ISTANBUL - TUrkish Daily News
A new exhibition at the Istanbul Modern features work by 33 young photographers using the 2,500-year-old camera obscura principle. The exhibition, Pinhole Photographs, runs until August 24 and is comprised of 67 pictures telling the story of how a group of young individuals started their adventures with photography.
Unable to provide the necessary equipment for students participating in a photography workshop at Adasokağı High School in Adana, teacher Nuri Gürdil solved this problem by offering the most primitive photography equipment. By using the pinhole technique, based on the principles of camera obscura, students created photography devices from punctured cans and other objects. They were involved in the whole photographing process, including not only taking pictures of Adana's cultural heritage, but also developing films and printing. The idea spread to other schools, so the exhibition thus features photos not only from Adana, but also from Mersin and Hatay.
Gürdil's aim was to create a special sense of awareness of the cultural heritage of the city, which the teacher hoped would enrich Adana's process of urbanization. For this reason, the people in the pictures seem to complement the whole composition, instead of simply filling in the foreground. However, the Pinhole Photographs exhibition was not designed to support any social project. The images displayed at the Istanbul Modern are characterized by high aesthetic value and refer to an important moment in the history of photography. Istanbul Modern curator, Engin Özendes, came across the works of the young photographers during the International Photograph Days in Cyprus in 2007. He said the photographs impressed him in terms of expression and the use of light, so he was very surprised to meet such young artists presenting mature approach towards art. �The perfection of the photographs rivals the level of awareness that these students have," Özendes added.
The most difficult part of photographing with the pinhole technique is the creation of the picture's composition. The students, however, demonstrated a very skillful use of light and their own imaginations, proving that great pictures do not require expensive equipment. Camera obscura is currently used by a number of leading world photographers who prefer to present their own ideas in a simple way rather than to support them with advanced technology. In the pinhole technique the lens of a traditional camera is replaced by a pinhole, not wider than one millimeter in diameter. Passing through this aperture, light creates an image on the light-sensitive surface installed inside the dark, lightproof box. For this reason, the lines in pinhole photographs are much softer than those captured with a traditional camera.
The exhibition also features the pinhole devices used by young photographers to capture images. Presented examples include cameras made out of an adhesive-tape box, a fragrance box and a round halva box with a "ball-head" tripod, supporting both 6x6 and 6x9 film formats. The exposition contains black and white as well as sepia photographs.
The Istanbul Modern is open Tuesday to Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; closed Mondays. Free admission Thursdays.
Meclis-i Mebusan Cad., Liman İşletmeleri Sahası, Antrepo no:4