Side-By-Side Photos Show Heartbreaking Contrast of Western World and War-Torn Middle East

Digital Collage by Ugur Gallenkus

Artist Uğur Gallenkuş portrays two different worlds within in a single image. Combining a pair of side-by-side photographs—one of the Western world and the other of the Middle East—he highlights how, despite living on the same planet, these places couldn’t be more different.

“I live in Turkey, which happens to be located next door to one of the most dangerous regions in the modern world,” Gallenkuş writes. The contrast he sees between scenes in the West and the Middle East inspired him to create the ongoing series of heartbreaking collages.

The corresponding pictures demonstrate the political climate and lifestyles between the two areas. The apparent opulence, overindulgence, and consumerism of the West is a popular topic for Gallenkuş. In one collage, he displays a lavish bathroom, complete with a fancy chandelier, placed next to a father bathing his two children. But instead of having fun in bubbles, the kids are sitting in the remnants of a bathroom. There is debris (presumably from a war-fueled blast) all around them, and the wall of the room has been blown away. Beyond where they bathe is other hollowed structures.

This isn’t the first time that Gallenkuş has created split photographs communicating the horrors and trauma people are experiencing in the Middle East. We spoke with him earlier this year about his eye-opening digital collages.

Digital collage artist Uğur Gallenkuş highlights the contrast between the culture of the Western world and the horrors that people are experiencing in the Middle East.

Digital Collage by Ugur Gallenkus

Digital Collage by Ugur Gallenkus

Digital Collage by Ugur Gallenkus

Digital Collage by Ugur Gallenkus

Uğur Gallenkuş: Instagram | Twitter

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Uğur Gallenkuş.

This article has been edited and updated.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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