“Nude photographs are the most effective shots which reflect the mystery of the reality in human beings. Human body can express itself much more effectively only when nude. And I believe, people examining these photos are standing at the same spot with me. ”
Could you please tell us a little more about yourself for us to get to know you better?
I was born in Izmit in 1962. My father is also a photography artist, Cemal Turgay. My whole childhood passed within my father’s profession. After getting education on photography in England, I continued professionally but still I couldn’t keep myself distant from artistry and so I moved into the art of photography via an award I won in a national photography contest in 1988. And as the years passed by, I focused more on black & white works.
What were the incidents, people, photographs which first started the passion of photography for you and which inflamed you when at times you felt down and/or demotivated?
It was my father being a photographer which was the starting point of my passion. From time to time I live ups and downs in photography regarding to the conditions of the country and psychological states. But still I feel like I’m more productive when I’m down. I listen to Chopin, Pnik Floyd and Rahmaminof during such times and this cheers me up and motivates me.
The way black&white conveys the feelings has always been different. And we observe that most of your photographs are black&white. What has been the most effective reason behind this preference of yours?
Black&white and analog have always been different photographies. When I had first begun, there wasn’t such a thing as digital photography. I’m coming from stone ages and therefore I love black&white and don’t think I would ever give up from that. I also work on colored photos, but that’s very rare. Since I cannot control the light via the right angle of the sun beams, I do not really like colored photography. Grey lights, rain, hurricane and gloomy weather where mostly pastel colors are dominant are my favorites.
As you progressed in time and became more experienced, what has changed in your point of view on people, light and the impact of photography upon people?
As experienced as I get, the power of my control on light increases. And in time I started focusing more on nude photography. In my opinion, these are the most effective shots which reflect the mystery of the reality within human beings. Human body can expresss itself much more effectively when only nude in my photographs. And I believe people examining these photos are standing at the same spot with me. On the other hand, prohibitions and mystery have always attracted my attention more than aything else. And the impetus in me to uncover these, is what triggers me the most, in spite of the closed society we’re living in.
What are you looking for in your compositions as color, story and pattern while you are capturing shots from the rural areas where people are shaped with nature?
I draft my compositions first of all on paper or if inpsiration comes all of a sudden, then I send myself reminders. I mostly work on people and as I have told, nude photography is my priority. I for sure make preparations before I begin taking shots. I don’t set my model free. I give her/him the time to get in the mood to be able to capturr my state of mood for the desired shots to happen. I drink some things to relax myself and listen to classical music and then me and my model start working.
We see the element of human and some kind of narration regarding human quite frequently in your photos. Why do you think, humans are objects needed to be taken photos of?
Because it’s the hardest to define human via photography. And I like toughness and mystery. That’s why I use the element of human in my photography frequently. It’s very important that first of all I, myself have to be content with the shot I take. I’m a photography artist and I obviously don’t think too much on others appreciation of my photos. I produce, I put effort, I think a lot on it and I watch over and over again.
You use compositions in your photography quite effectively. Do you make any preparations before you start taking shots? Or else do you just capture moments? Do you have any recommendations for new beginners?
Some of my previous answers are already answering your question. Of course I make preparations. It’s definitely important to capture the moment, but actually what’s important is me directing the model. As for recommendations; for anyone who has the passion for photography inside, there’s no need for recommendations. That person will anyhow find his way and style in time. Only hint I would give is, stay away from simple photographs.
How do you convince yourself that the shot you took is “good”?
After I complete the photograph, I look at the photo from time to time. And in time I decide, whether it’s really “good” or not. If not, I tear it off.
There are so many people in photography business and competition is quite high, like in any other fields of art. No matter which branch of art it is, it’s a very tough road where too much effort is needed to become an “artist”. What kind of difficulties have you faced during this time? Could you please tell us a little about that?
The geography we live on and the culture here have been the biggest obstacles ahead of me. And still they are. I struggled a lot to overcome all these obstacles and still I am. It’s been really hard in our society to accept photography as a field of art, and the photographer as an “artist.” I ran after my passion for photogarphy and found my own although it was difficult. I created my own style as an artist. You cannot imagine how hard it is in a country where neither Renaissance nor reforms took place. I paid so many prices and still I am.
There are of course some things you’re still learning. What have you learned or discovered in your field recently?
At this point, I’m discovering new things myself. I’m in my own creativitiy phase. I’m teaching Cem Turgay new things by myself.
It’s obvious that each photographer has a style of his own. What do you think makes Cem Turhat photographs unique?
Being black&white, being analog, being out of step and maybe a bit repellent but yet, being regard to human.
Photography is a very wide definition. And it has wide boarders regarding various fields. How do you think shall the balance between the artistry and the professionalism aspects be?
You cannot comprehend an artist unlinked to the country he’s belonging to. Yet photography is the same.And unfortunately it is impossible in our country to earn money through fields of art, because the priorities are different and there are unsurpassable limits. This is not balance; indeed it is inbalance.
What has changed in people’s approaches towards photography in th last 10 years?
Because of digital photography and the spreading of shot taken with mobile phones, everyone became photography artists easily. Therefore since this happened without any serious efforts put in, photography started seeming like as if it is soemthing simple. As long as me and my friends are here and thinking this way, we will try anything to change this point of view as much as we can.