Skip to main content

i saw the air fly

i saw the air fly Sirkhane DARKROOM

i saw the air fly Sirkhane DARKROOMi saw the air fly
English, Arabic, Turkish

Photographs by Serbest Salih.


160 pages
145 x 210 mm
ISBN 9781913620370


In Southeastern Turkey, just kilometres from the Syrian border, is Sirkhane: a mobile darkroom which travels from village to village teaching children how to shoot, develop, and print their own photographs. Led by Serbest Salih, a young photographer and Syrian refugee, the darkroom is founded on a fundamental belief in photography as a universal and therapeutic language, and encourages children living in the area — many of whom are themselves refugees from Syria and Iraq — to experiment with the medium as both a form of play and a means of understanding the world around them.

In these images, produced by the project’s young participants, the city of Mardin and the vast Mesopotamian plain beyond become a backdrop to the miraculous dreams, games, and discoveries which play out within the space of the frame. In occasional moments, the war nearby is hinted at: a fighter plane enters the frame of an otherwise clear sky; a child peers out from inside a UNHCR box. But rather than reiterating scenes of suffering and trauma, these images depict their environment afresh through the unmistakable, wonder-filled gaze of a child: a vision punctuated by surprise and play, in which friends and family are captured mid-flight, upside down, leaning out of windows, and whimsically disguised.

About the Organisation
Sirkhane DARKROOM is a mobile photography organisation for vulnerable and underprivileged children residing in South East of Turkey, a few kilometres away from the Syrian border.

About the Artist
Serbest Salih (b. 1993) is a Syrian photographer and director of Sirkhane DARKROOM.

About the Publisher
MACK is an independent art and photography publishing house based in London. Mack works with established and emerging artists, writers and curators, and cultural institutions, releasing between 20-25 books per year. The publisher was founded in 2010 in London by Michael Mack.

Leave a Reply