Dialogue list with time codes

TC 00.00.52 : ARA GULER : Hello… let me tell you something sir… everyone calls me the Eye of Istanbul.

TC: 00.00.59 ARA GULER : I look at and observe Istanbul. I search for the picture that you will find meaningful and you can interpret.

TC: 00.01.37 JOSEPH KOUDELKA: I think this is probably best what Ara did. It’s black and white photograph from Istanbul. I think nobody did anything better.

00.01.46 REZA DEGHATİ: Ara is one of the master of our century.

00.01.52 MEHMET BAYHAN:It is impossible to write the history of modern photography without mentioning Ara Güler.


00.01.56 KAMİL FIRAT: There is only one word to describe Ara Güler’s 60 years of adventure in photography. And that is passion.



00.04.01 FATİH ASLAN:This place you see here is Ara Güler’s office and his studio at the same time.

These boxes that you see here contain more than a million negatives.

A treasure in other words. In my opinion a treasure that belongs to the Republic of Turkey.

Sometimes when we open the boxes, even Ara Güler is taken aback and asks, “Did I take these photos?”


00.04.45 ÖMÜR GÜVENÇER: The preparations underway in this room are for Ara Güler’s exhibit. This is the last day and the exhibit will open this evening.



00.04.55 YUSUF TONKUŞ:It is possible to view Ara Güler’s works in catalogues and books. But, viewing his work in a gallery environment allows it to become more alive, more significant and more profound.



00.05.39ARA GULER: / Aaah, and so it is….

Look at Bertrand Russell.


00.06.10 The way you see it now… He drew this with such a pen that the ink takes hours to dry. Now where can I put it? It is going to leak where ever I put it. Do you understand? I suffered a lot because of this photo he gave me as a gift. I had no peace until I got it to the hotel room. You can’t get into a taxi with it; you have to walk all of Paris. 


00.06.43NEZİH TAVLAS: This photo is new. It has been printed for the first time.

00.06 .46 ARA GULER: Really?

00.06.48 NEZİH TAVLAS:Yes, do you remember the moment you took it?

00.06.50 ARA GULER:/Of course I remember. Do I look that stupid?

00.07.09 ARA: I am not actually a landscape photographer. I am a man of living, breathing people; of workers.



00.07.20 DOGAN HIZLAN: All of Istanbul’s visual history is present in his photographs. Oppressed people, labourers. When you look into their faces you can read a story of a class; their oppression, their misery. This is the source of Ara Güler’s strength.

00.07.46 REZA DEGHATİ: I do still remember after 33 years that when I opened the books, the first picture which I saw, three boys and girls, young and on the street, and one of them has a pistol in his mouth. It’s like, it struck me so strongly that I start crying.

00.08.19 BRUNO BARBEY: We could say that photography is the only language in the world  that everybody can understand. You look a picture and you get the message. Ara is one of these photographers who connected to the whole world via his photographs. 


00.08.50 ARA GÜLER: The city I was born in is called Istanbul. The area I was born in is called Taksim. Do you understand? I hail from there. Forget nationalism and whatever else. I am a child of Taksim.


00.09.07 AVEDİS KENDİR: It is our city, town that gave birth to us. Our country, people and our culture. We live in a city that is a cultural treasure trove. There would be no Master Ara, nor me, nor anyone else, if we didn’t live in such a city.



00.09.37 DOGAN HIZLAN: When you are from cosmopolitan Istanbul, religions and race have no meaning or significance. We are denizens of that city, denizens of the world.


00.09.58 ARA GULER: I lived in a neighbourhood that contained all ethnic compositions. Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Turks.

I never even felt that I was Armenian. Not at all.

I was the same as anyone else. I always felt that way. I felt that way right to the end. I still feel the same way.



00.10.26 NEZİH TAVLAS: Mr. Güler was born in 1928 in İstanbul. His mother Miss Verjin was from an Armenian family with Egyptian roots. His father was a very successful pharmacist. Mr. Güler grew up in such a wealthy and cosmopolitan family.



