Sunday, May 17, 2015

Istanbul through Young Eyes - in the steps of Ara Güler

Cleaning shoes in Election season - by a young Turkish photographer
How can we affirm the delicate buds of artistic invention as they emerge in young people? 

How can we provide a platform for the sometimes startling perspectives of unknown kids in unknown places?

For the last three years we’ve been working to bring young people on the Asian side of Istanbul together with international kids from very different backgrounds and get them working together. We’ve painted walls, we’ve created sculptures from waste products, the kids have learnt some English, added to all this every year we hold our Inter Schools Photography Competition. 

For the Competition we hand out disposable Kodak cameras (the ones with film) to students from a few different schools in the area and give the kids three weeks to go off and use up the film on a particular theme. 

We have to explain repeatedly (in two languages!) to the puzzled kids that there are only 28 chances to get a shot from a film camera, and that no, you can't think of it as a camera on your phone that gives you limitless opportunities to take photos.

We also have to emphasise that it's important to avoid putting one's finger over the small lens. No doubt we'll get the usual crop of potentially great shots with huge blurry fingers obscuring things, but thankfully they are in a minority.

We then have to explain, what for modern kids must be the strangest thing of all, that we have to get the films developed!! How weird is that? After holding a small exhibition we have our annual prize giving. I'm pleased to say that over the years this activity has really encouraged some young people to pursue their creative side.

The results have been amazing over the last three years, in fact they have been so good we decided to publish the best work in a book complete with the reflections of the young artists who took them. Watch this space for more information.

I'm delighted to see some pictures emerge from our kids that reminded me of that genius of Turkish Photography Ara Guler, take a look.

Back to painting for me....

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