I found film photography images of 27-year-old Murat Erman Aksoy and liked them for their tonal range and youthful exuberance. Erman was born in Berlin where he lives and works as an architect. He’s pursuing film photography purely as a hobby and enjoys taking pictures of interesting things he comes across. Images featured here belong to his Morocco and Turkey travels. I asked Erman a few basic questions about his photography and he gladly responded as below:
Please tell us about yourself and your relationship with photography. Do you have some education or any degree in photography?
I’m a 27 year old architect of Turkish descent, born and raised in Berlin. I’m (un)fortunately very much obsessed with film photography. It sometimes keeps me up till 4 AM in the morning! I have the same classic boring story as 90% of photographers have how they came in contact with film photography, or photography in general. I found my father’s analog SLR in his drawer when I was 16. Since then I have an autodidactic approach to photography.
What does photography mean to you and how do you view your evolution as a photographer? Also tell me why there’s a small body of work available in your website. Are you very selective with your shooting or exhibiting?
Photography is definitely an evolutionary process. I can say that, at the stage I’m in I know, I just love mystery in a photo, revealing and obscuring things, leaving them out of the frame, leaving the viewer back with a question and an impulse for his own imagination. Since I’m an architect, I like to keep my photos clean with clear composition & symmetry, which I often find really pathetic. I want to free myself from strict composition, allowing more complex and experimental constellations.
Most of the times I’m shooting really spontaneously, which often results in single images. Putting them in context and creating a body of work is a whole other process and mostly takes some time to achieve, which is why there is not a huge amount of sets on my website. Nevertheless, there is a lot of single work on my Tumblr.
I don’t like to think about ideas and projects in advance. I just take my camera anywhere with me and if something seems interesting or striking to me the ‘project’ is born. It’s a very direct and instant process. I just try to keep my life interesting, which will result in interesting photos.
Many photos in your website have a lot of youthful air and substance. Is it sort of life-logging? What are the other genres or themes that you like to shoot or would like to shoot in future?
I guess because I’m aware that life is really transient I try to capture the moment a lot of the time. It’s not only photography, I make lists of a lot of things, collect stuff like cinema tickets, stuff that has a special meaning or one that reminds me of a special moments or people in my life.
Almost none of my work is carefully planned. Authenticity plays a big role in my photography. Basically I take my camera anywhere with me and shoot whenever something strikes me in any kind of way.
Do you believe you’ve found your style or signature? What elements of a place or an environment influence you most?
Personally I don’t believe in ‘finding a style’ and think of it as a pretty boring concept. For me that’s a marketing scheme for better sale of your work. Photography, as life itself, should be constantly evolving, never be static, documenting the process of your own and your view on the world. More important for me is to develop a certain attitude towards photography and my subjects.
I tried digital, but I neither liked the process of taking photos nor the photos themselves. I’m just thankful that we still have the possibility to choose between digital and analog (although the selection gets more and more difficult). Mystery and film go hand in hand. There is grain, fabric and soul. There is no one true single photo, only prints of a negative, which can look different from print to print. This range of possibility is the true mystery of film.
Digital on the other hand is represented by a clear set of numbers… it has originally in fact no material and only exists as information. Even if people are not conscious about these things, they just notice that there is something which goes beyond on film.
I think sometimes that a lot of meaningless photography gets way too much media coverage only because it is perceived as pleasing to the eye. A lot of the times there is no character, no attitude, only naked people in the woods and that kind of photography gets copied a lot on top. There is still lots of good photography going on if you spend some time on original photographers’ Tumblrs and Flickrs where you can still find some authentic interesting work, you just have to look for it yourself.
Do you ever think about (self)publishing your photobooks or zines, like many photographers nowadays are doing?
I have ‘selfpublished’ a book called ‘GOD is great!!!’ in which I put my photography in context with verses from the Holy Quran, which was kind of an experiment. It will be available for sale in the beginning of next year.
I will start to work as an architect and will try to keep my hobby as a photographer alive. The next step for me would be to have a solo-exhibition, which I will try to organize next year. Monetization of my work means little to me as my main job is not photography. Therefore I can concentrate on things that really interest me instead of taking photos of weddings. I’m more interested in opportunities my work could get me than the money.
Something to say to our readers (or say something completely random):
Don’t forget to be nice to each other.