Impressions of the 7th
Photography Competition and
In memory of Öztan Özatay
The exhibition on February 10, 2015 at the Atatürk Cultural Centre – a great success.
When I walked along the rows of beautiful and interesting photos chosen by the jury – 107 by 52 participants out of 1909 photos by 112 and finally exhibited in the hall of the Atatürk Cultural Centre, and saw the many people that came after me admiring them, I wondered if they all knew how much time, patience and experience lay behind the works.
Incredible the amount of photos the jury members Ozan Bilgiseren, Sinan Çakmak and Ismail Gökçe had to select from, I am sure it must not have been an easy task. There are the criteria of technique, theme and the artistic approach to be considered.
Thinking back to photographic competitions and subsequent exhibitions some years ago organised by various photo associations such as Foder, Kifsad and others – now also Girne has its own association Gifder – the Özatay Photo Competition has now had the 7th event, and if we look at the State photo competitions, they are in their 24th event; they will conclude their competition with the exhibition in the Rauf Denktaş Cultural Centre in Famagusta for this year, and not to forget the competition which has just been announced by the Lefkoşa Municipality (see my website) to focus on the Old City. The interest in photography has increased enormously, has been institutionalised worldwide. However, to obtain recognition from the various institutions is not easy at all and requires a lot of work, also intensive participation in competitions, as I have seen with Buket Özatay and other artists who are thus recognised by important photographers institutions.
But enough of talking about the theoretical side of photography and I return to my question: do we normal citizens really know what energy is behind the photographs we have seen at the Özatay Photo Exhibition. There are some ‘Old Hands’, photographers whose works I have seen in many exhibitions over the years but also some newcomers whose names I have heard for the first time. I have interviewed many of the old big names, for example Lisani Otağ who was given the Öztan Özatay Achievement Award; he is orchestrating his photos, for him photography is a stage, he is telling a story of which he is the director. There is Emel Sefer who arranges her photos like a painting by an old master; others of the winning team point out the absurdity of life. There are the instantaneous photos after many hours of waiting for a special light situation. Nejat Şik, for example who has been chosen for exhibition with his two nature works, sits patiently for many hours under any conditions with his camera ready to catch a very special moment, his wife told me. For some others even the wind plays a role in the scenery, I am informed, and you have to be alert throughout the night to catch the richness of a Mediterranean night sky. The landscape in old people’s faces is a favourite theme just as the Cypriot folk traditions, I especially love to see. Many photographers have come to discover the world of insects which requires a great amount of patience and knowledge and one feels transported into a different world.
It proves again that we pass so many situations in our surroundings unnoticed because we don’t take the time it requires to discover the beauty and richness. Such competitions and showings of the results have an educational effect, it represents an invitation and challenge to look closer, direct our eye, or the camera’s eye, onto the small things in life. I am sure many of the visitors have gone home with the idea to follow the invitation.
The awards were given to: Lisani Otağ, Faik Iraz (2 awards), Emel Sefer, Inanç Tekgüç, Gülçan Arkoy, Altuğ Galipö, Özgür Gökaşan, Hasan Bağlar (2 awards), Gökhan Saymaz, Tevfik Ulal.
A thank you to the Öztan Özatay Foundation for organising the event. Part of the participation fees were given to the Kemal Saraçoğlu Cancer Foundation; and the sponsors of the event were the TRNC Ministry of Economy, Tourism, Culture and Sports; Gönyeli Municipality, Denktaş Foundation, Turkish Iş Bank, Alpet Petrol, Derya Boutique, Nicosia Municipality.
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