Yucel Basoglu - Turkey
1. Yucel, you`re interested in photography since childhood time. Please tell us something about your first tentative steps and your artistic development.
I took souvenir photos mostly and didn’t take black and white that much, especially no long exposure. Actually I didn’t even know what long exposure is. I had a small photograph development set, I would develop photos I took with Minolta or I would print cards by photogram technic. I started to take nature photos with my first digital camera Canon 10d. I started to read very much about photograph technics. I improved myself on cameras by teaching myself. I didn’t take private education. I took color photos for a long time, I used long exposure, however I always felt that something is missing, color photograph was not enough to transfer what I feel when I take things I see and to express myself and one day which is in the middle of winter; I went to Black Sea coast to take first black and white long exposure and everything’s changed. I understood that I can’t take anything but black and white anymore!
2. You`ve been born in Switzerland and now live in Istanbul, Turkey. How strong is the influence of your home country on your work as an artist?
First of all; natural beauties of my country are really spectacular. You can see different seasons in different regions at the same time. There are very nice places to take photo. Of course it is important what to take and how to take; everybody takes our authentic villages and landscapes mainly, there are a few people taking long exposure indeed, some of them try long exposure 1-2 times then they quit. Me and several photograph artists keep to take photos in long exposure context. I shaped my style to take with my perspective personally. The biggest contribution of my country to me is its inspirational natural beauties.
3. Your work solely consits of black and white pictures. When did you realize that B&W may be the best possible way to speak to other ones? Why does B&W work best for you?
After I had taken my first photo in black and white format, I understood that I can’t work in any other ways. Because I believe that I feel solemnity, power and energy of nature better in photos I took in black and white format and I try to reflect this. These works are efforts to show what I see.
4. Have there been role models who worked as a source of inspiration for your work? Where do you find inspiration nowadays?
I tended to make long exposure shoot after seeing works of some world-famous photographers. They gave me inspiration although our styles are different. I like the moment I took photo, so if I don’t go to take photo I feel anxious. I took inspiration from nature when I take a photo and sometimes darkness inside me takes me to take photo.
5.Your photography shows a consistent mood. It`s rather dark with a gloomy atmosphere. Is this the way you see the world around you? Do you already know how the finished picture will look like when you build up your camera? Or is it more like trial and error?
You are right, generally dark environments, even some people says it is gloomy. However my works all the people sees as gloomy and dark are not feels same to me. Actually I am at the place I want to be the most and I am happy at that moment. Therefore I called all my works with one name; “Dark beauty”. I like darkness and light games; even in the darkest times; there is always a light. Light is needed even to see darkness. I see that darkness when I take photo even I imagine its completed version in my mind. If there is somewhere I want to go sometimes; I calculate from where to take and what kind of a result I want as I am on the way to take photo.
6. It`s more than obvious that your work is substantially affected by nature, especially water and your home town Istanbul. Please tell us something about your connection to those elements.
Istanbul is a really big and crowded city but it is also a city with a very deep history where many civilizations lived before. Taking photo in Istanbul, even walking on its streets is a big inspiration for people. I like taking long exposure in Istanbul. Most of my works were taken on the sea. I am passionate about the sea. I feel good at seaside. So I go to all shoots alone. I don’t want anybody to ruin that moment. I go on the worst weather conditions; especially on stormy days. Although solemnity of sea, blackened cloud, streamers feels scary, it seems very nice to me.
7. There`ve been several publications, exhibitions or awards depending your outstanding work. Personally spoken, how important is it to get some kind of appreciation? What about the importance of social networking for being able to connect with more people?
Publishings, exhibitions and awards are really proud and honorary things. These kinds of appreciations are important for all photograph artists. It feels that we do correct job and encourages to produce more. Like I said, my works are a little dark because I don’t take photo for a certain subservience or appreciation or to reflect a certain long exposure technic. I take photo as I feel like and of course it is being a very proud moment for me when I am appreciated. Social media causes to consume everything instantly in photograph topic like all other topics. On the other hand of course it has good features; it provides opportunity to share their works for many photographers, however once you share a photo, it becomes old in seconds. There is nothing to do about this. Social media helped me to meet with successful photograph artists from other countries; also we have get a chance to see many inspirational works, these are best parts of social media for me.
8. How would you describe the influence of photography on modern societies? May a picture be able to change anything?
Photograph became a communication media in social media, because where you are, what you did; everything is in sight by stories. In the past when social media didn’t exist; everything was over and done with until you see, but now a photo of refugee cruelty can alarm all the people or a photo of demonstration; or when you can take a photo of an injustice to somebody; it can create an effect on society. Of course it is hard to say this for artworks, but you give inspiration to another photographer or a story writer or a poet. No matter what a life without photograph is not possible.
9. Would you be able to choose one single picture of yours with a particular meaning for yourself? Please let us participate in it`s story.
I decided to go to a point on black sea coast I planned before on a stormy day with heavy rain. I had to go point I want by going down on a 20 meters steep rocky slope. I went down to rocks I wanted under hard conditions but weather conditions were worse then I guessed. As meters of waves were hitting where I sat, I wanted to go back but I couldn’t, because slope I went down was completely slippery, I fell down and hit my knees to rock and felt its pain for a while; at that moment I get into a cave I saw by coincidence and I took these photos. I could go back to home late at night after waiting weather to get normal for hours same day.
10. Final Question: This project is called "Vision and life". What do the terms "vision" and "life" mean for you, Yucel?
Seeing occurs by enabling eyes, heart and mind, we can look everywhere but seeing is a different thing. Person who looks only tells, person who sees queries and interprets. Therefore, actually seeing and life are very close concepts. We can understand beauty of life by seeing not by looking and life rises in value as long as you can see, because life is so beautiful.