In 2018, I wrote an article and shared the review of my submission to a call at LensCulture. I enjoy LensCulture and what they do and participate in some of their calls to support their activities. This LensCulture review will share similar content.
It is a little over a year old but the process and the review content have good educational value. The primary reading here is the review after my opening background information on the photographs. You may even consider looking at the photographs and skipping to the review. If you like, you may revisit the background information later. There may be one more similar post coming.
This submission included five photographs from my various visits to Turkey. I primarily wanted to show the unseen faces and places from Turkey, different streets, so to speak, than the commonly seen ones in upscale districts.
The first photograph is from 1981 when we visited Adana. I saw the old man resting next to the wall of the mosque he probably visited. I took several photographs and moved on. Almost around the corner was a small park where I saw the men sitting on a bench that you see in the fifth photograph. They were not all a group of friends but sharing a bench in that small park. They reminded me of notes on the musical staff. And their keen interest in being photographed offered strength to the photograph.
The photograph of the man and his horse was from 2003. As I had my camera set on a tripod to photograph the house, he carrying the load and his horse just walked by. He was leading the horse in lockstep, and I clicked the shutter. Never underestimate the value of luck!
The third photograph, the timid, shy girl in front of a mirror with a water pitcher behind is one of my earliest photographs. It probably goes back to 1963-1964 when I accompanied a friend in hauling his new furniture from Istanbul to Adana. We stopped for breakfast in a small town near Konya and found a small breakfast nook. While we enjoyed fresh bread and rolls of kaymak, thick rolled cream, she came to buy something. As I took her photograph she shyly stood there in front of the pitcher as if the pitcher was a reflection of her that echoed in the mirror as well. To this day, it is one of my favorites.
The fourth photograph of merchants was in the Tire (pronounce as tea-ray) market we visited in 2003. Their positions and stances were reminiscent of medieval paintings. I converted the photograph to monochrome to lessen that association to some extent.
Of course, none of this information was available to the reviewer, and she or he presented a personal reading from the contents of the photographs.
Why I Entered Them
I selected these photographs, which I had exhibited before, to show the less traveled places and less seen faces in Turkey. Most photographs we see of Turkey will show the major cities, beautiful beaches, mosques, the Bosphorus, and the like. I wanted to emphasize that there were, and still are very interesting places and faces beyond the common views. The streets of Turkey were more than those of major tourist attractions.
Answers to Questions
There were several questions I needed to answer, I am sharing them and my answers below to offer a complete review.
1. What is the single most important question/concern you have about your project that you wish to have answered here in this review?
The reviewer’s reading of each photograph.
2. What do you hope to accomplish with your photography in the next few years?
I am close to the end of my photographic and real life. I try to share what I have learned in over sixty years with anyone who is willing to listen!
3. Is this an ongoing or completed project?
These are singular photographs going back to the 1960s. In a way, they reflect the start and the middle of my photographic life.
4. Do you consider yourself a
5. What genres of photography do you work in (mark all that apply)
Fine art, documentary, street
I am sharing the review by an anonymous reviewer below with her or his suggestions for further exploration. I share this mainly to let viewers see an honest review, a personal take of these photographs, and how the reviewer read them. I may or may not agree with everything the review says but I value the opinion and the reading. Here is the review. After the review, there is a long list of readings and sites to visit recommended by the reviewer.
In my opinion, these photographs are very strong. You have a distinct sense of composition and gesture that reminds me of many great Magnum Photographer’s work. The scenes are classic. And your sensibility for what makes a good photograph is evident.
Image 1 for all intents and purposes is a wonderful photograph. I like how you have split the frame so that there is the shape of the elderly man juxtaposed with the shape of the old stone wall–a provocative juxtaposition of ideas. And the use of color is beautiful. If I were to be VERY picky–which is what I think you want–I feel the one line I have targeted with a note disrupts the purity of the composition. And while I know it couldn’t be moved or erased, when I look at the perfection of the rest of your photographs, I recognize that you are probably aware of subtle details like this.
Image 2 is classic. An image like this clearly could be in National Geographic or any great magazine that looks at foreign cultures. The body language of the person is gorgeous and the color of the mule/horse and the building is stunning. Very nice!
The composition of image 3 is wonderful; what a beautiful resonance between the shapes of the child and the two vases. And of course the coy and furtive gaze of the child toward the camera is alluring. Again, very nice.
Images 4 and 5, yet again, are stunning moments. The organization of these men in the space is beautiful. And I feel you are striking perfect balance between the surroundings and the sight lines (in image 4) and the presence of the men. In both instances, I have a couple comments:
1. I would revisit the processing of these images. In the case of image 4, it is a bit too contrasty. If you look where I have placed notes, there is no detail in these areas. And a slightly more matte (as opposed to contrasty) approach to the processing will make the photograph gain a lot of character and dimension. In image 5, which I can appreciate is made in mostly shadow light, it still feels a touch too magenta, blue, cyan.
2. Both of these photographs (if not some of the others too), look like they were made 20+ years ago. And of course there is nothing wrong with that. However, if your intention is to win in a contest like this, I personally haven’t seen a photograph made 20+ years ago be recognized; unless that photograph was part of a concept or idea that is woven into a contemporary narrative.
So, in short A, you are making excellent photographs. And it would be wonderful to see a body of work of yours in which you explore an idea to its end. Perhaps I will discover more when I visit your website.
Thank you for sharing your images and wishing you the best of luck.
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