In the world of digital cameras and countless exposures, Alexander Berg proves that just as every person is equally important, also every photograph matters. A collection of his one-off portraits, depicting life in Istanbul as a series of unique moments, can be viewed in the Taksim subway station and selected GAP stores until Oct. 25
It’s been quite a long time since Swedish photographer Alexander Berg came to Turkey to capture the unique moments of the lives of Istanbullus. Those who had a chance to meet him at the studio on Istiklal Avenue in January, have been waiting impatiently for the outcome of the project, which is currently displayed at the Taksim metro station, as well as in selected GAP stores around Istanbul. Just like the photo session was open to anyone, also its results aim to reach as wide of an audience as possible, which justifies its presence in one of the busiest points of the city.
“The idea of ‘One Shot Istanbul’ doesn’t really require a special space for the exhibition,” Çiğdem Göymen from Contemporary Istanbul, which brought the project to Turkey, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review, adding that unavailability of Istanbul’s optimal gallery spaces until September of next year caused the need to search for alternatives.
“People come to the art gallery to see the slideshow, while in the underground tunnel they become part of it the moment they step on the moving walkway,” Alexander Berg said. The “One Shot” project began in New York, but Istanbul is the first city where the exhibition space is not just open to the public, but is in an open public space. The first show took place at the DKNY store on New York’s Madison Avenue, while “One Shot Beijing” was presented at the Dangdai International Arts Festival.
Between the East and the West
“One Shot Istanbul” is a part of a trilogy, presenting intimate portraits of the world’s citizens, where New York symbolizes the West, Beijing stands for the East and Istanbul is the place where those two parts meet. The idea behind the project was to capture with a large-format camera, which is a more demanding photographer’s work tool, only one single frame per subject. The unique selection of images forms a one-of-a-kind collective portrait of the city. In contradiction to references describing Istanbul as a whole, Berg takes a closer look at those who make the city alive: its inhabitants.
“Before taking a photo, I ask people where they come from, what part of life they’re in, what they want to show and how they would title the portrait,” Alexander Berg told the Daily News, “Sometimes the interview takes 10 minutes, sometimes more. It all depends on a person.” The artist said some people come to the studio with ready ideas, while others prefer to be guided. “Among the three cities, New York is the place where people take the most initiative,” he said, adding that in Istanbul, the situation varies from person to person.
The exhibition, presented parallel to the 11th International Istanbul Biennial, wasn’t originally meant to become a part of the organization; however, it seems to fit perfectly into this year’s theme. In the times when generalizations cannot be avoided and people as a whole remain anonymous, Berg with his photos helps to find answers to the most important questions of the individuals, not the masses.
“One Shot Istanbul” will remain on display at Taksim subway station until Oct. 25 and can be visited daily within the subway operating hours. Selected photographs are also presented at GAP stores located in Istinye Park shopping center and on Bagdat Avenue on the Asian side of Istanbul.http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com