SUZAN PEKTAŞ DEFINE HERSELF ON IG A VISUAL EXPLORER, FROM REALITY TO DREAM. READ MORE.
Describe yourself with a season.
Explain your photography in one word.
Does Turkey influence your work?
Turkey has been a bridge between east and west, home to multiple cultures throughout history. They have had great influence on the region, including the conflicts and turmoil as well as a unique co-existence.
I grew up in the West but always have been interested in the Eastern culture and Turkey offers a unique opportunity to have diversified experiences. I do not define myself with any religion, yet I am exposed to multiple religions, sects and belief systems, if I may say, in Turkey.
This diverse cultural background, with all its political unrest, is very attractive to me. I do not take a purely political viewpoint, neither do I ignore it. I focus on people and socio-politics is unavoidably touched in the themes that I chose such urban transformation, immigration, etc.
Istanbul is a city full of vitality allocated between Western and Oriental world, what’s it like living there?
It’s like living in an atmosphere of melancholy which resides in the ambiguous emotion felt by its residents. Yet, this melancholy binds people together and I enjoy its people as well as the unpredictability of the city. These qualities of the city, inevitably, has a deep effect on my work.
Your pics are charmingly truthful almost in a deep solitude, untouched. How do you create that?
My subject matter is the people and their unseen stories, the characters that are lost in their own inner worlds. I try to link to my subject’s emotional layers, unearth them and explore how deeply they shape us. And, that’s where you touch the untouched, unearth the deep buried solitude. I do this by story-telling. And as for all good story-tellers, I rely on my instincts. Even at my staged works I look for spontaneity. I brief my subjects about the overall mood and let them interpret and execute it, rather than going with preconceived ideas. It is definitely a mutually interactive process as it depends on my subject’s mood and attitude, as much as mine.
How relevant are the self-knowledge and self-esteem?
Self-knowledge and self-esteem is all about conscious awareness of yourself and appreciating your own existence. Only then one can “be”. And only then one can reflect and create.
What is richness for you?
The more one learns and dives deeper into life, into being, the more s/he becomes aware of her/his ignorance. The deeper, the richer. It is a never-ending story, what else can be richer.
Letting your imagination run free and chasing it, totally engaged and obsessed in a state of euphoria.
Which project are you working on?
In one ongoing project, I focus on people of East Anatolia, their relations among themselves and with the environment that manifest their lives strongly. East Anatolia is not only home to archaic settlements and villages spread over a poetic landscape with monumental mountains, but also to people with strong character, endurance, a strong hold on life and joy, yet tired under the heavy burden of local moral codes. I am telling their stories in this series. Another ongoing project is on African community in Istanbul. I take photographs of a young African woman living in Istanbul, accompanying her in different settings in the city, ranging from Sunday masses to boat parties. This allows me to reach an unhidden yet unnoticed urban African culture in Istanbul. It is so amazing that this colorful and joyful community has gone unnoticed for so long.
What are your plans for this New Year?
I have travelled a lot during the last two years, but this year, I plan to stay in more and work on the material I have accumulated. I would like to focus on preparing a book, which I believe will be a unique experience on its own, and participating in exhibitions. I am also building collaborations with other artists and planning some collaborative projects. I would like to reach out more in 2019.