We had a chat with Osman Demir about his current exhibition in the Lomography Embassy Store Istanbul featuring 3D Pinhole photos. Get your 3D glass ready and keep on reading!
Hello Osman, please tell us a little about yourself.
I graduated from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Department of Photography. I’m continuing my masters’ studies in the same school. In the past year and a half, I scanned Ara Güler’s contact prints and my masters’ thesis will be about them. My works were displayed at Tüyap Art Fair twice; first between 2014-15 as a part of the collection "Digital Obscura" curated by Ozan Bilgeseren and last year, in 2016, as a part of a group of artists "Taşeron Independent Art Initiative" curated by Şahin Domin and Osman Nuri İyem. I was one of the ten artists who participated in the exhibition Günümüz Sanatçıları 2016 organized by Akbank Sanat. Again last year, I was one of the artists of the project called "EXILE" which won the grand prize for the "Upcoming Masters of Photography" competition sponsored by Leica at Photokina in Germany.
How did you become interested in photography? Do you remember your first camera?
My father used to have an ice cream shop in Üsküdar and I was a student at Mimar Sinan Middle School. During summer holidays I used to help him. One day, one of my brothers’ ship worker friends came with a Canon Canonet 28 camera and my brother bought it. The first thing I remember is the reflection of light on its metal body. I still remember how impressed I was and that’s how it all started.
You are especially interested in pinhole photography, what do you find most interesting about it?
One of the best things about Mimar Sinan Fine Art University is that there is the atelier spirit where the master-apprentice relationship continues. This process, which starts with the darkroom, inherently influenced me to direct my attention to Camera Obscura. Although nowadays it’s considered to be an alternative printing process, it remains to be very influential as the root of photography in today’s digital environment. In terms of technical implementation and outcomes, it’s highly artistic and I love its aesthetic. I think what I like most about photography is that I am completely focused on pinhole as a way to question the aesthetics. Yet there is this feeling as if I’ve just started. As the old saying goes, "You’re not lost if where you’re going doesn’t matter." I guess that’s what photography is like.
Your exhibition, Untitled, is currently on display in Lomography Embassy Store İstanbul. How did this Project develop?
I used to have a Holga Panoramic Pinhole camera. I have taken double exposures with it. It produces 6x12 cm negatives. In the process of shooting, I was both examining the Pinhole esthetic and enjoying the perspective it offered to perceive the world. Without a lens or a viewfinder, producing medium format negatives is like perceiving other realities. Besides, Lomography culture carries on the analogue tradition. In today’s photography environment, this project came together with Lomography and created a source of power and this was the triggering force behind the exhibition Untitled.
The photos from the exhibition were all taken in Salamis Ancient Greek City. How did choosing this location affect the outcomes?
I have bought a second Holga 3D Pinhole camera after taking Seçkin Tercan’s courses at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. I have brought it along when I visited Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus during international photography days, twice. Salamis was a very convenient location for this shooting technique. If we consider the shutter speed, there were plenty of vertical and horizontal objects which strengthened the Project. Salamis is the real protagonist and as a matter of fact, it has a lot more to tell.
Which one of your photos from the exhibition is your favorite? Would you like to share its story with us?
I was always interested in ancient cities. For a period of time, Salamis was ruled by Alexander the Great. I was also influenced by its ability to ruin its isolation into a power source on a remote island. I especially chose early hours in the day when the diffuse air was predominant. In this way, contrast was no longer the subject and I started tracing a relationship between a location and the ruins it contained where the discourse about the city was in focus. There is a photograph of a stone mass which looked as if it was straight out of a Jeff Wall frame. The moment I saw it there was only one thing I wanted to do; to turn my camera into that direction and squeeze the story out of it. The stone mass was telling its own story. And it succeeded.
How would you describe 3D Pinhole effect on images?
A very good question. The most significant characteristic of 3D Pinhole is that it creates an illusion for the audience with the relationship between the object and space behind. There are some key shooting rules to follow to be able to achieve the anaglyph effect. The outcomes that are viewed with 3D glasses leave a different impression on people. By the way, the 3D Pinhole photo exhibition in Lomography Embassy Store İstanbul is a first in Turkey.
Do you have any recommendations for people who are interested in pinhole photography?
Pinhole photography is an experimental technique. Even though it’s not often produced or displayed, it’s still a very important element of analogue photography. It has a lot to say. Believe me, its creative power is very strong! Either in color or in black and white negatives, the outcomes are fascinating. It doesn’t have a lens or a viewfinder and this is the reason why it’s special. I highly recommend it. Try it and lose your mind!
Do you have any upcoming projects?
This May, as a part of a group of artists from Taşeron Independent Art Initiative I will make an installation called “The Telephone” at Bilgi University, Santal Campus. The event will host different initiatives. I like multi-disciplinary production. I also have works I’ve produced using resin, metal, glass and other findings. This is how the real art manifests it influence. It’s important that the artist should be free to explore the relationship between the object and the image. Today’s discourse is also powerful. I will have an exhibition at the International Bursa Photography Festival. I’m continuing my atelier work. I’m teaching at Kocaeli University. My students and I are currently working on a project for Tüyap Art Fair. The dates are not certain yet. We will have another exhibition in Lomography Embassy Store Istanbul together with them. Keeping on thinking and creating! I'd like to thank Lomography Turkey's director Nural and her team from the bottom of my heart.
The translation of this article from Turkish to English was made by Bengisu Kiraz.
written by nural on 2017-04-25