- Mustafa Çankaya is a photographer based in Istanbul, Turkey, who works at the Atatürk Airport by day.
- Inspired by the thousands of faces that pass him by every day, Çankaya began photographing travellers in March 2018.
- In just a few short months, his project – called “100 Faces 100 Countries” – has started to accumulate followers on Instagram for its honest and raw portraiture.
- So far, it features 117 portraits of airport travellers from 77 different countries. Çankaya’s goal is to reach 100 countries.
Mustafa Çankaya is an accomplished photographer based in Istanbul, Turkey.
But by day, he works at the Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, which is where he found himself inspired by the thousands of travellers from around the world. He decided to start photographing travellers in March 2018, which turned into a project named “100 Faces 100 Countries.”
Çankaya’s Instagram for the project is starting to take off, and even though he’s been at it for less than a year, Çankaya has already captured 117 portraits of airport travellers from 77 different countries. His end goal? To have at least 100 countries represented.
Keep scrolling to see some of the project’s most striking portraits, and to learn more about the people in them.
Çankaya’s passion project began in March 2018.
“I see thousands of different faces passing by every day, from every culture and every part of the world. It is like a treasure for a photographer like me,” he writes.
This influx of diverse faces is what inspired Çankaya to combine his day job with his love of photography.
When it comes to choosing his subjects, Çankaya looks for a single thing that makes them unique or different.
It could be a certain hairstyle, or way of dressing, but ultimately it comes down to “the atmosphere” between the Çankaya and the participant.
It was Tina’s hair that stood out to Çankaya.
“Tina’s hair style is a piece of art. The moment I saw her, I thought she should be in the project,” he writes on Instagram.
In addition to portraits, Çankaya photographs wider shots of his subjects that further capture their personality.
Jargal from Mongolia has this portrait, for instance…
…followed by a shot of her reading.
Çankaya says he currently has 117 portraits from 77 countries.
His goal is to live up to the name of his project, and photograph subjects from at least 100 different countries.
He’s got quite a start already, with participants from Kenya…
…and all the way to Russia.
“Almost every day I walk around the transit section of the airport trying to find the right face,” Çankaya writes.
He was drawn to Nicole from Ukraine because of her tattoos.
“Nicole is a tattoo artist from Odessa. She was starting a tour in Europe for tattoo lovers,” Çankaya writes.
And Wendie from the USA, perhaps, for her smile.
“Just asked Wendie to make a serious face,” Çankaya writes. “This is the result.”
Çankaya asks only for his subjects’ first name and where they’re from, but gets to know them pretty well.
On Instagram, he often writes about where his participants are headed to, or if he has photographed someone else from the same country before.
Eric was his first subject from the Ivory Coast.
“We couldn’t speak the same language, but it was easy to understand each other,” Çankaya writes about Eric.
Beatrice from Sweden was headed to Uganda.
And Khadija arrived in Istanbul from Casablanca, Morocco.
Emmanuel is the second person from Ghana featured in “100 Faces 100 Countries.”
Participants have to be willing to be photographed, of course — and if they say no at first, like Gerd from Denmark, they tend to come around.
“Gerd denied me at our first meeting,” Çankaya writes. “But she had enough time to think about it in Niger, and she liked the idea how the project connects the world. We met again on her way back to Denmark and had enough time for chat and the shoot.”
That is, after all, the purpose of Çankaya’s project: to connect the world.
And the photographer — and his subjects — certainly have a fun time doing it.
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