Photos from pre-digitalization era go on display

Photos from pre-digitalization era go on display

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Photos from pre-digitalization era go on display Turkey’s internationally renowned photo journalist Ergun Çağatay is celebrating his 50-year profession with a recently opened exhibition at Istanbul’s Ortaköy Afife Jale Culture Center.

Under the auspices of Beşiktaş and Şişli municipalities, the exhibition “50 Years through My Lenses” presents the “real photography,” which was taken in the last quarter before the invention of Photoshop and the greater digitalization of the industry.

“It has no fantasies created at the computer screen, which is now how photography is used as a medium. Some of the photos will see daylight for the first time. They will remind onlookers of what they forgot and lost, and the young generations will see some of the world before them,” Çağatay said about the exhibition.


Ergun Çağatay

“Before photographs dominated the media, newspapers and magazines illustrated their pages by hiring artists who sketched the events they were asked to observe. The picture, then, was engraved on to a copper plate by an artisan using a sharp steel pen. The published picture usually appeared with two signatures, the artist’s name in one corner and the engraver artisan’s name on the other. With the invention of photography, the later years’ development method of producing half-tone photographs dominated media pages. As a consequence, first chiseling artisan of the copper plate then the illustrating artist disappeared from the media pages. The reign of photography continued for more than a century,” he said. 

“In the last quarter of the 20th century two companies, Dutch Philips and Japanese Sony, pooled their financial sources and technical know-how together, producing the first digital music. In the beginning it was only music but in later years digital technology dominated our lifestyle. That also included photography. For the camera companies this was a God sent gift, which meant sales of millions and millions of new cameras,” he said about the digitalization of the art of photography.

Çağatay said photographers now face the same destiny as the illustrating artists and engraving artisans of the past. According to him, among billions and billions of digital photographs taken, only a fraction of them will survive the next 10 years.

 “Only those who keep investing in technological developments and keep transferring their images with each new technical development and the next one will reach the future generations. The rest will be lost in computer garbage dumps,” he said.
Born in 1937, Çağatay has worked for major international news agencies, including the Associated Press and Gamma Agency in Paris, and his articles and photographs have been published in international magazines.

The exhibition can be seen until Oct. 25.