„Sinan is autistic. That, however, is not the best word to describe him. He became my friend in 2018 – or better said, I became his friend. My girlfriend and I were invited to travel with Sinan and his family to Kas, in Turkey, where they go regularly in order for Sinan to maintain the connection to his homeland.
My girlfriend used to work at the home where Sinan lives in Hamburg, and his parents asked us to accompany them and work in Kas. My main job every day was to press fresh orange and pomegranate juice and mix it with Campari, so we could have a sundowner on the terrace after spending a beautiful day somewhere on Turkey's idyllic coastline. In the mornings, Sinan made us play music by Turkey's popular musician Baris Mancho. I think we heard his CD about a million times during our trip, so that, in the end, it was actually like I could speak Turkish. That's how much he loved it – but not in Hamburg; he would only listen to Mancho's music in Kas.
Because I had the same beard and hair as Baris, Ursula, Sinan's mother, gave me the nickname Baris Mancho. I guess in a way it helped build up the relationship between Sinan and me. Our daily morning walks gave me the chance to put my feelings of weirdness aside. With Sinan I didn't have to worry about who I was. I tried to show him that everyone is special in their own way. I used my camera as a tool to connect us, and I gave him an instant camera to use.
One day, during our daily walk, I found an old football in the ruins of a lonely, abandoned hotel resort. I threw the ball to Sinan; but he didn't even look at it! We went back to the same place everyday and I threw the ball to his feet every time, but nothing happened...until this one morning. I threw the ball and Sinan kicked it so hard and screamed out loud. From that day on we played every day. I couldn't believe it, but apparently his parents had never seen him play before. He turned 40 on our way to Turkey.“
Image: © Julian Furones
Equipment: Leica CL with Summicron-C 40 f/2