I took these photos at Bakirkoy leprosy hospital, March 2006. Patients were mostly from the south east and eastern Turkey whose families were of low income. I decided to embark on this project after reading an article in a national newspaper at the end of 2005. It was the first time I was aware that there was leprosy in Turkey and it made me question public awareness to this condition. I began by reading about leprosy, and wanted to focus on the faith and healing process of these patients. Initially I was nervous of how I could approach this issue, but after researching the disease and spending time with the hospital staff I took a personal bold step to understand these people's lives.
Leprosy or Hansen's disease (HD), is a chronic disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Leprosy is primarily a granulomatous disease of the peripheral nerves and mucosa of the upper respiratory tract; skin lesions are the primary external symptom. Left untreated, leprosy can be progressive, causing permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes.