Legend Photographers

ARA GULER

THE EYE OF ISTANBUL

By Oguzhan Erim
May 26
@Stockholm

Ara Güler is a Turkish photojournalist, nicknamed "the Eye of Istanbul". Güler attaches the greatest importance to human presence in his photographs and describes himself as a "visual historian" He believes that photography should provide a memory of people, of their lives and especially their suffering. Apart from his poetic aesthetic in his photography, the dimension of how he brought humans into his photos, to document the city with its locals makes him as one of my favorite photographers.

Below you can find several images of him to demonstrate his style as I described earlier but, in this post, I would like to focus on the last image “Horseman on the tram line on the Istiklal Street”.

Ara Guler describe this photo as one of the special pieces for him even though it is difficult for a photographer to pick one favorite. It is a photo taken instantly as a coincidence but since he is always alerted in what happens in his surroundings. It is an instant event. If he was a second late, it would not be a photograph as it is now. He described that even a second is so long for the photographer that only the photographers can understand that. For me this photo as well as how he describe the background reflect a perfect mindset of a documentary photographer. If he wouldn't brought up his camera instantly, almost like a cowboy in a duello, the photo wouldn’t have happened.

This and many other old Istanbul photos of Ara Guler has prevented Istanbul from disappearing. The city is not there anymore as it was but its photos are.

This is the perspective I have which motivates me to bring up my camera when I go out in Stockholm even to walk on the streets which I have passed hundreds of times. Even though, the photos I take might not have much significance at this stage, I believe and hope that they will get more valuable over the time as an aging wine as witnesses of the past.