The photographer caused a riot when a bride and groom were about to take each other as husband and wife. And he’s now a hero for all the right reasons.
The wedding photographer, Onur Albayrak, was covering a ceremony at Malatya’s Turgut Özal Nature Park in Turkey on July 5, 2018. When he saw the bride for the first time, he found it strange that she looked quite young and didn’t really seem like an adult.
“The groom had come to my studio some two weeks ago and was alone,” Onur said. “I saw the bride for the first time at the wedding.”
When Onur asked the groom about her age, he was shocked and enraged when the groom replied that his bride, moments away from being his wife, was just 15 years of age. Hearing this, the wedding photographer refused to shoot the wedding.
“She’s a child, and I felt her fear because she was trembling. The groom attacked me as I was leaving,” Onur said, as quoted by Hurriyet Daily News, which is one of Turkey’s largest newspapers.
The groom picked a fight with Onur as he tried to leave, saying that it would be a violation of their contract if he refused to take pictures of the wedding, as reported by CBN News. But Onur didn’t budge and their heated argument turned into a brawl. A brawl that ended with the groom getting a broken nose.
“True hero. Turkish photographer, Onur Albayrak, stopped the wedding he was hired to photograph after realizing the bride was only 15-years-old. More than 100 wedding organizers in Turkey have called him to promise they would reject child brides.”… https://t.co/RxznVapSeM
— Kick at Darkness (@KickDarknessNow) July 22, 2018
The photographer has no regrets about the turn of events and even confirmed on Facebook that the reports were indeed about him. If he had to do it again, he certainly would. Onur wrote, “I wish this had never happened, but it did,” Albayrak wrote in a post on his Facebook page. “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.”
— Rizwan. (@RizwanTakkhar) July 11, 2018
Although Onur stepped in to stop a child from being married off so young, it’s unclear whether the wedding took place. According to Reuters, his act is praised especially because Turkey has an alarming number of child marriages which only seemed to be increasing around the time of this incident.
Although the minimum age for marriage is still 18, young girls were given away as brides before they were of age. Calling the photographer’s act “epic”, Yasmeen Hassan, global executive director of campaign group Equality Now told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, “Very often for social reasons people don’t want to make a scene so I am really happy he did this. He should be hailed as a hero, we need more people like this. I hope the authorities have taken notice and are prosecuting the groom.”