Side-By-Side Photos Show How Tragic Life is in War-Torn Countries

News broadcasts and stories on social media highlight the casualties and destruction of war in the Middle East. It’s a sad truth that daily life in the Middle East is the polar opposite of the relatively peaceful culture that many of us in the Western world know. Artist Uğur Gallenkuş is showcasing just how tragic the contrast in daily life can be between these two parts of our planet.

Gallenkuş has combined two photos – one a scene from regular life or pop culture in the West, and the other of chaos that comes from war and oppression. The result is a single heartbreaking image of two different worlds.

“I live in Turkey, which happens to be located next door to one of the most dangerous regions in the modern world,” Gallenkuş said.

You’ll notice right away how the photos highlight a life that many of us in the West take for granted. Luxuries such as shopping malls are paired side-by-side with photos of bombed out buildings.

One of the most saddening photos in the gallery portrays a father bathing his children in a tub surrounded by rubble all around him. On the opposite side, sits a pristine bathroom that one might find in a lavish home or fancy Western hotel.

Gallenkuş’ photo combinations will make you angry, sad, and frustrated. Hopefully, they also make you realize just how fortunate you are and inspire you to practice kindness to all you encounter in the world.

The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” couldn’t be truer here. A group of refugees flee, taking only what they can carry on their backs. Meanwhile, we in first-world countries buy all we can, regardless if we really need it.

While many of the photos highlight Western consumerism, Gallenkuş also uses The Beatles Abbey Road album, an artistic achievement that represents freedom of expression. Of course, below it hangs the bodies of four men who have been executed and likely never knew freedom of speech.

Gallenkuş regularly shares his work on Instagram and finds the most creative ways to combine two polar opposite worlds into one sobering image. A photo of refugees in exodus is powerful on its own, but it takes on new meaning when paired with the photo of a fashion show.

As unsettling as his work may be, oftentimes being blunt and in your face can be the most effective way in getting the message across. Gallenkuş says that he wishes for “a peaceful future.” Hopefully, we can wake up to the pain that we inflict on one another and work towards a human race where art like this is no longer necessary.

Photo credits: Instagram/ugurgallen