00.10.47ARA GULER: They wanted the pharmacy to survive. Who was it going to be bequeathed to? There was no other child. I would have to become a doctor or a pharmacist or whatever else.

I am living life. It is my life. Money, counting money. Is this life? Is this life?

The meaning of life needs to be discovered.


00.11.22 NEZİH TAVLAS :At the time Ara Güler’s father owned the store that supplied all theatre artists with their makeup requirements. That is why the most prominent theatre artists in Turkey frequented his shop. And this naturally had an impact and reflected on the multiculturalism of Ara Güler.

00.11.44 ARA GULER: I went and studied at drama school. But not to become an actor. It was to be part of theatre.

To discover this visual story.

00.12.03 I feel like a part of the film Cinema Paradiso. That life story is more or less my life story.


00.12.17 For a while I was the projectionist at Yıldız Cinema. I was the guy running the show at the cinema.

It was because of that I had to repeat three years of class in school due to non-attendance. If I hadn’t bunked school and gone to the cinema, I wouldn’t have been able to make so much progress in photography. Because it was cinema that taught me all about setting the stage. All those things that I observed behind the scenes laid the building blocks of my life.

00.12.53 A photograph also has a mise en scène. A photograph also has background. Even if they appear to be like theatrical pieces, they do also exist in real life. All these experiences influenced me, and this influence led me towards photography. We will call this culture. The culture of photography.  If that is lacking, then there is no need to be a photographer. Go and open a grocery store instead.


00.13.47 ARA GULER: Let me take a photo. 

00.13.53 It is not bad.


      1. ARA GULER: Where are you from brother?


00.13.58 FISHERMAN: Originally from Rize.


00.14.02 What did you catch? Scorpion fish?


00.14.04.Scorpion fish.


Scorpion fish, this and that. There is nothing else.


00.14.10 Hold on, let me take a photo of you.


Go on, take a photo of me.



Let me look, look.


Look, look, look.


00.14.32 Oh Emice, Emice.

00.14.35 Thank you. Thank you.


00.14.36 Don’t mention it.




00.14.58 ARA GULER: One day Allah said let there be light. There was light. Ever since that day, the principal element of a photograph was created.


A machine was created and invented that is sensitive to this light. Inventing it does not suffice. What can you add to it? What are you going to find with that light? How valuable will the thing you find be for the history and future of humanity? Finding that is the issue at stake. That is the starting point of a photograph.



00.15.46 FATİH ASLAN:This exhibit is very significant for Mr. Güler. We are choosing from Mr. Güler’s most valuable photographs. I will do the pre-selection and then he will make another selection out of those.


00.16.02 ARA GULER: will choose the same photos as me anyway. Because I have trained him in such a way that except for a photo here and there, we would pick the same ones.


00.16.15 ARA GULER: What will the frame be like? Where will it be positioned? What colour are the walls? You need to think of all these things. If you don’t think of all these details, then go and hang photographs side by side in your home. Right?


00.16.50 MEHMET BAYHAN: Life magazine came into existence in America in 1936 through contributions of photographers who fled the Hitler regime. Other similar magazines sprung up in Europe after that. And for the first time people were presented with such photographical variety about science, art, current events, societies, countries and politics. It was from that point that the occupation of press photographer was created for a generation of photographers. Ara Güler is the example in Turkey of that generation of photographer that we are so proud of. The generation of photographer that was culturally well-versed, knew what they were doing, were looking for social layers and traces as much as any sociologist.

00.17.40 ARA GULER: I started my journalism career at the Yeni İstanbul Newspaper in Istanbul. My first photograph was of the Ticani’s who destroyed Ataturk’s bust in Gümüşsuyu. That was my first news photograph. But if you ask me to show it to you now, I don’t even have a copy because I was a terrible archivist back then.


00.18.17FATİH ASLAN: We are looking at something very important from Ara Güler’s archives. Photos from September 6-7. A ransacked Istanbul back then.  Look at this, all these textiles scattered on the ground.  It was an uprising against our Greek and Armenian citizens. It is actually an act of vandalism.


