People Attract People

Istanbul Modern presents the adventure of humanity in photography of Turkey from Othmar Pferschy to today

Istanbul Modern hosts the photography exhibition “People Attract People,” curated by Merih Akoğul. Focusing on photographs of people by 80 photographers shot over a period of 80 years, the exhibition will be on display between June 2-December 18, 2016.

Istanbul Modern continues to exhibit important examples of photography in Turkey from its beginning until our day. A selection of the Istanbul Modern Photography Collection, further enriched by newly acquired photographs, is presented in the exhibition “People Attract People.”

Othmar Pferschy was one of the leading exponents of documentary photography in the Republican era who introduced the developing and revitalized face of young Turkey to the world. Featuring photographs of people taken from the time of Othmar Pferschy to the present, the exhibition will be on display between June 2-December 18, 2016.

Curated by photographic artist Merih Akoğul from the Istanbul Modern Photography Advisory Board, the exhibition offers art lovers the opportunity to explore human portraits while following the techniques, interpretations, and socioeconomic conditions that developed and changed over the course of 80 years. The exhibition covers a wide spectrum of photographers and their unique perspectives, from impressionism and expressionism to the documentary and the artistic, and from the Anatolian backdrop to contemporary portraits produced using the more advanced techniques of studio photography. “People Attract People” also presents to viewers a summary of the general feeling imparted by photographs with people in them.


A journey back in time

Chair of the Board of Istanbul Modern Oya Eczacıbaşı expressed her delight at how the number of works in the Istanbul Modern Photography Collection, initiated 12 years ago with 312 photographs, had now reached 8 thousand. Emphasizing on how the exhibition “People Attract People” was like a journey through time, Eczacıbaşı added that the exhibition “features photographs reflecting different periods, contexts, and perspectives, and harmoniously juxtaposes a snapshot taken 80 years ago with one from three years ago. On its journey through time, the exhibition shows us both interior studio and outdoor scenes focused on people that are fictionalized from a variety of perspectives and methods.”


“The photographer captures energy”

The curator of the exhibition Merih Akoğul, who closely follows the history of photography in Turkey, stated that “People Attract People” provides the opportunity to observe how a kind of sublanguage is formed in photographs. Akoğul commented: “People radiate energy and photographers capture this energy. Beyond simply taking pictures, photography requires seeing the energy radiated by people and reflecting that energy. While the exhibition sheds light on different periods, it also presents, in a harmonious and integrated manner, snapshots taken through the eyes of artists, journalists, and academics.”


80 years, 80 photographers

“People Attract People” was put together from photographs taken by 80 photographers from Turkey over a period of 80 years. Also reflecting the history of photography in Turkey, some of the photographs in the exhibition are striking images developed from the recording of moments in back streets while others are photographs taken on the basis of an idea. A unity is formed by juxtaposing photographs of people produced in different contexts, taken either in the studio or outdoors, from diverse perspectives and using different methods. Whether Anatolian towns or big cities, vast landscapes or studios of a few square meters; even though the backgrounds differ, they all reflect the photographer’s relationship with people and life.


The past of photography in Turkey

Photography in Turkey from the Ottoman to the Republican era gained prominence first through landscapes and social subjects illustrating daily life due to the presence of travelers from Europe, and later through portrait photography due to the impact of photography studios that opened in the district of Pera. Vedat Nedim Tör, head of the General Directorate of the Press, chose Othmar Pferschy’s photographs to promote Turkey. The use of Pferschy’s meticulously taken photographs in books, magazines, banknotes, and stamps laid the foundations of a tradition that has virtually continued into our day. The subsequent photography personnel in particular would take the precision and meticulousness of these photographs as a model. In landscape photography, at first photographers were inclined toward Turkey’s natural and historical fabric, and later toward the daily life of the newly developing big cities, primarily Istanbul. Continuing the story of photography in Turkey, this was followed predominantly by an interest in capturing the moments in the lives of rural people. Thus, while photography fulfilled its sociological function and successfully recorded every situation and change that was occurring, it chose human life as its primary subject, reflecting it principally through portraits.



Özcan Ağaoğlu, Cengiz Akduman, Yasin Akgül, Ersin Alok, Abdurrahman Antakyalı, Arif Aşçı, Kemal Aydoğan, Tahsin Aydoğmuş, Mehmet Baltacı, Şinasi Barutçu, Emre Başak, Kürşat Bayhan, Sökmen Baykara, Ozan Bilgiseren, Oğuz Nusret Bilik, İhya Bozkurt, Atila Cangır, Ergun Çağatay, Nevzat Çakır, İsa Çelik, Manuel Çıtak, Gültekin Çizgen, Haluk Çobanoğlu, Yusuf Darıyerli, Mehmet Demirci, Mehmet Naci Demirkol, Çetin Ergand-Süreyya Yılmaz Dernek, Murat Dikmen, Saygun Dura, Şakir Eczacıbaşı, Ahmet Elhan, Cemal Emden, Selçuk Emden, Nurettin Erkılıç, Rıza Ezer, Baha Gelenbevi, Ahmet Öner Gezgin, Selahattin Giz, Ara Güler, Şemsi Güner, Selim Güneş, Abdullah Hekimhan, Zeki Faik İzer, Yılmaz Kaini, Sabit Kalfagil, Mustafa Kapkın, Cengiz Karlıova, Şahin Kaygun, Gündüz Kayra, İzzet Keribar, Mehmet Kısmet, Haluk Konyalı, A. Halim Kulaksız, Yıldız Moran, Sebla Selin Ok, Ömer Orhun, Fikret Otyam, Bülent Özgören, Tahir Özgür, Emin Özmen, Othmar Pferschy, Fethi Sabunsoy, Ozan Sağdıç, Özkan Samioğlu, Ahmet Sel, Selahattin Sevi, Hikmet Tanılkan, Etem Tem, Atilla Torunoğlu, Süreyya Yılmaz Dernek-Ergün Turan, Cem Turgay, Yusuf Tuvi, Cafer T. Türkmen, Tuna Uysal, Tahir Ün, Hakan Yaşar, Orhan Yayla, Tamer Yılmaz, İbrahim Zaman


For info:

Begüm Güven / İstanbul Modern / 0212-334 73 81 /