This project is an attempt to understand the tradition of marriage within a small Muslim community in the mountains of Southern Bulgaria, in a village called Ribnovo. This work is as much about a sense of place as it is a documentation of a forgotten people. But it is also a project that allowed me to immersive myself into people's lives on a daily basis; to be accepted, to bond, and to build up personal relationships with my subjects, something that I was aware I was not doing while I continued to work on complex issues about power and nationalism and political upheaval across the border in Turkey.
The Pomak people of Ribnovo allowed me into their lives and their homes for countless visits over a two and half-year period. As time passed and my relationship grew stronger to the people of Ribnovo, I found it increasingly hard to leave. I was welcomed into special, personal, and intimate moments. It made me believe in the kindness of strangers and allowed me time to enjoy and embrace the simple act of photographing without fear or burden.
This work was commissioned by and published in National Geographic.
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