- As a Turkish artist, you live and work in Denmark. In terms of art environment, people’s perceptions and freedom of expression, how do you compare two countries?
I started expressing myself with photography at the Turkish communities in Turkey and that’s why I’ve travelled a lot to Istanbul besides visiting my relatives. I was only 16 when I travelled alone, but I was lucky that everybody I met took me serious even if I started having a strong passion for photography at a very young age and was always realistic and critical to myself. For me, Istanbul was like food for the soul, and all the people I met in the art-circle helped each other to move forward with their passion. This is what I fell in love with; people were creating an art-pumping heart with their passion in Istanbul, a very strong bond that was so unbreakable, so unique and I knew I would never see this warm connection anywhere else. Turkish people are not afraid to talk about their abilities and talents. In Denmark, people are very introvert and don’t like to talk about their work, and what they feel about it. It’s challenging to be an artist in Denmark, because you know it takes a long time to be acknowledged as an artist. But you also know, you must earn your title, and even when that time comes, people will still keep their feet on the ground. I love this part.
I feel lucky to live in Denmark with a Turkish background. I aim to absorb all the plusses from both cultures, and that really gives the most perfect combination of lifestyle, I can imagine for myself.
- You study Architecture in Aarhus. What gave you the motivation of studying in that field?
Everything I am doing today was already obvious in my childhood. My father and grandfather were both very interested in photography and it just felt natural to have a camera in my hand at a young age. And I loved to look in the family albums, filled up with black and white photos, loaded with memories you could look back to. Of course like many others, I considered to study photography, but on the other hand, I didn’t like the idea of letting my abstract and free world getting into a box. I wanted to protect my passion from “schooling” and by letting my style mislead.
My sister is a fashion designer and graphic artist, so I’m raised with a family with big interest to design and fashion. Since I was a little child, I loved to do things by hand and wanted the results to be useful. I designed jewelry, which was sold in a small shop in the little town Fredericia when I was about 14 years old. I’ve always been very interested in design and marketing. I could see myself work with a team where we could develop ideas, realize them and make them useful for other people. The architecture study gives you an insight to know a little about everything. My study really teaches you how to start and develop ideas and how to find solutions to problems. We learn about space, light, materials and the best thing is, that we have the chance to know people and their environments very close. This supplements my photography much more than you can imagine. As a specific answer to the question: You must be interested in a wide range of everything to be an architect; I am interested in everything about the world, and it inspires me endlessly. It’s a both abstract and realistic study and that gives me the chance to live with my feet between earth and sky; I can dream, but I also want have to be realistic at times. That’s a good combination for a sensible person like me.
- If one wants to study fine art, Rome would be a good choice. If it’s classical music, then St. Petersburg must be the one. If the subject is cinema, then everybody would say Hollywood. For a person who wants to be an architect, is Denmark one of the perfect countries to study at? Does Denmark’s architectural value excite you when you are doing your art?
Denmark is absolutely the perfect country to study architecture. I feel lucky that my parents chose to live in Denmark, when they moved abroad. When you talk about architecture and design, one of the first names that will come to your mind are Danish names, such as Arne Jacobsen who is specially known for the complete design of the SAS Hotel in Copenhagen with his functionalistic style, which is a gem of Scandinavian design with its simplicity and minimalism. Another one is Jørn Utzon, who drew the Opera House in Sydney, which is one of the most acknowledged architecture in the world. He is a role model for many architect students, because of his way of thinking and developing ideas.
Generally speaking, the way most Danish architect students are taught to think is very abstract and yet the same time realistic. Scandinavian architecture is known for its minimalism, and I love it. Japan has the same simplicity though the Japanese architects love to experiment much more with terms of space in a more abstract way. The Danish architects are more functionalistic and prioritize the comfort in their minimalistic architecture and design. I guess that’s why their furniture and design are so popular around the world; they complete design for what people need and what they like to look at. And Denmark has great spaces, small and large. You can always find your own niche where you can unfold your photographic abilities. Nobody will disturb you. The country is not vertically build up, so mostly you will see flat landscapes, small comfortable spaces or typical Danish homes with a touch of blue colored light in my photos. I like it. Denmark is so natural, so whatever you will photograph will be remarkable and so honest in its context.
- Some of your photographs look like they are screen grabs from movies. For certain number of photographers, the starting point of their art is their interest in cinema. They start to think that static images are not enough for them anymore and they start creating film projects. Does that sound familiar to you? In terms of visual comprehension, which movie directors impress you most?
I couldn’t live without the cinema industry. As many other photographers I am very inspired by all the medias used in movies. The movies that are rich on the visual and auditory material make me experience art 3-dimensionally. I typically watch an enchanting movie again within some few days. I love the feeling of getting dragged into another world, where you are free to dream and get inspired. In movies, you’ll get everything served; the score, the expressions, the location, the movement etc. Photography is a limited media and it’s very challenging to engender all those feelings in one single photo. I think that’s why I am still speaking with photography; I’d like to “speak silently” through my photos, so that every single person who watches the photograph can project her/his own auditory world on to it. If I jumped into the video-world, I’d like to make a challenge out of it. I’d like the music to create the direction of photography. That’s why I have a dream about making music videos for creative bands. They have a story I can build up with motion pictures. I guess my imagination is influenced by Tim Burton’s nothing-is-impossible-philosophy, Fatih Akin’s realism and angles, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s feel-good atmosphere, Quentin Tarantino’s irony and exaggeration, Christopher Nolan’s way of creating excitement, Darren Aronofsky’s haunting scenography and Woody Allen’s symbolism and his interpretation of human beings as desirable creations. They are great inspirations to me, and I love what kind of worlds they create. This symbiosis of feelings they create are projected on my own photography as well.
