The photographer who took the heart-breaking picture of Aylan Kurdi that shocked the world said, it was her duty to make his story heard.
Nilufer Demir, 29, was on the beach near Bodrum, Turkey, on Wednesday morning waiting for the flow of refugees that have become an almost daily occurrence.
It was then she spotted the lifeless body of the Syrian three-year-old in the surf.
Nilufer told the Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s English language newspaper: “I was on duty and also photographed a group of Pakistani migrants in an attempt to cross into Greece.
Nilufer Demir, a correspondent and photographer with Turkey’s Dogan News Agency, tweeted: “Tomé la foto para mostrar la tragedia” (I took the picture to show the tragedy).“At that moment, when I saw the three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, I was petrified,”.
“While witnessing the tragedy, suddenly we noticed the lying, lifeless bodies. We recognized the bodies belonged to toddlers. We were shocked; we felt sorrow for them.
“The best thing to do was to make this tragedy heard.
“At that moment, when I saw the three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, I was petrified. He was lying lifeless face down in the surf, in his red T-shirt and dark blue shorts folded to his waist.
“The only thing I could do was to make his outcry heard.
“When I realized there was nothing to do to bring that boy back to life I thought I had to take his picture … to show the tragedy.”
Soon after, Nilufer saw tragic Aylan’s older brother, Galip, five, lying close-by.
“He was lying 100 meters away from his brother. I approached him this time. I noticed they didn’t have any lifejackets on them, any arm floats, anything to
help them to float in the water.
Nilufer also told that she and her colleagues in the region had been documenting the illegal crossing problem for the last 15 years, adding that the crossings have increased regularly in the last 2-3 months.
She told Le Monde newspaper that she did not expect photos of Aylan to be so widely shared on social media and be published by newspapers around the world.
“When I arrived [at the beach] about 6 or 7 in the morning… we could make out something washed up on the beach. We could see straight away that he was dead and there was nothing we could do.”
“I was really shocked to start with but I pulled myself together very quickly. I told myself that I could bear witness to the plight of these people.
“I had to take this photo and I didn’t hesitate to. I was sad because it was the body of a child – but it could also have been the body of an adult and I have photographed that many times already.
“I hope the impact this photo has created will help bring a solution.”