The kanka series. More than just friends

Many languages have several synonymous words for “friend”.


In Turkish there are plenty, each marking a subtle gradation on the highly revered hierarchy of friendship. It starts with arkadaş, which means friend. After that you become a dost, meaning pal, followed by a kardeş which means brother. Finally, you’re a kanka, a shorter and very common use of kan kardeşi, meaning nothing less than brother of blood.

Except for arkadaş, these words less frequently describe female friendship. For that, softer terms are used, such as canım (sweatheart), aşkım (my love) or kuzu (also an affectionate word, meaning lamb).

Camille McOuat is a Canadian photographer living in Paris, who travels regularly to Istanbul. When spending time in Turkey, she soon noticed that “friendship meant something more” than what she was used to in Canada and France.

In Turkey, like many other places, it is not unusual for close friends to walk hand-in-hand, hold each other around the shoulders or hug and kiss on the cheek.

McOuat began, when wandering Istanbul’s streets, to search for signs of male friendship. Her pictures, featured in this series, were taken in districts across the city, like Galata, Aksaray, Kadıköy, Tarabya, Ataşehir and the Princes’ Islands.










Camille McOuat






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