INTRODUCING: Shutter Hub FORMAT Portfolio Award 2023 Winner – Ilayda Akarca

© Ilayda Akarca

We’re delighted to introduce you to Ilayda Akarca, the winner of the Shutter Hub Portfolio Award at FORMAT 2023.

Shutter Hub Creative Director, Karen Harvey, selected Ilayda’s portfolio which includes their project ‘Inleyen Nağmeler– an exploration of thoughts and questions on displacement and belonging.


© Ilayda Akarca

© Ilayda Akarca

I am delighted to be selected for this year’s Shutter Hub Portfolio Award! I admire Shutter Hub’s dedication to create fair access to photography through the opportunities and support they offer to artists in helping them develop their careers whilst working towards making meaningful connections within the photographic community. I believe it is important for artists to have a sense of community as they develop their work and I feel connected to Shutter Hub’s approach in helping to provide this. I’m looking forward to making good things happen together!


My on-going project ‘Inleyen Nağmeler’ is an exploration of thoughts and questions on displacement and belonging. Started as a reflection of my experiences as an immigrant, over time, the work formed into a visual journey of meditations on what home ‘was’, what it ’has become’ and everything in between, evoked through both the recurring memories of childhood and the body of my lover.

I formed a cocoon from memories, a refuge from cold nights, as I find myself unsettled, distant from the lands I’ve grown up and formed my understanding of the world in. I hum songs to myself when doubt leaves me in shadow, to bring comfort to my heart which yearns for home.

‘Inleyen Nağmeler’ can be translated to English as ‘howling melodies’. When I go back to the motherland, I am still displaced; what I remember, what I know and feel, is of the past; a past that is remembered through the fog of time and layers of emotion, meaning made with time, distance and longing.

Memories of home envelop me in warmth for a moment, shield me from the harsh wind and cold of where I am now. They are neither fact nor fiction; what I left behind and the moments once lived are transformed through remembrance, while denying at times the change, of life moving forward.

I looked anew at the lands around me, the flight of the birds above me, the body of my partner always close to me, seeing beyond the memories of home, gradually finding out what home has become.


© Ilayda Akarca

© Ilayda Akarca


See more of Ilayda’s work in their Shutter Hub portfolio and on their website.



Got any questions? Email us at

Subscribe to our mailing list for all our photography news and opportunities, direct to your inbox.

Not a Shutter Hub member yet? Join here to access exclusive member benefits including portfolio reviews, project grants, meet ups, commissions, exhibition and other selected opportunities, and to be part of our community!

Posted in: News