A recent wedding photo shoot in Turkey turned into an international story when the groom showed up to his session with his bride, a child, angering the photographer to the point of violence in actions that are being hailed as heroic. The story draws much-needed attention to the practice of men taking young girls as child brides, an abhorrent practice.
According to the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News the wedding photographer, Onur Albayrak was approached by the groom and the two made plans for Onur to shoot the wedding on July 5th in Turgut Özal Nature Park. But, upon his arrival, Albayrak met the bride for the first time and noted that she was underage and scared according to his account, prompting Albayrak to refuse to photograph the wedding.
“The groom had come to my studio some two weeks ago and was alone…I saw the bride for the first time at the wedding. She’s a child, and I felt her fear because she was trembling.”
Further, Albayrak tried to stop the proceedings. When he told his client he would not photograph a wedding with a fifteen-year-old child bride, the groom reminded him of his “contract” in an attempt to compel Albayrak to take photos of the ceremony.
The client then became violent with Albayrak when the photographer attempted to leave, resulting in the client’s nose being broken as Albayrak defended himself from the client's assault.
In a Facebook post detailing the incident, Albayrak writes: “I wish this had never happened, but it did…And if you were to ask me if I’d do the same thing again, I’d say ‘yes.’ Child brides are [victims] of child abuse and no power on earth can make me photograph a child in a wedding gown.”
In Turkey, the legal marriage age is 18 years of age for both males and females. Violations of this law can result in imprisonment but the practice still occurs.