The best gift of these trips was the opportunity to combine all this into one - a vision, a story, a project.
Taylan Tapar from Istanbul, Turkey. November 2020
After shooting of Miriam we decided to go for Islands and stay there for a week. It was amazing and unforgettable. Taylan was our host there.
Olga and Nikolay, from Russia. Istanbul, Turkey. December 2020
Have you ever been drinking wine in a hostel celebrating a birth day of person that you merely know? I got drunk last time then.
Mereke Sabanay, from Kazakhstan. Belgrad forest, Istanbul, Turkey. December 2020
Belgrad forest is another place in Istanbul where we stayed during our journey. I met Mereke there. She told me a story of her name after a long. fascinating forest walk: «My mother had breast cancer and the doctor told her that she needed to give birth to a child and breastfeed him. She gave birth to me, the sixth daughter. She was cured of cancer thanks to breastfeeding, and she named me Mereke - which means "holiday" in kazakh language. We have very intimate and close relationship with her, we are best friends.»
The people you see here were once strangers, with whom, it would seem, Sharaf has different cultures, languages, concepts, but whose paths mysteriously intertwined with hers. All she had to do was to recognize them; explore, hear, express - all through photographs. It turned out that this kind of therapy allows you to speak with a person deeper and she's got a chance to hear many warm, intimate and most sincere stories.
Almira Murat, from Kazakhstan. Istanbul, Turkey. January 2021
I remember seeing Almira in the kitchen of flat where we rented a room. She was just after the shower, with a towel around her head and beautiful delicate hands.
Sergey Bondarenko, from Ukraine. Kyiv Sea, January 2021
Serg took us to frozen Kyiv sea to show the beauty of emptiness. That was fascinating, I think I will never forget how it feels to walk on the ice and feel that exhilarating chill.
Sofia Lipovskaya, from Ukraine. January 2021
I had a shooting that I planed beforehand but did not like any of frames. And when we finished the shooting, on our way back we saw a church and Sofia told me " I have a scarf to cover my head". I think this photograph is one of my favorites because of the ring on her finger.
Krzysztof Kolodziej, from Poland. Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2021
Kris was a very cheerful person who came to Ukraine from Poland for a surgery on his eyes. I was enjoying his jokes and company and took his portrait just before his departure.
Oleksii Kostytskyi, from Ukraine. February 2021
we had financial troubles and we lived at Lyosha's for almost a month. We celebrated my 31st birthday together. He was a fan of Taras Shevchenko's poems and I took this portrait while Emin, my boyfriend was photographing him in front of the University named after Taras Shevchenko.
Eugenia Grybenko, from Kyiv, Ukraine, February 2021
When I was taking this portrait Jena told me that she is afraid of falling in love because it always hurts. I thought that she looked so in love with life that she did not need any other love.
Nastia Tkachenko, from Kyiv, Ukraine. February 2021
I always feel uncomfortable approaching strangers and asking to take their portrait. It took me 30 minutes to finally decide and suggest Nastia to photograph her. It was easy. I think because of her.
Nigar Nicole, from USA, Baku, Azerbaijan March 2021
This photograph was made in Baku however I met Nigar in Istanbul. We talked all night long walking on empty streets of Istanbul. We became friends.
Lyaman Rufullayeva, Baku, Azerbaijan. September 2021
Coming back to Baku I met Liaman. She is one of few people that I can call a friend. Not because we chat a lot or meet everyday - not at all. I just feel very safe and home next to her.
As a result, each portrait represents Sharaf's vision of a person, echoes of his personality, which she managed to portray in photography. They still had long conversations with these people which brought her the feedback that every photo story told here is all about the truth and coincides with how each person involved sees himself / herself.
Alice, from UK, August 2022
Alice was my flatmate for two weeks. When I first saw her I thought that I should take her portrait. I managed to do it only when she was unexpectedly for everyone moving out.