Exploring the Transformative Power of Art and the Profound Influences on a Photographer's Career
My journey to becoming a photographer is a story of enduring passion and dedication. My love for photography was ignited early in life when, as a child, I began experimenting with my father's Zenith camera. However, as years passed, I pursued a different path and graduated in economics, focusing on my business endeavors. Photography remained a cherished interest, albeit one put on hold due to time constraints.
It was only later, after building a family and achieving more stability in my professional life, that I decided to rekindle my love for photography in 2008. Armed with a digital camera, I re-entered the world of photography. This commitment led me to pursue higher education, enrolling in a Photography program at a university. In 2013, I proudly graduated with a degree in Photography, and in 2019, I achieved a Master of Art in Photography from Marmara University.
Now, more than 15 years after my initial fascination with photography, I have transformed my passion into a full-time profession. Photography has become not just a hobby but a central part of my life's work, allowing me to capture and share the beauty and stories that surround us.
What sets my Sloika NFTs, particularly the Kirkpinar Memories Collection, apart is the extensive dedication and time invested in its creation. This collection, which spans five years of work, is a tribute to one of the world's oldest wrestling championships, the Kirkpinar. I feel incredibly fortunate to have been present and able to photograph these formidable wrestlers.
The uniqueness of "Kirkpinar Memories" is further underscored by the recognition it has received. Notably, it was awarded the prestigious Sille Sanat Sarayı Yurdagul Ozsavasci Cup in Turkey in 2019. Additionally, it was honored with the esteemed Collectif du Herrison Grand Prix and was featured in exhibitions, including the renowned Arles Off Festival in France in 2020. These accolades emphasize the compelling and resonant nature of the series, not only within the Turkish context but also on an international scale, solidifying its artistic and cultural significance.
I ventured into the photography NFT space in 2021 during the remarkable NFT boom. My initial introduction to the world of cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, had piqued my interest, but I hadn't explored the NFT landscape until then. As the NFT craze gained momentum, I recognized an exciting opportunity to showcase my artwork and connect with collectors in a unique and innovative way.
In April 2021, I decided to take the plunge and become part of this emerging NFT art market. I chose Foundation as the platform to start my NFT journey, primarily using Ethereum (ETH) as the blockchain of choice for my initial offerings. The experience was exhilarating, and I was thrilled to see the positive response to my work within the NFT community.
As an early adopter of NFTs in the photography world, I was able to establish a presence and build a following among art enthusiasts and collectors. This allowed me to expand my engagement in the NFT space, including exploring the Tezos blockchain as an alternative for minting and collecting NFTs.
Overall, my decision to embrace NFTs in 2021 has been a rewarding experience, both artistically and professionally. It has provided me with a platform to share my creative vision with a global audience and connect with fellow artists and collectors who share a passion for digital art and blockchain technology
I use photography as a means to connect with people on a deep emotional level and, hopefully, to contribute to the greater good in my own unique way. My primary objective is to evoke emotions and provoke thought through my imagery. If someone can look at my work and feel something, whether it's a sense of nostalgia, empathy, or a newfound perspective on a subject, I believe I have achieved a significant part of my goal in photography.
While I may not have specific instances where my photography has directly led to tangible positive change in the world, I firmly believe in the transformative power of art. It has the potential to spark conversations, challenge preconceptions, and encourage empathy and understanding among people from diverse backgrounds. This, in itself, can be a force for good.
Moreover, my journey in photography has had a profound impact on me personally. It has made me more observant, more appreciative of the beauty in the ordinary, and more attuned to the stories that surround us. This heightened awareness has translated into my interactions with the world and the people in it, making me a more empathetic and compassionate individual.
Magnum photographer Ara Güler, one of the most significant influences on my career, shared a striking connection with me. Both of us hailed from the Armenian minority in Turkey and attended the same educational institutions, including the notable Getronagan Armenian High School. Born in Istanbul in 1928, Güler's early fascination with photography led him to become a prominent photojournalist, capturing the essence of Istanbul through his lens. Often referred to as the "Eyes of Istanbul," Güler's photographs beautifully documented the city's transformation and the daily life of its inhabitants. He was celebrated for his ability to reveal the soul of Istanbul through his work.
Ara Güler's profound influence on me is grounded in this shared background and his remarkable ability to portray Istanbul's essence. His legacy continues to inspire photographers worldwide, and his contributions to the art of photography are celebrated as a testament to the power of visual storytelling.
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