00.18.42ARA GULER: September 6-7 was both a drama and a comedy. I noticed that something was going on. There was a strange atmosphere. What was it? There were many men and they looked different. I then saw all the shops were being torched. Now one guy comes along with a dress. There is a beautiful topcoat. He wants to take this topcoat. He takes a rock and shatters the window. He puts on a few jackets one of top of the other. He looks huge. He exits the shop with those jackets and leaves.

00.19.25 There is a piano. They are pushing it but it won’t fall down. Why. The leg was stuck and they couldn’t see it. I could see it from below. I said, “the leg is stuck, the leg is stuck.” I said, “don’t throw it just yet, wait.” I prepared my camera. Then I said something like, “go ahead throw it.” They threw it. I took photos of a piano in the air.

00.19.55FATİH ASLAN: I have never seen the piano image that Mr. Ara mentioned. Yes, he mentions it a lot but I have never seen it.

00.20.11ARA GULER: Everything was destroyed except my father’s shop. Why. Since it was a pharmacy and just like a first aid centre, my father was bandaging the hands of the men.

00.20.34HASAN SENYUKSEL: Ara Güler starts publishing the Hayat periodical magazine and includes a poster in each issue. That is how all of Turkey became acquainted with Ara Giles.


00.20.45NEZİH TAVLAS: Life magazine was very popular and widespread in America and our equivalent was Hayat magazine. Ara Güler followed all publications in the world and aspired to take photographs like the ones in those magazines.


00.21.03ARA GULER: A good journalist will make use of everything. He will make use of everything to attain his news. He who cannot do this can’t be a journalist. In any case, someone who is not talented can’t be a journalist.

 00.21.21 At the time there was nothing like a periodical or magazine. We were the first to do it with the Hayat periodical. That was down to me because I was bringing in pictures. Who else ever handed in pictures in the past?

00.21.50 I went to the Cannes festival 11 times. Sophia Lauren removes her shoes at the Carlton Hotel and sits on the bed in her hotel room. I told her the poses were very beautiful and I should take some shots. I took out the roloflex and took four, five shots one after the other and sent them to Turkey. Do you know what happened after that? Billboards on the street. Our reporter Ara Güler enters Sophia Loren’s bedroom.

00.22.32NEZİH TAVLAS:Ara Güler is not confined by boundaries or rules. He always pushed the envelope and was spurred on by his curiosity.


 He had gone to photograph a dam when he discovered Aphrodisias. He was lost.

00.22.56ARA GULER: A face showed through all the bushes. A voice called out to me as I was passing by. “Hey, I am here.” I then gave it a name. “The scream of Aphrodisias.” Because back then we still didn’t know that the place was Aphrodisias. Do you understand? And this scream by Aphrodisias filled my ears. While wandering around there, my ears were filled with a voice saying, “rescue me.” “Enough now, bring me out into the light. I have been buried for 1,000 years now. I want to breathe.”

That was the day I allowed her to breathe. This is that moment.


00.23.50 The French were building a dam and that had to be photographed. I went to Aydın. There were huge rocks and I saw a light. We went there and saw a Roman column. Four of the column bases were made into tables and it had become a coffee shop. They were playing card games there. How can you play card games on the bases of Roman columns?

I asked, “Where is this place?” They said Geyre village. I had never heard of Geyre village in my life. I said there are a bunch of antiques here and they said there are plenty of such things here.

I tried to sleep but couldn’t fall asleep thinking of what existed there. It was like I had found a mine. I got up. All the mongrel kids on the street started tailing me. “Brother come, there are stones here, there are stone there.” They called them stones. A donkey was passing amidst collapsed columns. I didn’t know what I had found but I am somewhere. There was the biggest Hippodrome I had seen in my life. Somebody had planted lettuce in the middle of the Hippodrome. Nobody knew what it is. They themselves didn’t know it was Aphrodisias.

