Turkey commemorates ace photographer Ara Güler

Turkey commemorates ace photographer Ara Güler

Turkey commemorates ace photographer Ara Güler

Turkey on Oct. 17 commemorated Ara Güler at his first death anniversary.

Güler is generally acknowledged as the 'Eye of Istanbul.' He captured Istanbul in his signature black and white portraits which brought him international acclaim.

He was born in 1928 and passed away last year in Istanbul at the age of 90 due to a heart attack.

Before an exalted career in photography, Güler joined the film industry. He landed his first job as an assistant film projector in one of the many theaters in the Beyoğlu neighborhood of Istanbul.

He also took drama courses with Muhsin Ertuğrul, founder of modern Turkish theater, and even worked with him.

At the age of 22, he received his first camera -- a Rolleicord II -- and began taking photos for a local newspaper Yeni Istanbul.

Coşkun Aral, a longtime friend of Güler, said the prominent photographer traveled to a myriad of destinations in the world.

“The world, Turkey did not lose him. Even on the first anniversary, we and the world are talking about him," he said.

“Because the values he left behind are of great importance,” Aral added.

Renowned Turkish historian İlber Ortaylı praised Güler for documenting Turkey in the 1940s and 1960s.

"Photographs by others are not that vivid," he said.

Güler got his first break after meeting renowned French photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson and through him, Romeo Martinez, editor-in-chief of the reputed Camera magazine. There was no looking back, and he became a member of Magnum Photos, an international photography cooperative.

Discovery of ancient site

But it was in Turkey that he made one of his most astounding discoveries: an ancient city called Aphrodisias in the western province of Aydın in 1958.

As he was returning from a job involving the inauguration of a dam, his driver lost his way, ending up in a village where locals used the antique architecture in their daily life.

Güler also photographed the likes of Winston Churchill, John Berger, Alfred Hitchcock and Salvador Dali, among many, many others.

“Ara's philosophy on photography is that he attaches great importance to the presence of humans in photography and considers himself as a visual historian,” according to his website.

Güler was presented the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey Culture and Arts Grand Award in 2005, the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism Culture and Arts Service Award in 2008, the Turkish Grand National Assembly Superior Service Award in 2009, the U.S. Lucie Awards Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 and the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism Culture and Arts Grand Award in 2011.

In 2004, he was also given an honorary fellowship by Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul.