bladh_280“We lay beside each other like a rosary, feet next to faces. Me at the end next to big brother Ali. On the other side is dad Hüseyin, snoring. The little ones are tucked into the middle. Above us is the booming noise of traffic. It’s late summer and the air is raw and damp. I tug the blanket I stole from the hotel further up over my nose but the bitter cold and the acrid stench of garbage, urine, and greasy food still gets through. Also, beyond that, the highway smell: exhaust fumes, asphalt, burned rubber. We sleep on randomly dug-up carpets and blankets, our rest provided by the viaduct’s concrete foundation. The night is jet black. I lay awake listening to the sound of stray dogs chasing rats in and out of refuse bins, accompanied by the whispering of people’s feet sneaking past us in the gravel.”

Photographer Stefan Bladh has been following a Turkish nomadic family for seven years. He was invited as their friend and lives in close quarters with them from time to time. He finds them through their mobile phone, in various places throughout the country: living in cramped conditions without heat, electricity, clean water or proper sewage systems, in abandoned house skeletons and under motorway bridges. Difficulties with money, health care and welfare rights take turns playing havoc on their lives, and every day is a struggle to keep the whole of the large family alive.

The book, The Family, is published by Nouvel Publishing.

Stefan Bladh