Unseen photos from ‘Eye of Istanbul’ in Seoul
ISTANBUL – Anadolu AgencySeoul will have the opportunity to cast its gaze on the “Eye of Istanbul” for the near future with the opening of a new exhibition of 110 vintage photos by Istanbul’s most famous photographer, Ara Güler.
“It makes me pleased when my photos draw interest in the world. People ask them from all around the world. This is also good for the country,” said Güler about the show, which opened Nov. 22 in the South Korean capital.
The photos in the Seoul exhibition were selected from the Ara Güler Museum by the organizers, although there were also vintage prints that have never been seen before. The vintage prints were printed within one or two months of being taken, he said, adding that they were very valuable.
Güler also recently opened a 200-photo exhibition titled “The Eye of Istanbul – Retrospective 1950-2005” in Berlin. The show drew nearly 2,000 people in two days.
“These people know how valuable the vintage prints are. Almost all museum walls are empty now. I hope they won’t be sold,” he said.
Because of his advanced age and the distance of Seoul, Güler was unable to attend the opening. “I can’t spend 16 hours in the air traveling to see my own photos. I'm 86,” he said.
Speaking about his craft, Güler said it makes him feel that he is "serving a purpose." "I've visited many different places in the world and recorded them. The camera is a very good tool for recording and carries a whole era to the next. Photos taken in the 20th century go down in history in the next century ... We record a life for the next generations. Today, you can learn about Istanbul from my books. When we started recording Istanbul, it was already dead. We are living on a big cadaver, a rotten carcass called Istanbul,” he said.
When asked about the reason new photographers have failed to gain the same amount of fame previous generations, Güler said they are "not educated enough."
"They don’t know what is what. They take landscape photos. Landscape and photography are different things. People take photos for Instagram. They think they are taking photos, but what they are doing is taking the photos of natural events such as sunsets. Natural events exist everywhere in the world. The sun sets everywhere. We are not landscape photographers, but we show life. My photos have a meaning. When I serve as a jury member in a competition, I see that everyone is trying to photograph the sun going down, but Even Jesus Christ and the Prophet Moses saw the sun going down," he said.
As for his future plans, Güler said he had received demands from all around the world for exhibitions and other events. “We can’t even give an answer to some of them. They call me to the U.S. for an exhibition, to showcase the photos and bring them back. I have been to the U.S. thousands of times, but what am I going to do there now?” Güler said.
He also revealed that he is currently working on a documentation of his own works.