- We know that sometimes the feelings of the artist affect the content of the work. When we look at your photographs, we feel totally different things. While one makes us feel sad, the other makes us laugh. How does the variability of your mood change the direction of your photographs?
At times I have to concentrate on what I really want to recall in the photography that I want to do. But no matter what, my emotions influence my work, every single time I’m out to shoot.
Especially if it’s self-portraiture… I cannot lie to the camera, even my work “ps. I love you” is not a setup. I really cried there. When I work with people, it just comes naturally to me what to do. Colors evoke certain emotions in me, maybe that’s why I make sad photographs at times; Denmark’s weather is very sad; So cloudy and rainy and yet so silent.
- Digital technology replaced the standards of Photography and because of that, we begin to see millions of images that look very similar to each other. Taking a digital photograph and applying effects to make it look old is now a huge trend. There are actions and software to do it with a single click. While technology is hardly working to make the photographs look shiny and flawless, we are trying to get back and have that ‘old look’.
From this point of view, how do you evaluate the future of the visual arts?
The time we live in and all the possibilities that keep on getting innovated makes people more and more impatient. Our fascination for old-fashioned photography will always exist. For some people, it is the whole process of developing the photographs in darkroom that is exciting, and for other people, it is the appearance and the texture of the photographs. I see this technique as a result of a combination of the development of technology and the increasing impatience of people nowadays. Somehow I think it’s very interesting at the same time. Why do people really want their photos to look like they were taken a looong time ago? Is it the colors, the texture or the feeling of the past that they miss? Maybe this action of mixing old and new photography is a new style or “-ism” that we created for the history of photography. As artists, we don’t have to like everything, but we must accept the wave of a pop-culture that hits us very often.
- Besides your personal works, you take very unique and extraordinary photographs of musicians and bands, too. While doing that, you succeed in keeping your own style. Where do you put ‘music’ in your story? Which musician or band would you like most to work with?
There are a certain group of musicians that really move me, and I like to follow these bands’ development. Their story is very important and that’s why I LOVE to work with musicians. They bring their story and I add some salt and pepper to it. I always talk with the bands first and tell them that the photos will have an artistic atmosphere if they choose me to take them, and they are really into it. I am lucky about that. But you will still see very mainstream musician photography in Denmark. I want that to change. Music is art, so why not make more artistic work out of it?
I want to work with bands and musicians with a strong personality. My biggest dream is to work with Radiohead and Grace Jones; I guess I really don’t have to explain why. I’d love to take pictures of the Australian Kimbra, she is such a gorgeous singer and she fascinates me with her voice and stage-art. I’d also love to work with the danish Oh Land – I’ve followed her since her first album and she is so talented and has so much personality. I really believe we could make great things together. I really believe in that. Of the Turkish musicians I would like to work with Nil Karaibrahimgil; she is different from all other Turkish musicians and very very beautiful.
My next big works are for the danish A Friend in London, who is going to represent Denmark at the Eurovision, and for the australian Kimbra. I am really excited about these works.
- In a very short amount of time, you took unforgettable photographs, joined prestigious exhibitions, you were featured in the magazines and some other important events. Now, you are also working for your most recent project: ViZU.AL Accessories. Can you tell us about that?
As mentioned before, I designed jewelry when I was about 14 years old, but I never considered making a big deal out of it. I loved the thought that people wore something that I’ve done by hands. In my study, you design a lot, but most of it never gets realized, so I really missed to do something again that someone could wear.
It was summer 2010 in Istanbul. I spent my summer holiday getting a check-up by the family doctor, and I really felt out of energy. In addition it was extremely hot outside and I just wanted to stay home and make something useful.
And then it started. I bought material and started designing for about 6 months. Now, my first collection, which was dominated by chains, plastic and leather, is almost sold out. I really look forward to my next collection where I want to use more wood and other raw materials. I want to live up to the name; it has to be visually approaching jewelry and accessories, something people would like to wear. My jewelry differs from unique handmade design to limited design, where I have about 3-5 pieces of each. People who are interested can find the group on Facebook.
- You have Architecture, Photography and Fashion Design in your heart. While making plans for the future, how do you set your priorities? When you imagine year 2020, where do you see yourself?
I asked myself that every day. But it’s so difficult to answer so I stop thinking about it. I am a photographer and I’ve been doing this for about 5,5 years now. I will never stop taking pictures and I’ll aim to my goals and dreams with photography. If you ask me what I do best, I’ll answer : “photography” without a doubt. But I love to learn about life. With photographs, I design a slideshow of my life. I love designing and working with people, and that’s why I study architecture. I’m still studying it and it’s a hard study – so much to learn. I get inspired from photography when I make architecture. I want these three things to go along. My life has always surprised me, so I never think about the future. I love enjoying what I am doing in the present. Everything will be alright.
- Theme of our 16th issue is ‘City’. What does this word mean to you?
A pattern on canvas created by the constantly changing movement of people.