Born in Paris in 1991 to a Turkish family in exile, photographer Sarp Kerem Yavuz’s artwork explores masculinity, censorship, homoerotica, politics, and religion. He is the youngest photographer in the history of the Istanbul Modern Museum to exhibit and be included into the permanent collection for his Polaroid series. Facing death threats and censorship in Turkey due to his sexual orientation and politically provocative works of art, Sarp has been living and working in New York since 2018.
Recognizing the current American cultural period as one in which LGBTQ+ and women's rights are under attack, his "Shadows of the Empire" series celebrates sexuality and visibility. The works in this series were produced in reaction to the frightening parallels between Turkey’s recent history of conservative and oppressive politics, and America’s present. Elements of the Turkish bath, or the hammam, feature prominently in his photographs, imbuing the portraits he takes with repressed and sexually charged mythologies.