‘New Age’ photographs reflect modern times
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Orhan Cem Çetin is among the first photographers to use the digital techniques to alter photographs but in the new series he did not use any manipulations.Roland Barthes famously said, “Suddenly, I became indifferent to not being modern anymore.” Just the opposite approach, in terms of its approach to modernity, can be discovered in Orhan Cem Çetin’s photographs, currently exhibited at the Sanatorium Art Gallery.
Çetin was among the first photographers to use digital techniques to alter his photographs. “In my former works, it was possible to see manipulation and use of digital effects,” he said. “However, in this new series, I did not use any manipulations or any digital effects.” As a result, he thinks he may have actually become more “modern,” the photographer said.
Çetin explained how he no longer feels the need to use effects or manipulation in his photographs, as he has realized there is already enough randomness and exaggeration in people’s daily lives, citing the fire at the Haydarpaşa train station on Nov. 28, 2010, as an example. As one of the few people who photographed what happened, “It was absurd,” he said. “I was on my way somewhere else, but when I saw the fire I returned to Kadıköy and found an optimum spot to document the event.”
Even though the images he shot were all directly produced from photographing reality, “Some people still could not guess if I really photographed the scene or created it,” said Çetin. He feels manipulation of photographs and images has “gotten out of control.” For the artist, there is “enough irony and absurdity in life,” without additional manipulation.
Meanwhile, the concept of “modernity” of his photographs does not bother Çetin. “I think I could still be ‘classic’ in the future. I notice photographers who begin as avant-garde and have rough and even wild styles, later turn into nature photographers.”
Discussing the power of photos, Fırat Arapoğlu, art historian and art critic, wrote: “In his last series ‘New Age,’ Çetin presents photo shoots he did not treat, in contrast with his earlier tendencies.” Arapoğlu referenced Roland Barthes’ statement for Çetin’s works. Barthes once said, “What is endlessly copied in photography has in fact happened only once.”
The name of the series “New Age” has several meanings for Çetin, also signifying transformation or change. It is possible to experience the transformation through his work and discover how the artist perceives this within his world.
Çetin aims to connect with the audience through feeling, seeking to create an emotional connection with the viewer. Ignoring all the other complexities, “The most important thing is to get in the middle of life and reflect a view which is within,” said Çetin.
One of the most attractive things about Çetin’s photographs is he does not try to create an original and exclusive environment. The environment he needs is already there. All he has to do is utilize it and reflect those details he wants the audience to receive and absorb.