I wrote it down as a story. There was an architectural periodical called the Architectural Review. It is the world’s most influential architectural journal. I contacted them and said I will send you a story. I don’t know what it is but this exists. Its very existence is enough for a journalist.

00.25.30  I was rejoicing in the discovery of something. Nobody found this but I did. There is one man who has seen this and that is me.

00.25.40 NEZİH TAVLAŞ The photos he took for Hayat magazine attracted the attention of international publications and he started providing services to them.


00.26.03 SENA ÇAKIRKAYA: Ara Güler is the first photographer from Turkey who made himself known to international news organisations. His photographs were published in influential magazines such as Life, Time and Stern. This is how he announced himself to the world.

00.26.23 ARA GULER: Do you know the difference between a photographer and a photojournalist? If some event occurs, one of them will flee and save his life, while the other is a journalist who will delve into the event, wonder what happened and inform others about it. We are the latter.

00.26.58 KAMİL FIRAT: Ara Güler came to the attention of Magnum photographers because just like them he focuses on people. They established a friendship in the 1960s and in another sense he became Magnum’s man in Turkey.


00.27.22 SENA ÇAKIRKAYA: Magnum is an initiative that was launched by four photographers in 1947. They were Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, George Roger and David Seymour. Currently Ara Güler has around 600 photographs in the Magnum archives.  

00.27.47 BRUNO BARBEY: The fundemaltal characteristic of a Magnum photographer is: We are independent photographers who are free make our own decision and choices. What is certain is that Magnum has a photography style. Magnum’s photography style to this day is about human interaction.


00.28.07 KAMİL FIRAT: Sincerity is perhaps the most basic concept that brings Magnum and Ara Güler together. People-focused, but also entailing sincere emotions when approaching people.


00.28.30 ARA GULER: Cartier-Bresson can be considered our father. Because from among those photographing people, he is the most important as a photographer. He was the first person to come close to people via a lens. He placed importance on people. There are people who carried on his tradition. We are those people. We are the second generation at Magnum.

00.28.56 BRUNO BARBEY: For me too Ara Güler is one of the great and extraordinary Magnum photographers. For instance in the 1950s during Henri Cartier-Bresson’s first visit to Istanbul, Ara Güler was his closest friend. The same applied for all Magnum photographers who followed. Marc Riboud, Rene Burri, and in the less distant past Joseph Koudelka, Economopoulos… He was like the warden of the temple. The warden of Magnum’s legacy and history in Turkey.

(… )

00.30.09 There is another one there.

Put this one in front of us.

That is Jean Renoir. A very important director.


00.30.34 ARA GULER: This is one of my romantic photographs that I like the most. There are two lovers. This is my imagination, do you understand? They never return to this spot. A boat passes by behind them. Maybe one of the two lovers sitting here is on that boat. Who is going to look for them? No one looks for one another in the 20th century. The world has changed. It is becoming night. Tomorrow will be another day.

00.31.09 NEZİH TAVLAS: Is there sorrow?

00.31.11 ARA GÜLER: Yes, of course. I actually wanted to take a photograph of that sorrow. Sorrow can also be photographed.

00.31.43 NEZİH TAVLAŞ And there is this.

00.31.45 ARA GULER: She is perhaps his wife. He is about to embark on a trip on the Black Sea. The ship is about to depart. Maybe the wife won’t see her husband for a month. A bleak life awaits her. (….)

00.32.10 ARA GULER: There used to be a street in Rumelihisarı in the past. That street no longer exists. They have covered it in tarmac. The breeze that now blows here is a resentful one. A breeze that bears no life… The street is the same but the same lady does not pass by because that lady too has died. This is what was being experienced when this photograph was taken. This is an example of that moment in that life. It doesn’t exist today.

00.32.45 EIKE SCHMITZ: When I came to Istanbul, I came with the image of Ara Güler’s Istanbul. So it’s not just nostalgia; I think it’s the soul of Istanbul. Ara Güler is the consciousness and the memory of Istanbul.


