January 01, 2012

Ara Güler: I lost Istanbul While Living in It

It is definitely not easy to ask the right and remarkable questions to the doyen of photography as he has been facing these questions for more than 50 years.

And to get the right answer, it’s like digging deeper and deeper to reach the treasure: As you dig deeper with the right tool, he tells you the best stories from 80 years of memories. Ara Güler, one of the most prominent and unique figures in Turkish photography, shared his stories with Sunday’s Zaman, as one of Güler’s most comprehensive books -- with more than 200 photographs -- recently hit the shelves.

The retrospective book of Güler’s work, which is called, appropriately enough, “Ara Güler,” is the second book in the series Eczacıbaşı Photography Artists. The book, published in December by the Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Association, provides a historical overview of Güler’s photographs with a wide range of topics and themes. The book is published in Turkish and English, has an introduction by Haluk Çobanoğlu, has an interview with Güler, is designed by Bülent Erkmen and is edited by Umut Sülün.

“They published the first book last year to honor Şakir Eczacıbaşı after he passed away,” says Güler. “They liked the idea, they liked the book, and one day they sent me a letter. They wanted a retrospective book. They said I could choose the photographs. I chose about 250 photographs and they used about 220 of them. This is one of my thickest books.”

Nicknamed “the eye of Istanbul,” Güler complains: “Everybody knows me as the photographer of Turkey. Yes, this is my country, but I have travelled and photographed all over the world; this is also important.”

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