Photobook Review: Yusuf Darıyerli – Yular

“Today we find ourselves living in the midst of new kind of agricultural turmoil,
one in which meat on our tables is becoming ever more scarce and ever more expensive,
and in which the traditional, family-owned and – operated dairy and cattle raising farm finds itself on the verge of being displaced by farm factory style animal breeding. It is in precisely such a climate that Yular opens an intriguing window into the unique world of the traditional animal market. Setting off from black and white photographs of a tradition that has been sustained for thousands of years, and one which hails the meaningful relationships between man and animal, this album elicits contemplation on what we mean by such concepts as animal breeding, healthful meat, and animal welfare.” – Yusuf Darıyerli

I was just walking home from another day at work and decided to stop by the post office. Yusuf‘s book was about to arrive. When I heard about the new book I was more than excited to see what it’s all about. After the previous one (“Panayir” – a very powerful photobook about the country fairs in Turkey) I became a fan of his photos… thing that does not happen to me very often. So when I heard there was a present for me travelling from Turkey to Romania it brightened my day.

The photobook arrived at the local post office in a box with a nice drawing on the cover and my name on it. Inside there was a photobook with a cloth pattern & feel of the cover. A small introduction was written by the author alongside a very interesting explanation of the title.

The first photos quickly introduce the viewer to people inside the animal marketplace. After a few pages you become one of those people and you start to wonder around the surroundings as if you’ve been there so many times before. It’s early in the morning and the bustle has not yet started.

One thing I enjoy most about all of Yusuf‘s photos is the multilayering inside the photos (present in both books). Landscapes combined with portraits, main portraits combined with a texture of people, animals mixed with wall drawings. Simple yet with a very theatrical feel to it.

2004 – 2016.
This is how much it took to complete this project. Statistically, when a good photographer you like takes this long on a project, you can buy his work with eyes closed. You can then expect perfectly picked photos and a flawless edit. Nothing is left adrift, everything is exactly how it should be, even if you don’t realize it at first. Everything falls into place at the right time throughout the sequence.

“Yular” is a photobook made out of standalone photos. There are no captions – no captions are needed. The small text at the beginning uncovers on a macro level everything the project is intended to be. There are no futile explanations, no big words, no quotes from famous writers. The photos needs no fake boost or marketing trick; with every page you turn, the body of work consolidates itself more and more, without ignoring the value of single images. This thing is such a rare gem these days among photobooks; it’s partially due to the huge amount of time dedicated to shooting this project.

But there is also another thing the photobook draws its substance from. In all these photos there is not a drop of boredom. Mixing together a consistent subject throughout the sequence, multilayered scenes, very present and visible details the author never lets the viewer down and provides constant entertainment at first look, carefully rendered emotions at the second look and after that… some very small and hidden surprises.

From time to time everything slows down with a powerful portrait or a small apparent amusing element. These moments are perfectly captured and balanced. No classic portraits. No easy jokes. Everything is done with utmost respect towards the subject, no matter if it’s a farmer, an animal or a tree.

And, as most good project do, it addresses also and important issues –  Turkey is facing a social-economic problem regarding animal husbandry and welfare alongside healthy meat production. The author remembers days of his childhood  – this book is dedicated to his parents – and addresses this issues in a personal matter without forgetting the actual documented context. The author reminds us that “a good photograph […] doesn’t need bold fonts to get its message across”.

For me, this is one of the best photobooks i’ve seen and it’s a must-buy.

Yusuf Darıyerli
ISBN 978-975-8069-35-4
132 pages, 22x20cm
80 duotone photos
Photographer’s website:
You can purchase the photobook by emailing Yusuf at

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