ABOUT ARA GÜLER
Born on 16th August 1928, Ara Güler is a Turkish photojournalist, also known as Istanbul's Eye. He studied at Getronagan Armenian High School. His father owned a pharmacy, but had many friends that belonged to the world of art. Ara came into contact with these people and they inspired him to opt for a career in films/cinema. He worked in film studios and joined courses of drama under Muhsin Ertuğrul. Later, he leaned towards journalism and abandoned cinema. In 1950 he joined Yeni Istanbul, a Turkish newspaper, as a photojournalist. During the same time, he studied economics from University of Istanbul. Then he started working for Hürriyet. In 1958 when Time-Life, an American publication opened its Turkey branch, Ara Güler became its initial correspondent. Soon enough he started to get commissioned by other international magazines, such as Stern, Paris Match, and Sunday Times, London. In 1961, he was hired by Hayat magazine as the chief photographer. In this time, he met Marc Riboud and Henri Cartier-Bresson, who recruited him to join Magnum Photos. Ara was presented in 1961 British Photography Yearbook. In the same year, the American Society of Magazine Photographers made him the first Turkish photographer to become the member of this organization. In 1960s, Ara's work was used in books by notable authors as a means of illustration and were shown at different exhibitions around the world. In 1968, his work was displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in a show called, Ten Masters of Color Photography. Moreover, his photographs were also shown in Cologne's fair, Photokina in Germany. Two years later,Türkei, his photography album was published. His images related to art and its history were featured in magazines, like Horizon, Life, Time, and Newsweek. Ara traveled for photography assignments to countries, such as Kenya, Borneo, New Guinea, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Iran and other cities of Turkey. In 1970s, he also took photography interviews with noteworthy artists and politicians, like Salvador Dalí, Marc Chagall, Ansel Adams, Alfred Hitchcock, Imogen Cunningham, Willy Brandt,John Berger,Maria Callas, Bertrand Russell, Pablo Picasso, Indira Gandhi, and Winston Churchill. In addition, Ara also directed The End of the Hero, a 1975 documentary based on fiction on a World War I battle cruiser. Ara's work is included in the collections of institutions worldwide, such as Paris's National Library of France; New York's George Eastman Museum; Das imaginäre Photo-Museum; Museum Ludwig Köln; and Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery. Foto Muhabiri, a book by Nezih Tavlas recounts the life of Ara in a chronological method and the book also highlights 80 years history of Turkey. 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 him, photography should provide people with memory of their suffering and their life. He feels that art can lie but photography only reflects the reality. He does not value art in photography so he prefers photojournalism. He has won several awards for his work, including Turkey's Photographer of the Century, 1999; Master of Leica, 1962; France's Légion d'honneur; Lifetime Achievement Lucie Award, 2009; and Turkey's Grand Prize of Culture and Arts, 2005. In 2004, he was give honorary fellowship by Istanbul's Yıldız Technical University. Ara also published his photographic books, such as Living in Turkey; Sinan: Architect of Süleyman the Magnificent; Ara Güler's Creative Americans; Ara Güler's Movie Directors; and Ara Güler: Photographs.
THE UNKNOWN ARA GÜLER
In a life long course of creativeness and adventure, with a succession of his unprecedented abstract works unrevealed to this day, Ara Guler is at Gallery G-Art on December 4 2012.
The curator of the exhibition consists of 16 photographs Lora Sarıaslan explains the content:
We know Ara Güler as someone who has been all around the world using the medium of photography to document; however, there is a side to him that no one has known previously, that of his abstract photographs. Local as well as international cultural, artistic, and political figures have been the subject of his portraits and interviews. In addition to discovering and revealing unfamiliar locations in Turkey and the world, Ara Güler through this exhibition presents an unknown “abstract” side of him. These abstract photographs he has taken since the 1970s become an unexpected series of works within his artistic oeuvre and creative journey. Just as we have seen the world and its inhabitants through the lens of Ara Güler, with this exhibition we see a fresh and new Ara Güler through these visuals that have not been exhibited previously. One of the ablest of photography’s creators, Ara Güler, regardless of historical period or agenda, has always had an instinctual understanding of the power and richness of photography and its possibilities. In great contrast to the photographs that he is known worldwide, these abstract images leave the viewer in ambiguity and wonder. One tries to sort out the image, and tries to figure out what the subject matter is, or how that composition was created. In his abstract photographs, Ara Güler ventures into the possibilities of accidents or coincidences, those that happened in the dark room, which he calls “faulty” or “defective”. Or in other instances, it is just that sheer moment of pressing the shutter button, and not really knowing what would be the outcome. In some works, we realize the journey of the image, for instance, in the form of a car ride, or in others it is a total mystery. Abstract photo not only makes the visible invisible, but also includes the perception of the artist as expressed in his subjective approach. Form, color, composition, as well as impulse combined with the elements of light and shadow create the results that we experience and encounter. The ambiguities inherent in such uncanny representations are photography’s ongoing replenishment. Ara Güler’s abstract photos present the tension between abstraction and representation that exist along a continually sliding scale, as they encapsulate within each image a new energy, and a new possibility.