Taking photos means everything to me. It is simply my life. It is actually an interesting feeling to freeze a moment and fixate it. It seems to me that you extract a certain cut view from time and that everyone is watching it.
You have an interesting story of starting photography. First of all, could you tell us about yourself a little bit and your adventure of starting photography?
My story of starting photography is as follows; At the age of 13, there was a cultural center in Ankara Bahçelievler. There were sections such as basketball, volleyball, music, photography, and you were allowed to choose two at one time, and I chose basketball and photography. Taking photos was appealing and interesting to me. I single-mindedly started to progress in this field. My professional start occurred when I was expelled from school at the age of 16 and Tanju Okan, the Director of Ulus Newspaper of the time, hired me for the photo service of the newspaper. I spent my apprenticeship in the profession period here. After working here for quite some time, I applied to finish school. After my request was considered, I returned to education life.
What does taking photos and photography mean to you?
Taking photos means everything to me. It is simply my life. It is actually an interesting feeling to freeze a moment and fixate it. It seems to me that you extract a certain cut view from time and that everyone is watching it. That moment lasts no more and it strikes me as something mesmerizingly magical. When it comes to Photography, it is a bit of a human situation. It has always been exciting to photograph people’s feelings and bodies. That is why I leaned towards fashion photography. It occurred to me that Photography is like solving a puzzle, so that is my way to solve the nature of humans (by taking pictures). I observe what they do, how they act, and begin to understand how they feel in time. After a while, you act like a psychologist by taking pictures of human.
Considering your experiences in photography, you first got ridiculed and then schooled? What is the relationship between the two?
Yes,that is true. Iridiculed when I started photography. I started at the photo service of a newspaper, where I learned exactly everything about the apprenticeship. I went knowing the basics of photography. I had a dark chamber at home, but basically I knew nothing. I was completely interested in amateur ways. There I learned how to save quick and lousy jobs in various ways. I learned what I couldn’t learn at school, things like related to real life, which is out of the curriculum. This applies to photography and all branches of art. Then, with the help of luck, I was admitted to the school and became a school. That’s why I finished high school a bit late. It’s too late once you have finished the first photo section was opened in Turkey. Just finishing late helped me to concurrently enroll in the photography department which was opened n the Academy of Fine Arts for the first time in Turkey. It was such a chance. If you say what is the relationship between being ridiculed and schooled, ı would say that one is incomplete without the other.
At the end of the ‘90s, you paved the way for “Fashion Photography” which did not have much value in our country, and raised many photographers or inspired them. Can you open this process for us?
In fact, the beginning of fashion photography emerged with the publication of Marie Claire magazine in Turkey in 1988. At that time, there was no distinction as fashion photography. There was no distinction in fashion photography back then. A photographer was shooting an ad while taking food pictures. However, I decided and courageously told myself that I will specialize in fashion photography. We opened the way for experts like us, by not taking off-site photos. That is how I trained many photographers toward’s the end of the 1990s. I established ‘’the Factory’’, a factory studio and then all of my assistants and young friends who worked with me became very qualified and well- trained photographers. They are extremely talented. The 90% of today’s skillful photographers trained through the Factory.
As you know, each artist has some inspirers or unique motivational elements. What are yours?
When talking about inspirers, my situation is a bit different. First, my school comes into play and the art education we received at school. Because we were looking at all branches of art. We look at everything ranging from painting to sculpture, architecture, and ceramics. But since my motivation is to shoot human pictures, I mostly look at the streets and human types. I look very carefully as if I x-ray them and I want to estimate their next move. I think I have improved this feature of mine to the extent now I always prove to be right in my predictions. Therefore, my source of inspiration is to analyze people. I rake them over and can easily predict their next move. That is why my main motivation is to look at people. Secondly, It is, of course, to see what is happening in everyday life, to predict the situation in the world and anticipating the future. I guess I improve on ‘’predictions’’. I think I have improved my ability to forecasting. That’s why my relationship with people is always good. Since I can estimate how they are going to act, I can take precautions accordingly which is very comfortable for me.
As for motivation, I ensured my motivation in life when I decided to specialize in photography when I was a child. I was at a very early age when I decided to pick this job as my profession. As I decided earlier, there was really no need for motivation.
What do you pay attention to when shooting? How is fashion photography different from others?
In particular, I pay attention to the environment, I pay attention to the air, the space, and the human condition. For example, I do not truly care about the type of human, because, types varies according to each job. There is not only a single type in fashion photography, but tons of types. The aim of this profession is to increase the variety. The difference in fashion photography from the remaining fields is that the human factor takes up a great portion of it. For example, landscape photography and architectural photography are fixed. The places they locate are known and fixed and there is only a light factor. However, the human factor differently comes into play here, and with the entrance of humans, various states of mind automatically emerge like psychological and mental states of mind, etc. As you know, it is so complicated that the place where a human enters turns into something else.
Although you are a senior in this profession, you are a person who constantly renews himself without getting stuck in the past and reads the dynamics of today that keep pace with technology. How did you achieve this?
In general, renewal is very difficult to actualize in all professions. Although I am old in this profession, my transformation is a miracle. But I can say that the reason for trasnformation is being an open-minded personality. I never use an old saying that ‘it used to be like this’. I know the past and I know it very well, but I don’t misuse it. This is because, once you look back, there will zero progress regarding the future. Time is running out and you can’t stop it, hence you can’t stop the evolvement. Photography keeps taking different forms in parallel to time, and you have to comply with this formation. You come up with different to take completely different photos. Complying with the form without compromising tradition, you emerge completely with different photos. Therefore, you should not be afraid of youth as you would not be afraid of development. Because I like working with young people. You are already shooting models up to 23 24 years old. Just think about it, my shots are not exposed to evolution for years. As I grow older, the models do not age, there are always new ones, so there is a lot to learn from new ones, I am not afraid to learn. I do not adhere to the traditional ones, I keep them somewhere in my inner world, but I do not stick to them. My goal is to always learn faster and be open. Being open-minded has always been very important to me. Most people are not open, they stick to preventers. We shouldn’t be afraid to fail. Sometimes, we should fail big and fall forward.
Finally, how do you see the future of photography and fashion photography? What would be in the frame if you take the photo of the future?
As in every industry, there is a certain transformation in photography too. It became more mobile. We’re going through the age of video. People want to see everything in an action flick. Time is now the age of seeing and showing. We are bitterly consuming what we show quickly. We cant analyze for hours, We all have Instagram, Facebook, etc. and we skip fastly. We want to look at a lot of things right away. That is why the future of photography will be different in several ways. There will be two types of photos: the first will be fast-food like photos and the second will be Michelan-star restaurant types of photos where we will sit for hours and enjoy the moment. I think the gap between the two will disappear. I had to exemplify the future of photography through eating culture, but I was only able to describe it this way. Now everyone can take the photo, the machines have advanced, the technology has improved. Not much technical knowledge is needed, but only time. There will be just fine art and fast photographs, namely both-ends. Now we don’t know how long these digital photos can be stored. Numbers like 100 years used to be mentioned. But now, how much of these images are kept, recorded, printed, or stored, we have no idea. But for example, you can still use 100 years old movies and reprint the negatives. Perhaps over time, the old system will become very precious and find its place somewhere above like a golden crown.