About

1960 yılında İstanbul’da doğdu. 1978-1982 yılları arasında Mimar Sinan Üniversitesi Ana Sanat Dalı’nda Lisans, 1999-2001 yılları arasında Y.T.Ü Müzecilik Ana Bilim Dalı’nda Yüksek Lisans eğitimi aldı. Halen Yıldız Teknik Üniversitesi Sanat ve Tasarım Fakültesi’nde öğretim görevlisidir. Özgeçmiş.

Orhun was born in İstanbul in 1960. Between 1978 and 1982, he completed his undergraduate studies at Mimar Sinan University Faculty of Arts. From 1999 to 2001, he studied museology at Yıldız Technical University’s Department of Museum Studies and received his Master’s Degree from the same institution. Orhun currently holds a teaching position at the Yıldız Technical University Faculty of Art and Design. CV

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“He constructs his time and his habits of seeing as if to weave an inner web and connection between objects and things when confronted with material he wants to photograph. Consequently, the photograph converts into a document and the document into soul reading. The focused images, the angles, the atmosphere and the postures become organs of the body.” – Levent Çalıkoğlu

Beyoğlu
“The place where the text ends and the picture gets unraveled” – Levent Çalıkoğlu

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Beyoğlu is a place that claims the impossibility of attaining the ‘true us’. Although it witnesses the procession of diversities, the place somehow conceals the unknown; while verifying that appearances are borne out of myths, public memories, anecdotes, explanations based on true life and new styles of representation. Beyoğlu is an open-air arena where everyone’s state of belonging to it, is questioned as if in an anti-face museum. As you sit around to watch, a hundred questions crop up in your mind: To whom does the street belong? For whom are the buildings being abandoned? How do the inhabitants and the overnighters come to meet? Who are the initiators of the single-¬type way of dress, looks and peeps and who are the ones in opposition? Is it the daylight that differentiates between the day and night or is it the back streets? Wlıo are the ones digesting the art, the fast food and the books? Does all that I see, manage to be contained in the present time? In spite of the wisdom in its construction, the modern city was mainly designed as a place to keep secrets. Even though the roles, the duties, the boundaries and the flows are turned into texts, (an impenetrable secret wall has always existed between the outside and the inside); not to protect what was private or to be shielded from the inauspicious; but in order to segregate the different social classes of people. Beyoğlu indicates the position of a labeled modern city that dissolves like salt in water thus portraying a totally stupefying experience.

Consequently, Beyoğlu is not a place where I can voluntarily position my body in, since I have eyes, which perceive and comprehend. Beyoğlu does not embrace me nor does it seem to invite a pleasurable touch.

Doubtlessly, it has a certain charm however it promises nothing. Each encounter either jolts me with an unanticipated surprise or discards me as a limited creature. lt is as though every kind of uncertainty has been imprisoned in Beyoğlu and is regularly being re-staged every day. In spite of the controlling activities, administrative measures and its periodically renewed facade, Beyoğlu keeps on suggesting to me that, as a stranger, I should be doing some changing also – and often in not a very polite manner, too.

Ömer Orhun’s photographs on the other hand, is not concerned with describing this unexplainable Beyoğlu crowd. Neither is he interested in questions with meaningless responses, the way I am. He is not after attaining approval for the unforeseen identities of the side streets, the meeting places, the main-street characters who comprise of an important part of the backbone, nor of the weekend visitors. On the contrary, he reminds us of the feeling and strategy required in order to stick to one’s “having no place” in this passageway where everyone dwells as a stranger.

Ömer does not try to convey the act of seeing into the concrete, in the manner of an aggressive street photographer. He is totally aware of the importance of drifting with the flow as counter reality. These photographs are the reflections of the delight of a person who has taken a ride in the a-b-c of faces and places.

If it had been ten years ago, I might have described him as an idle man who was trying to figure out the unknown to curb his boredom, who was making impulsive decisions regarding this destination or perhaps a brash tourist who wanted to encounter strange and bizarre experiences. However, now he can find his way in the crowd like a pilgrim whose route has been set a long time ago. The well-known column bases, the building gates and the entrances to the shops where he can pounce upon his prey are engraved in his body. As he takes in the smell of the crowd, he knows too well whom he can nail down and those he can catch alone. Sometimes he cleans his scope of vision so well that both the time and place makes a reference to a new geographical spot. In reality, he only sees half the face of the stranger in a blurred fashion. He puts out a resistance to Beyoğlu, which stands out as a magnet with its visual attraction. Due to this resistance, he gives out a broken response to the other’s dynamism, exhaustion, unruliness, diversity and colorfulness while freeing him from being somebody that can be conquered. However, this should be noted that he does not view his subjects as lifeless objects that have no beginnings and no ends. I am aware that such a look tends to deduct the surpluses, exaggerate the shortages, is resistance building and therefore becomes an objectifying intervention. What I am trying to say is that Ömer is a man who pokes his nose (viewer) into everything in his idle moments and suffers the consequences. The street’s hazardous possibilities are things that he breathes and feels. I believe that Ömer Orhun’s concept of photography fundamentally rests on two issues. The first one, which will be rather innocent when compared to the exaggerated visual characteristics of the present time – as he also concurs – is his tendency to be an interpreter between the images and the ideas. This is a desire be to included in the visual aspect that can be deciphered without words though it cannot be explained properly when required. This desire holds feelings pertaining to the exaltation of appearances that will always remain silent and to the act of seeing. Ömer resorts to his own body knowledge, the tension created by the desire to see and the tendency to flow into the moment.

The second fundamental issue is completely connected with Ömer’s subjectivity. He constructs his time and his habits of seeing as if to weave an inner web and connection between objects and things when confronted with material he wants to photograph. Consequently, the photograph converts into a document and the document into soul reading. The focused images, the angles, the atmosphere and the postures become organs of the body. According to some people, this stylized structure, alone, can affect the power extended by the photograph. However, knowing that what is depicted on the photographs is part of what Ömer has internalized excites me even more. Perhaps this is the reason that Beyoğlu, which cannot explain the ‘true us’, gets transformed into a dream indicated through Ömer’s intervention.

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