00.33.06 SENA ÇAKIRKAYA: Istanbul underwent such rapid transformations after the 1950s and 1960s that our only records of Istanbul from the period before are Ara Güler’s photographs.



00.33.32 ARA GULER: The things I photographed saved Istanbul from being lost. Let me tell you: nobody would have cared in the first place. No one cares about Istanbul. Everyone is only interested in making money, nothing else.

00.33.56 -The mine workers.

-Ok got it.



-Hang on, proceed in order.


-Leave that, take this.

-What will we call this?



-The children in the cemetery.

-Got that.

-I picked the photos I like. That’s it.

-Ok lets go. We are done here.

-This job is done, ok? Ok.


00.34.39 MEHMET BAYHAN: Ara Güler is someone who understands composition and aesthetics. This is reflected in his photographs. Let’s suppose you want to take photographs of the New Mosque in Eminönü. You will take up position opposite the New Mosque and see the domes and minarets. No, first you will see something else in that type of photograph. There is someone selling corn there; there is a lady passing by here. You see the mosque behind all that. That is when the social layers and topics are arranged in order. Are Güler possesses this type of attribute.


00.35.15ARA GULER: The main feature lies in all this smoke. Look at how these guys look. I deliberately shot him like this, on top of these cans. This smoke… If it wasn’t for the smoke this picture would be worth nothing.

00.35.48 A picture of a landscape is not a photograph. A photograph is not the capturing of a beautiful sunset or the like. When I look at a photograph, I should be able to see what it is telling me, does it have something. That is it. A photograph starts from there.


00.36.16There is the Old Mosque in Edirne. It has an inscription saying Allah. Opposite it there is an inscription saying Muhammed. I saw two women come and stand below the Allah inscription. They unpacked their food baskets and started eating. What more could one want? People were sharing what Allah had provided. Human life will continue.


00.36.49 That photograph comprises nine frames. Only one them matters to me. Because in this frame the woman’s head is positioned below the Allah inscription. The other frames don’t have the same composition.


00.37.09FATİH ASLAN:  When Ara Güler takes a photo somewhere, he makes people forget he is there. He waits for the frame that he has imagined in his mind. He waits like a hunter waiting for his prey. When he is satisfied that he has got the frame he wants, he starts taking photos.

00.37.29ARA GÜLER: The tailor instrument is the sewing machine while the photographer’s instrument is the camera. The camera needs to be a part of you so you can take photos like a tailor sews. Your two pistols will be ready to shoot like a cowboy, so that you are ready to shoot at any time. There is something going on around people at every moment. To be able to capture that moment one needs to be a good musketeer.


00.38.04 SENA ÇAKIRKAYA: The concept of the decisive moment is one strongly emphasized by Cartier-Bresson. He speaks of the practice of being able to be in the right place at the right moment and to take the photograph at that moment. Ara Güler is a photographer that makes expert use of this concept. 


00.38.28 ARA GULER: While walking on the street I realize that some shit will come out of this. Then I wander around and see that a composition is being formed. Two men are approaching each other. A composition is formed. That’s when I click.

I waited an hour and a half for a cat. Just waiting for a cat to pass by. God damn that cat.


00.39.07 NEZİH TAVLAS: Ara Güler knows every person he has photographed. He is familiar with their concerns and their habits. He is a meticulous student who spends an unusual amount of time on this matter. He knows what needs to be reflected about the man or woman that is being put in the frame. Therefore, he can persuade them. The devilishly strange thing is that there is no one whom he cannot convince.



00.39.40ARA GULER: He took his walking stick and like the devil kept on waving it inches from my nose. He kept on doing it and was a centimetre from my nose. Every time he prepared to pose he became a matador. He was duelling and the cane was missing my nose by 5 centimetres each time. He is crazy.


00.40.16 HASAN SENYUKSEL: When a lens focuses on a person, that person freezes and instantly puts on a mask. But Ara Güler waits. Ara Güler will never go somewhere, rapidly take a few shots and be done. He spreads positive energy.



