In order to develop his interest in photography and improve himself, he decides to study on this subject at the university. In 1996, he prepares and wins MSGU Photography Department aptitude tests. In our interview with Ozan Güzelce, we had the opportunity to better understand both himself and his photojournalist and his perspective on photography.
First of all, can we get to know you closely?
I was born in Istanbul in 1978. I can say that my interest in photography started with an analog camera that was given to me during high school years. The photographs I took by myself with trial and error increased my interest in this field. The feeling of freezing and documenting and sharing a special moment of the time we live in has become a passion for me over time.
How did you improve your photography? How did you decide to choose photography as a profession?
In order to develop myself for photography and my interest, I decided to study at this university. In 1996, I prepared and won the Marmara University Faculty of Fine Arts Photography Department talent exams. I had the opportunity to receive education from very valuable teachers here. I learned the basic, artistic, philosophical and technical aspects of photography here.
While continuing my university education, I worked as an assistant in some photography studios. My interest in portrait and documentary photography has gradually led me to journalism, in other words, to photojournalism. In 2000, I started to work as a trainee photojournalist in Milliyet Newspaper. Here I had the chance to learn news photography alongside many valuable photojournalists. I am still working as a photojournalist in Milliyet Newspaper.
You took your education at the university on photography. To what extent does this training coincide with press photography?
Yes, I studied at Marmara University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Photography. In the course of my education, we have seen courses such as optics, light, composition, documentary photography and studio, as well as lessons explaining the relevance of photography to art and philosophy.
From these courses, documentary photography was the closest to press photography. Unfortunately, we did not have a lesson for press photography. In fact, it is a bit about the curriculum of these fine arts faculties. I think there is a prediction that graduates of journalism in general can choose the profession of photojournalism.
Did you have a goal to work as a photojournalist at first? What did you experience different from what you imagined when you started?
At first, I was not thinking of becoming a photojournalist. Advertising and fashion photography attracted my attention more. I can also say that I like documentary and portrait photographs and the desire to be more involved in the photography led me to photojournalism.
Of course, there are huge differences between the frames you took while you were a photojournalist and the photos you took as a student of fine arts photography. For example, when taking a news photo, the most important moment telling that news is expected to be told in 1-2 frames. Because there may not always be a chance to use more than one square from you in the newspaper.
In summary, the most important issue in news photography is to capture the frame that best describes the moment. In the documentary, there is the freedom to explain the event with more frames. It is also very important to make a quick decision to be successful in the news photo.
What did working in the newspaper add to your professional life?
It is important to think practically and make a quick decision to work in the newspaper. I think these are the two most important features that he brought to me. Also, a newspaper photojournalist should be capable of taking photographs on every subject.
Because you can find yourself taking a sports photo one day while running after a news photo in the newspaper. When necessary, you can take portrait, fashion shoot, sometimes a venue shoot or even a food shoot. Our area is quite wide. I can say that this was really a big win for me.
What are the challenges of photojournalism profession in Turkey?
First, in Turkey there are three areas that can be studied as the first foreign photojournalists, agencies second major newspapers and the third local agencies. Newspaper photojournalism is the most disadvantageous for me because it has become harder to find a place as a photojournalist in newspapers that are already few in number.
As a newspaper photojournalist, I always find myself facing the question “What will happen tomorrow?”. Technical equipment, which is the most important requirement of a newspaper photojournalist, is a different problem because we have to buy photographic equipment, especially our lenses ourselves. Today, the price of the lenses required for a photojournalist is not very easy to get them at very high values.
See also General difficulty will be if drawn by a photojournalist some squares can determine the value of that photo up for days, but unfortunately the agenda in Turkey photojournalists does not see the material and moral values. We can face security forces in news tracking. As an example, with a gas bomb thrown on me at the May 1 shows of 2014, my wrist was broken and I had a treatment for 2 months.
What kind of advantages and disadvantages do you experience of photographing an event as a photojournalist?
As I mentioned before, taking photos as a photojournalist and taking photos as a normal photographer is different. The photojournalist has to capture the most important and striking moment of an incident and deliver it to the media organ to which it is connected. And most importantly, the photojournalist should be objective when projecting an event to his photo.
What was the most exciting photo in your professional life?
With the civil war that started in Syria in 2015, we became the first newspaper to enter the city of Azez to follow the events. The photographs I lived and took there were a different experience for me.
As a photojournalist you also use Instagram on social media, how did you decide to be on Instagram?
Obviously, the idea of sharing the photos I took with the proliferation of digital photography on the internet was positive for me as a portfolio on the digital platform. It was in 2012 that I met Instagram. I was even late because Instagram first appeared on phones with IOS operating system at that time, I could not enter it because my phone did not support it. Now I have an account with 65,000 followers with more than 4000 photos.
I think it is important because it is a platform where you can see many photographers and photographs together. I try to find answers to how I can improve myself better by following people who take quality photos on Instagram. Because a photojournalist or a photographer should always be open to development. If you are doing this job, the search for “How is it better?” Should always continue.
When I look at your Instagram account, I see photos from the art community as well as photojournalism. Which photo is easier for you to take?
When I take a photo, I do not consider it easy. While taking a person from the art community, taking photos that you can think of as easy depending on the person you will take or the situation of the current location may be difficult. The most important criterion for me here is that the photo I took first made me feel happy.