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Monday, February 26, 2007

Who the Heck Is...


Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Baker boy in Urfa, 2004

Short Take: Turkish film director, from Istanbul, who shot an extensive series of panoramic photographs all over Turkey during the past four or five years, mostly while scouting locations for his latest film. The dramatic, beautiful photographs have been exhibited in important venues and have earned extensive and intense praise from both critics and the viewing public. He calls the series "Turkey Cinemascope."

A Taste: "Old City of Ankara, 2004" (below) (and the other two pictures in this post) (click on the pictures to see them bigger).

Critical Voice: "From the first photograph of Nuri Bilge Ceylan that I encountered I thought of Pieter Bruegel. With rising excitement I looked at the next and the next till the spark of recognition became a certainty. I was either faced with a contemporary renaissance master, or Pieter Bruegel was the first traveling photographer of the Northern Renaissance. The eerie landscapes where different scenes are played out simultaneously, forcing the eye to travel ceaselessly around the canvas, the clarity of image and attention to detail, the heart-rending, dramatic skies, the epic scale, the heaving elements of nature. The feverish activity of the people of the earth, the weather-beaten, unshaven figures, muffled in their shapeless, timeless clothes, the ever-present animal kingdom accompanying and complementing man. The biblical spectral cities on the rocks, the snow, the cold, the vast unknown continent suspended in time. The classical ruins overtaken by vegetation and man in a strangely symbiotic (co)existence. The futile and unique position of man in the Universe.

"One of the most outstanding characteristics in both Bruegel's and Ceylan's landscapes is the viewer's perspective. The painter and the photographer choose to describe the scene from above, from the top of a mountain, from a bird's eye view, or the eye of God observing the earth." (Marion Inglessi, Greece, November 2006)

What about his films? We haven't seen one, but his latest—the one he was shooting when he took these pictures—is called Iklimler (in English, Climates) (2006). Also Distant (2002), Clouds of May (1999), The Small Town (1998), and Koza (1995).

Where to see the pictures: A current major showing of the Turkey Cinemascope work, at the National Theatre of London in the South Bank, is about to close, on March 3rd.

Can you buy the pictures? Yes. Varnished 24 x 50" archival inkjet prints are available for €3,000 / US$3,900.

Book: Not yet, but one hopes.

Website. Includes 70 pictures from the series. Highly recommended for a visit.

The Village, 2004


Previous posts in T.O.P.'s "Who the Heck Is...?" series:

Katy Grannan
Cosmin Bumbut
Kim Keever
Camilo José Vergara
Susan Bowen


Blogger Jammy Straub said...

The images on the website are amazing. Thanks for sharring!

His compositions are consistently strong especially for such a challenging format. Me wants a book of his work.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Giorgos K said...

I have seen Mr. Ceylan's pictures during the Thessaloniki's International Film Festival in Greece, where I live. His last film "Climates" was also presented in the festival and although I haven't watched it myself, it had good opinions by the critics.
His showing was held in "Bezesteni" (an old, roofed market), a really nice place in conjunction with his pictures, as it's a old Turkish market. The pictures were really beautiful, mainly because of their panoramic aspect. Landscapes and people were mixed together in a beautiful way and with beautiful light. My only criticism is that the prints looked And I mean too computer manipulated, although this doesn't change the nature of his beautiful work. I hope many people enjoy his work.
Oh, and another remark...Here, the prints' price was 1500 euros, half the price of the UK price. Maybe it's just the fact that Greeks have lower per capita income, or it's just because of the good, old greek-turkish friendship.:)

11:29 AM  
Blogger Dave Sailer said...

For more in the same vein, there is Macduff Everton, another genius among us.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Peterbkk said...

The "who the heck is...." are really good.


1:32 PM  
Blogger Hank said...

Magnificent images! and not just a few the whole body of work is really breathtaking. Thanks for the link.

1:59 PM  
Blogger promenadeur said...

Looking at Ceylans beautful pictures, I remembered having seen an exhibition of the finnish photographer Pentti Sammallahi.
The exhibition took place in France in a hidden galerie in the region Ardèche in the little town Saint Pierreville.
The galerie is an old silk mill, a great place to present ones pictures.
The photos of Ceykan and Sammallathi have the same panoramic format, the dramatic, same concept of landscape.
But maybe that Sammallathi have found more situations with a surprisingly esprit.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Ok I'll be the dork. Do you know what kind of camera he is using?

Shoot me for asking.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Del Bomberger said...

Very, very nice. Does anyone know or can anyone tell from the images, which kind of panoramic camera he might have used?

5:31 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...


((s) not really)


6:10 PM  
Blogger clive said...

Wow, great stuff,thanks for this!
Nice to see some really good panoramic people stuff,something I'm trying to get better at.
Very inspirational.

4:32 AM  
Blogger vikrant said...

The equipment he uses can be quite simple actually.
One possibility is a fish-eye lens on a regular 35mm camera(15mm fisheye on 5D for example) and then corrected in software. After correction, say in DxO, it gives that same panoramic ratio.

5:29 AM  
Blogger vikrant said...

Oh and the pictures are amazing, especially the choice of light, location and atmosphere.
Quite a treat :)

5:52 AM  
Blogger Max said...

The pictures are magical. The whole concept presented of man/nature interaction in the old fashioned way is what I like the most. I always thought of it as the man presence being eroded by nature, as opposed to new, shinny structures. That's were personality lies. The time old struggle, not the present we-have-tamed-and-crippled-the-world- -and-now-we-have-to-save-it concept.

7:08 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have seen Mr Celyan's pictures on exhibit at the National Theatre in London. From a distance, they are spectacular and impressive. The light, complex compositions and the expressions of the people in the portrait images, invite the viewer to give time to study the images carefully.
However I have to agree with "Giorgos K", in that on close inspection, the technical quality of these images leaves a lot to be desired. In answer to the questions about which panoramic camera has been used, my guess(and its only a guess), is that he has used a regular DSLR with a wide-angle or fisheye lens and over-enlarged or over-interpolated the images.
The fact that Mr. Ceylan is a film maker rather than a professional photographer, excuses him a little, although the price tag of the prints was too high for substandard technical quality.
He should have used a medium format digital camera with much higher resolution, or a large format view camera with film....... OR made the prints considerably smaller.
As a collector of photography, I may have even been a purchaser had Mr Ceylan been more concerned about technical quality.
In spite of this, I enjoyed these images a great deal.

11:59 AM  

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