Strange & Beautiful von Gözde Türkkan


Im Rahmen der baldigen Veröffentlichung des Slanted Magazins #24 – Istanbul, möchten wir euch gerne einige interessante Fotoserien und tolle Fotografen präsentieren, auf die wir während unserer Recherchen aufmerksam geworden sind. Mit “Strange & Beautiful” beginnt unsere kleine Blog-Serie besonderer, türkischer Fotografie, innerhalb derer wir vor dem Release der neuen Ausgabe (Ende Oktober) in regelmäßigen Abständen eine Fotografin oder einen Fotografen vorstellen werden. Wir wünschen euch viel Spaß beim Entdecken!

Gözde Türkkan ist eine junge, türkische Fotografin, die sich in ihren Arbeiten häufig mit Geschlechterrollen und sozialen Identitätsstrukturen auseinandersetzt. Diese Themen setzt sie mit subjektivem und dokumentarischem Anspruch um. Mit der Fotoserie “Strange & Beautiful” begann sie im Jahre 2000, arbeitet jedoch hauptsächlich seit 2007 daran, seitdem sie mit ihrem Vater, ihrer Schwester und dessen Mutter zusammen kam. Bis zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt erweitert Gözde die Serie immer wieder um neue Fotografien.

Die Serie wurde in 100-facher Ausführung für die Istanbuler Ausstellung “Close Quartiers” des Modern Museum produziert, bei der alle Besucher eingeladen waren, sich einen Print mitzunehmen, der ihnen gefällt.

Family bonds; we are beautiful strangers in a web of resemblance.
Within reach; out of grasp.

Delicate & fragile bonds, though hard wired; strange, beautiful, and close…
Strange and familiar as much as heartfelt due to proximity.

Things impossible to grasp;
like a person’s self,
like a moment,
like time passing by,
like siblings’ acute likeness,
like siblings’ acute unlikeness,
like two dots in space that get closer and closer but never meet,
like intimate distances between us and our family,
like growing up,
like growing old,
like past impressions,
like familiar scents,
like our temperament’s convergence with our parents’ as we grow old,
like the moment we fall asleep,
like our recurrent dreams,
what we are looking at here is the visualization of this impossibility by the means of a medium that inherits and admits it.

These are traces of our union and reunions over the years as we grow. As we grow older…

Gözde Türkkan im Interview:

Why and when did you start photographing?

I was 15 when I first started photographing thanks to my father who gave me his 35mm Olympus OM-1 camera (about 15 years ago). Up to that point I had been really into drawing as a way of self-expression, especially during childhood but later as I was growing up things changed (or I changed?) and unconsciously needed another kind of visual tool to let me express my thoughts and feelings. I should also say that I was the kind of kid who was shy, quiet and introvert but too much was going on underneath. So since the beginning, photography has been allowing to let go of my subconscious, both in analitical and impulsive ways.  

In which topics are you interested most in your work?

I have been pursuing my work on gender roles and socially constructed gender identities while attempting to shed light to some of the deepest drives, desires and fears of the human being through a subjective documentary approach. Besides mostly making use of photography series as the medium through which I have been exploring and externalizing my female gaze on both genders, I also produce artist’s books and text-based works as a different mode of expression.

There is also an ongoing emphasis on the human body as the most common outward manifestation of the sexual, psychological, emotional and sociological identity. Our bodies are the most intrinsic representative tool common to all human beings; it’s like a mediator inbetween our inner entity and its outwards manifestation or a window opening inwards to our psychological, physiological, emotional identities.  As a consequence, most of my works embodies my own “bodily obsessions”.

Another recurring topic is one of the closest kind of relationship we all experience which are the family ties. I believe it’s an important nest for the deepest inner conflicts common to us all.

How important is technique for you?

I have to admit that technique has never been my focus. It only serves as a tool that makes “it” happen. And as I prefer to make use of what already exists rather than constructing from scratch, I usually need the tools that faciliates me to “blend in” the environment where I’m in.  

Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by and excited to Investigating deepest human desires and intrinsic fears, making the viewer aware of stereotypes and making them ask questions that they had never asked before, making them question their preconceptions about socially constructed gender identities and how any given community is manipulated by certain industries.  When it comes to certain personas that inspire me, besides photographers like Nobuyoshi Araki, I have to name people working in different creative areas and with different expressive mediums such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Haruki Murakami and Brian Eno. They all made (and still make) an emotional and intellectual impact on me and they keep on inspiring me by the way they merge their creative works with their lives, their personalities and their stance in general.

What makes a good photo story?

Well, that’s a difficult question. Good regarding whom? Good as the maker of a photo story or its viewer? I’d rather take this on the viewer’s point of view: I’m most satisfied when a series of photos “moves” me both emotionally, intellectually and esthetically. There should be room for guessing: I should have some freedom over the interpretation of a visual narrative. I am also very curious about the author of a given series: I like to be able to find cues about the personality, mentality and the emotional or psychogical state of the photographer.

Are there any websites you’re visiting or publications you’re reading regularly?

I’m usually curious about Foam Magazine and visit regularly. I also follow and’s newsletters to keep up in general. Otherwise it’s more specific, research related material that I’m into.

Gözde “mimiko” Türkkan (1984, Turkey) is an artist and photographer living and working in Istanbul.

Besides mostly producing photography series, Türkkan also makes use of artist’s books, text-based works and videos. Her work focuses on gender identities & roles and socially constructed identities while attempting to shed light to some of the deepest drives, desires and fears of the human being through a subjective documentary approach. There is also an ongoing emphasis on the human body as the most common outward manifestation of the sexual, psychological, emotional and sociological identity. She had also travelled to different countries such as Ukraine, United Kingdom and France (Pay Here series, 2010 and Fight-Flight-Freeze series, 2013) and Thailand (Full Contact series, 2011) for the realization of some of her works.

She studied elementary and high school at Lycée Français Pierre Loti in İstanbul and got interested in photography during the year 2000. After a year of study on physical science at Pierre et Marie Curie University in Paris, she was admitted to Istanbul Bilgi University Photography and Video Department in 2004 with scholarship. After receiving her BA degree in 2008, Türkkan worked as a photography course instructor in the Visual Communication Design Department of the same university. She continued her education in University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (London, UK), where she received her MA Fine Art degree in 2010. 

!f Istanbul Independent Film Festival (2007), Dissecting & Patching (Vol de Nuits, Marseille, 2011), Art HK11 (Hong Kong, 2011), Close Quarters (Istanbul Modern Museum of Modern Art, 2013), Unseen Photo Fair (Amsterdam, 2013) and Landskrona Fotofestival (Sweden, 2014) can be named among the group shows, festivals, art fairs and screenings she participated in. In 2011, she opened her first solo show, Looking Back at You at Operation Room Gallery, İstanbul and in 2012 her second solo show Full Contact at Gallery x-ist. Her work from Pay Here series has participated in Christie’s auction Visions d’Orient, Paris (2011) and Sotheby’s auction Contemporary Art / Turkish, London (2012). Also nominated as semi-finalist for Full Art Prize in 2012. Her third solo show Fight-Flight-Freeze at Poligon “The Shooting Gallery” (Istanbul, 2013) analyzed some socio-psychological issues and identity roles of the sports people practicing martial arts as well as her own motives.