A few years ago, when our youngest was coming up to a year, I was really struggling to manage to see a way forward to feeling that life made sense in Istanbul. With no support around me, and central Istanbul being a physical challenge with several young children, days often felt like a thing to conquer. At the same time, in another part of the city, another woman was experiencing far greater challenges, and when we were asked if we knew of any work she could do the idea took hold that she could help me. Lots of things changed when Florence started to help me with the children, but the most incredible one for me was that I started to work regularly as a photographer without any guilt or worry about the children. Florence’s energy, warmth and laughter made them happy and I gained the freedom to start striving.
While she was in Istanbul Florence met a wonderful man and a few months ago they decided to return to Nigeria and get married. There was no question that I would go to Benin City to photograph her wedding. A few weeks ago I went on my own to Nigeria for three days for an experience I will treasure all my life. It also turned out that I was there when Florence saw her Mum and family for the first time in six years.
Apart from the day of the wedding I took very few pictures on this trip. I soaked in all the new sights, talked and talked with Florence, and met new people face to face rather than through a lens. So here are just a few pictures of the day Florence saw her family and introduced them to her man, and a trip to the local market to buy some things to take home. I hope I will return with Ville and the children one day to spend longer in this beautiful country with my lifelong friend.
Now continue to another part of the world to see what the inspiration photographer Amanda Voelker has been up to this month…