In May 2023, American photographer Richard Webb traveled to Türkiye as part of an Art in Embassies Democracy Collection exchange where he engaged directly with the Turkish people in Ankara, Cappadocia, and Istanbul. His trip included workshops and photo outings with a variety of audiences, including young artists and other local creatives with whom he was able to foster meaningful relationships.
Webb’s exchange began in Ankara, Türkiye’s capital, where the U.S. Embassy hosted an artist talk in collaboration with the Türkiye chapter of Junior Chamber International (JCI). JCI is an organization focused on motivating young people to create positive change and strengthen their leadership skills. Webb was able to talk not only about his work but also his business as a photographer for these emerging entrepreneurs. Webb noted that after his presentation, as the floor opened to questions and discussion, “I received some of the most thoughtful and thought-provoking questions and comments that I’ve yet received during an event.” The following day, he went on a photo tour of Ulus and Anitkabir and the day concluded with a welcoming reception at U.S. Ambassador Jeff Flake’s Residence.
The next day, Webb led a workshop for local creatives at the Ka Space for Visual Culture & Artistic Thinking before he departed for Cappadocia, three hundred kilometers southeast of Ankara. There he led a photo safari for young artists in the community, stopping at several scenic areas to photograph and collaborate. One of the participants brought his large format film camera and Webb was able to share his knowledge and experience with large format and explain its significance in his own photographic journey. Said Webb, “I hope they were inspired to not only learn more about photography, but to see it as a creative outlet and a means to share your personal vision. I would also hope they are able to see and appreciate beauty better, especially in the natural world.”
The trip concluded in Istanbul where Webb worked directly with staff from the U.S. Consulate, collaborating on planned outreach and conducting a day-long photo trip. Of his experience, he said, “during time in the field it was easy to share and collaborate. I was able to learn quite a bit from [workshop participants] … The opportunity to photograph and share on location was really valuable.”