By News Agency
AFP photographer Adem Altan was taking pictures of a collapsed apartment building in Kahramanmaras the day after the earthquake hit the Turkish city when he noticed a man sitting alone in the middle of the rubble.
The man was not moving despite the rain and the freezing cold. It was then that Adem noticed that he was holding a hand. He trained his camera on him from about 60 meters (200 feet).
It was a delicate moment, but the man in the orange jacket called him in.
“Take pictures of my child,” the man called in a low trembling voice.
For a brief second Mesut Hancer let go of his daughter’s hand to show where she lay.
Fifteen-year-old Irmak was crushed in her bed when the first pre-dawn tremor struck.
The father wanted the world to see his loss. And it did.
As he took the photo “I had tears in my eyes,” said Adem, an image that would go around the world and become a symbol of the appalling suffering visited on the people of southern Turkey, but also of their quiet dignity.
Mesut Hancer’s refusal to let his daughter go touched millions, crouching amid the shattered remains of his home.
“I was so sad,” said Adem. “I kept saying to myself, ‘My God, what immense pain.’”
Adem asked the father his name and that of his child. “My daughter, Irmak,” he said.
@views exclusive rights: Daily Tribune, February 11, 2023.