Yıldız Moran: A Mountain Tale


November 24, 2018 – May 19, 2019

In the exhibition “Yıldız Moran: A Mountain Tale”, Istanbul Modern Photography Gallery presents the works of Yıldız Moran (1932-1995), Turkey’s first academically trained woman photographer. Moran, who was active in the 1950s, is one of the most important photographers to have emerged from Turkey. The artist dedicated 12 years of her life to photography, from 1950 to 1962, and greatly contributed to the photographic approach of generations that followed her.

In her photographs of Anatolia in particular, Yıldız Moran carved a unique area for herself by interweaving love of humanity, artistic sensitivity, and photographic intuition. This impressionistic aesthetic laced with lyricism is the most important feature of Moran’s photographs, in which she careful merged the people she photographed with the land they inhabited. Encompassing not only the approach to photography of her period but also the new artistic views of our age, the artist anticipated the photographic perception of our time years before it took shape. Today, her photographs attract the attention not just of the photography experts but also of art enthusiasts in Turkey and worldwide.

Curated by Merih Akoğul, the exhibition “Yıldız Moran: A Mountain Tale” brings together 86 black and white photographs taken over the course of 12 years on a variety of subjects, including nature, abstraction,  portraits, everyday life, Anatolia, Istanbul, and places abroad. Some of these photographs are seeing the light of day for the first time. The number of photographs featured in the exhibition also serves as an homage to the artist, who would have been 86 years old today if she were alive. Merih Akoğul describes the importance of Yıldız Moran for photography in Turkey as follows:

“Yıldız Moran is like a majestic mountain in the history of Turkish Photography covering the Republican Period. In order to appreciate her sublimity and truly comprehend the scope of her merits, one needs to look closely at her life and her works. Moran’s photographs have the power to transport the onlookers into the magical atmosphere of a mountain tale. The mountain is a geographical formation, which people watch in awe, on whose summit they desire to stand, and behind which they believe they can safely hide. And just like all other objects in the universe, the mountain chooses to show one of its many faces according to the intention of its onlookers. Yıldız Moran’s photographs are admired by photography enthusiasts who have been looking at them with interest and curiosity from the time they were taken to the present. Turkish Photographic Art owes Moran a great debt of gratitude for teaching its practitioners an alternative language imbued with a profound love for humanity.”


Curator: Merih Akoğul



Yıldız Moran, Self-Portrait, 1955


Yıldız Moran, Cappadocia, 1955

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