00.40.32 NEZİH TAVLAS:  How long can you wait to get something? How long can a person stay in one place? What are the limits to a person’s patience? It is impossible to enter Picasso’s house. Connections, networking, nothing works. There is no way. It took Ara 3 years to set this interview up. He established connections, networked, bought drinks for some, did other things for others and finally accomplished his goal.



00.41.06 ARA GÜLER: Picasso said, “Since you are taking so many photographs of me, let me draw a portrait of you”. My gosh, this is incredible! The world’s greatest painter Picasso is going to paint my portrait. Bloody hell. I looked for paper but couldn’t find any blank paper. I realised there were books there. I took one and said, “go ahead, draw here”. He started drawing. I had to ensure that drawing was not stolen. So what did I do? I decided to get a taxi and go home. Lock it into as many safes as possible and sit on top of it.



00.41.46 NEZİH TAVLAS: He still argues with himself saying that he wished he could have photographed Sartre.  How great it would have been to photograph Einstein. How can a person not have any other regrets in life?


00.41.57 MELİH BERK: Ara is a big fan of Chaplin. He sleeps at Chaplin’s doorstep for a week. Finally his wife invites him in. He enters, takes out his camera and realises that Chaplin is paralysed. So Ara doesn’t take a picture, he just walks out. This is something no other photojournalist would do.

00.42.30 REZA DEGHATİ: Ara is like big master of photography with independent soul. Independent soul could never really fit any entity or any agency or any philosophy.


00.42.52 ARA GULER: Ara Güler the photographer… Imagine that. I am a historian, son! I record history. I am a historian who uses another script to note down the visual history of people’s lives.  Do you understand? I write the most accurate truth. They can’t. Others add their own thoughts to writings. I have no thoughts to add, the machine captures it.  


00.43.33 ARA GÜLER: I went to different wars four times in my life. It is no laughing matter. These days you call them photojournalists or whatever else. They haven’t heard the sound of a bullet striking.  


00.43.42 War represents the end of the world for a person. To approach the end of one’s life is a terrible feeling. Every bullet that finds its mark is a ticket to the afterlife. The biggest cannibals in the world are those that draw up war plans to steal chrome, copper or whatever else. (…) These people exploit others. They don’t exploit people’s innocence but people’s unawareness. These are the real cannibals.



00.44.59ARA GÜLER: I have always had this passion, this curiosity for traveling. I have always wanted to visit other places. Now as I approach the end of my life, I find that I have travelled to all corners of the world.


00.45.13 This bag has travelled all over the world. It is not just an object. I can’t even recall all the places it has been.

00.45.34 REZA DEGHATİ: He brings western knowledge of photography to the eastern oriantel knowledge of humanity and story.


00.46.11ARA GÜLER: Where am I supposed to go now? The only place left to go is hell.


00.46.28 ARA GÜLER: If I weren’t a photojournalist, I would have liked to become an architect. Do you know why? Because only an architect can add something to this world. Something extra. The world plus one.

00.46.50 This is a book I prepared on Mimar Sinan. I worked on this book for five years.

These are architectural details.

00.47.23 -Don’t you feel something here?

-I do.

-What do you feel?


Forget grandeur. It leaves you alone with Allah. You forget everything. It is just you and Allah. This is what Mimar Sinan’s mosques have. There is a symphony. An Allah symphony.


00.48.19 ARA GÜLER: What was Istanbul in the past? The Eastern Roman Empire.  Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror became the king of the Eastern Roman Empire. The guy comes to the seaside and looks over to the Byzantine capital.  So chains are stretched. Imagine there is only one camera in the world at the time and that is me.


00.49.29 ARA GÜLER: We are such fortunate people because anyone born here inherits 11 civilizations.

00.49.57 ARA GÜLER: There is nothing of importance in life, brother. You are born and you die. The time in between is called life.


00.50.09 SEMRA AKTUNÇ: Ara Güler has structured a single life for himself.  And photography was a major part of that life.


