Hi everyone, my name is Çetin. I was born in a small town called Kars, located just near the eastern border of Turkey. However, I spent most of my life in the mining city of Zonguldak, where my parents moved to when I was a child. Today, I still live in Zonguldak and work as a geological engineer in a government facility. This work that I do and the two cities that I lived in had an enormous influence on my photos. Nevertheless, to explain how my photos are shaped, I should first tell you about my interests and how they affect my life as a photographer.
I have been interested in sports all my life. During my childhood and adolescence years, I did athletics, played football and basketball. Today I do body-building and fitness. Other than that, I have a variety of interests; mainly music, literature, cinema, sculpture, history and mythology. When I express myself with photography, I try to incorporate other art forms and draw inspiration from artistic movements.
My interest in art, most notably photography, started with traveling. I had always wanted to travel to learn about the people, the places they live in, the history and culture they share. I wanted to satiate my curiosity by searching around the world. Until 2008 I was not able to do that since I had a family to take care of. After kids were grown enough to take care of themselves, I started to travel around the globe and take photos.
At first, my main objective was to absorb these places and photography was just a tool to document my findings. With time, taking photos became my main objective. First, I learned how to compose my photos; after that, I learned how to take photos that tell a story with a language of their own. Now, I travel to be able to take photos and to be able to work on projects that involve these photos.
As I mentioned before, travel photos had always been my main focus, and they still are. I like discovering new places, I love witnessing the forms of life that blossom in different parts of the world and documenting them. In doing so; I feel free, happy, and more energetic than ever. I love to see different people and the nature that house them. I see photography as the key to understand these people and nature. And this understanding of photography, in time, led me to documentary photography.
Investigating the matters that concern humans, analyzing them to compose stories, sharing these stories and projects with people; in the end, getting feedback from others became a significant part of my life. With this, I was able to improve myself and, at the same time, learn about a variety of interesting things that were shared by people that I met in my travels. Considering these, I feel that documentary photography resonates with me.
The main subject that shapes most of my photos are people, and I like to take photos where I include these people with the environment that they are in. As social beings, humans cannot be separated from their surroundings. The houses they were born in, the streets they live in, the workplaces they use daily, and the nature surrounding them harbors many feelings. When telling stories of people, their environment is always important to me.
The process in which these stories and photographs are created is one that I truly enjoy. On group trips, most of the time I prefer wandering off on my own and discovering my surroundings. I try to communicate with the locals, identify my environment, and understand the place’s culture.
When I am walking around the streets, I try to compose the photos that I will be taking. I become curious about the narrow streets, clay houses, local animals, and many more. So, I try to learn. If it is the first time I am traveling somewhere, my priority is to make observations. This makes it easier for me to take photos in later travels to the same places.
In this process of taking a photo, the tools that I use play an essential part too. The very first tool that I used was the Canon 300N analog camera. At first, I wouldn’t think much about taking photos, and I would just press the shutter button. Taking the photo, putting the film inside the camera, bathing the film was all a thrill. After the photos were produced, I would see my technical mistakes and try to improve on them.
Trying to learn how to take photos using an analog camera can be disadvantageous because of the significantly decreased speed in which you can form photos. Regardless, my first camera always managed to keep my interest in photography fresh. However, after some time, I switched to digital cameras that are more practical, lighter, and easier to use.
Today, I use the Olympus E-M10 Mark II, Olympus E-M1, Olympus E-M1 Mark II cameras and the 12-40mm F2.8 Pro, 7-14mm F2.8 Pro, 12-100mm F4 Pro and 40-150mm F2.8 Pro Olympus lenses.
My reasoning behind camera and lens choices always comes down to the kind of work I do, travel photography. When I am on a trip to take photos, I am always in motion, going through various places while carrying my equipment. I have to think and act as fast as possible. A camera that is light and sturdy gives me the ability to capture the moment swiftly, it provides me with improved agility and practicality. With these advantages, it is easier to express myself in various ways, and it is easier to have longer shoots.
But why specifically Olympus? Because Olympus cameras provide me with the lightness and the sturdiness that I seek. They give me extra flexibility when taking photos, and they also provide me with optional settings that do not exist in other brands. Unlike others that are larger and impractical, with Olympus cameras, I am able to react to any situation with haste and never miss a shot. Even in the dim light, I can acquire sharp, clean, and detailed photos without the need for a tripod. And on top of that, they are also economical.
When it comes to lenses, my most preferred one is the M.Zuiko 12-40mmF2.8 Pro. I believe that this lens is the most practical one when telling a person’s story and when the subjects are in the place they live in. Besides, the easiness that the lens aperture provides in poorly lit places is great. You can trust that the 12-40mm F2.8 Pro is resistant to all kinds of environmental hazards such as dust, moisture, or cold temperature. It also makes it really practical to switch between manual and auto focus.
“I was born in Kars in 1968, today I live in Zonguldak. I started to take photos in 2007. I graduated from Anadolu University in 2014 receiving a degree in Photography and Camera Operation. I received various national and international awards regarding photography. In the year of 2016, I received the title of EFIAP from FIAP. I took part in group exhibitions, interviews, and gave speeches about photography. I visited 24 countries to take photos of many kinds. In this year of the global epidemic, I participated in the project: Photography in the Days of Corona.”