Turkey to remember Godfather of photography Ara Guler

by Anadolu Agency


Several events will honor the memory of Turkey’s late legendary photojournalist Ara Guler on what would have been his 93rd birthday on Monday.

Umut Sulun, director of the Istanbul-based Ara Guler Archive and Research Center, which also hosts a museum on the famous Turkish-Armenian photographer’s works, told Anadolu Agency that the center will celebrate Guler’s birthday with several events.

This year also marks the third anniversary of the museum that was opened in 2018 on Guler’s 90th birthday, said Sulun, who knew Guler since 2004.

Guler died on Oct. 17, 2018, at the age of 90. He was a globally recognized figure in creative photography in Turkey and was commonly referred to as “Istanbul’s eye.”

He made a name mainly with his black-and-white nostalgic pictures of Istanbul, depicting the wide range of emotions of the city which straddles two continents on either bank of the Bosphorus Strait.

“One of our events is an Ara Guler exhibition consisting of 75 black-and-white Istanbul photographs that we will bring together with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism at Galata Tower,” said Sulun. “Our exhibition will be opened by Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Ozgul Ozkan Yavuz on Monday and will be visited by tower visitors until the end of October.”

On Aug. 16, the museum, as it did last year, will share Guler’s photos on social media.

The annual World Photography Day will be observed on Thursday and the Guler Museum will take the opportunity to combine the occasion with the photographer’s birthday.

“We’ll have kids in our museum,” said Sulun. “We’re going to celebrate Ara Guler’s birthday with them. He’s an important figure and we want to introduce him to our young students.”

A group of kindergarten students will tour the museum and cut a birthday cake in honor of the late photojournalist.

New exhibitions as of September

At the moment, there are two exhibitions at the museum. One of these, titled Inside the same Dream, was created with Guler’s Istanbul photos along with accompanying texts by Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, a legendary Turkish author. The exhibition will be open until Sept. 18.

The second, with 20 images, said Sulun, focuses on Guler’s book, Yitirilmis Renkler, or Vanished Colors, that features a book model consisting of his drawings.

“As of the end of next September, we’re going to open a new exhibition in our museum,” he said. “In this exhibition, there will be a selection of portraits from Turkey and the world, which are an important part of the Ara Guler archive,” as Turkey’s most important photojournalist also known for his photographs of the likes of Picasso, Winston Churchill, John Berger, Alfred Hitchcock, and Salvador Dali, among many, many others.

For the museum, Sulun also heralded a shop and gallery to be opened at the Galaport, a major renovation project on Istanbul’s European side. New shopping malls, hotels, and a new Istanbul Modern building are planned to be built as part of the project.

The “shop gallery” will include an exhibition of 30 Guler photographs, some of which have never been seen before, of Istanbul’s centuries-old neighborhoods such as Karakoy, Galata, and its surroundings.

The museum is also in contact with various organizers for possible future exhibitions abroad, added Sulun.

Since the opening of the museum, his works have traveled across the world via exhibitions in Berlin to New York to Japan and London.

Guler’s astounding discoveries

“Ara Guler is known as the person who made the most important contribution to both the world’s awareness of Turkey’s photography and the awareness of photography in Turkey,” Sulun said when asked about the importance of the legendary photojournalist.

The museum was opened in 2018 but the Ara Guler archive had already been transferred to the museum building in the Sisli District from Guler’s apartment in Istanbul’s teeming Beyoglu district, he said.

“We had already been working here,” he said, adding that Guler, who was suffering from various illnesses due to old age, had visited the to-be-museum site.

“When he visited us during that time,” Sulun said they would gather around a big table and discuss various issues about the museum setting.

Guler would tell us stories about the objects in the archive, said Sulun.

He also recalled that Guler would single out “three important projects” he completed in his life.

“Interviews of Aphrodisias, Mount Nemrut, Noah’s Ark,” he said, referring to Guler’s astounding works: An ancient city called Aphrodisias in Turkey’s western province of Aydin in 1958; photo-interviews on Mount Nemrut and Noah’s Ark that attracted international attention to the ancient sites in eastern Turkey.

“Because, these were not merely photography, but also contributions to humanity,” he said.


You may also like