00.50.20 SEMRA AKTUNÇ: Ara Güler has never had children. After his first marriage, Ara Güler met Suna in 1980 and they married in 1984. Ara is really keen on this marriage because he sees that Suna will be a very different and dear partner. And until 2010 when Suna died, they had a beautiful coexistence. They were both friends and man and wife.

00.50.54NEZİH TAVLAŞ: His relation with Suna surpassed that of one with a spouse. They completed one another in a way. She was like a lighthouse for him showing him the way forward.

00.51.15 ARA GÜLER: First of all, Suna always understood whatever I was saying. Her absence has created a big void in my life. More or less like… what do you call that… the big hole in the cosmos. Black hole... Something like that. A void like that has been created in my life.

00.51.46 -This.

-Ok. Ok.

-Barman, move a bit to this side. Ok.

-Do you want something here?

-See now, we have a composition.

-Here is some ice tea.


00.52.11 ARA GÜLER: We are looking for something else in life since we are men of the heart. We look to enjoy life. Others derive no joy. They are interested only in money.


00.52.50 SENER ŞEN: Ara Güler is one of the philosophers of our era. We can see this in his images that have a poetic quality.


00.53.01 MELİH BERK: The inner child that exists in all of us but is suppressed is alive and well in Ara. That is reflected in each photograph of his and in all his actions.

00.53.13 YUNUS TONKUS: Ara is a difficult person but his success and his accomplishments mean that his being difficult is not an issue.


00.53.21NİKOS ECONOMOPOULOS: I feel home with Ara. Funny guy. Makes me laugh, you know, makes me laugh and makes me feel nice.

00.53.28 BRUNO BARBEY: Ara is someone who loves life. He is a bon vivant with a certain charm and joy for life than even overcomes daily problems such as family issues and health concerns


00.54.08YUNUS TONKUŞ: This exhibit is one part of Ara Güler’s vast repertoire. We have aimed to include small pieces from each period as much as possible.


00.54.40 COSKUN ARAL: I launched my first exhibit with Ara. It was called “This is how the world is”…

Yeah, I remembered now. 

The manager of Danish television said he would take the exhibit to Denmark. After that the general manager of Sweden’s television station said he wanted to see this exhibit in Sweden. Then along with Ara we went to Scandinavia and then Germany with “This is how the world is”.


00.55.22 ARA GÜLER: Did you see how appealing I am?


00.55.29 NEZİH TAVLAŞ: Through his photographs of incidents, people and places, Ara Güler succeeds in illustrating what we have lost and what we have gained for the future generations. This is a great legacy.


00.55.52 NEZİH TAVLAŞ: Every frame, moment and memory in this archive should be transferred to future generations without the slightest loss.


I can say that a big team will be required when you consider that Ara Güler’s archive consists of one or two million photos.


00.56.14 KAMİL FIRAT: Archives, particularly photographs, are the main components of a country’s memories. Ara Güler is vital when it comes to explaining Turkey’s history. We need to establish an Ara Güler museum or Ara Güler research centre. These photographs need to be protected and opened to researchers.

00.56.39BRUNO BARBEY: Ara’s work, particularly his work about Istanbul and Turkey, is a part of the country’s national heritage. I can say that if Ara was Japanese, he would be accepted as a living legend there. Why? Because due to his inimitable style and extraordinary attention to detail he photographed many aspects of Istanbul in the 1950s and 1960s that are now lost. This is priceless. It represents a part of history


00.57.11 ARA GÜLER: That is not my archive. That is Turkey’s archive. Nobody has the right to destroy it. Understand? Archives can’t be destroyed.



00.57.38 ARA GÜLER: All this time has passed. I have taken all these photos. Maybe a million photos. I found a million things for the world and for you. But there are so many things that I haven’t found. How and when I will find them is unclear. I haven’t shot my last snap and don’t know when that will be. Perhaps when I shoot my last snap, the world will have gone to the dogs. I will not utter one more word…..CUT


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