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Bahadir Aksan: "If you are misled & the only aim is to become the winner, you may easily miss the main beauty of preparing a photo book; the excitement, energy & joy it brought to you to achieve a dummy that satisfies & reflects you totally" | The Kitab
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Bahadir Aksan: “If you are misled & the only aim is to become the winner, you may easily miss the main beauty of preparing a photo book; the excitement, energy & joy it brought to you to achieve a dummy that satisfies & reflects you totally”

KT: How did you get into photography? When was your first encounter with photography?

BA: My wife was very eager to learn the basic principles of how our camera works, how we could take better photos etc.. So, she found a 3 month course programme in AFSAD (Ankara Photograph Artists’ Association) in our hometown and luckily very close to our neighbourhood and we started to attend the courses which continued after this 3 months’ period. The funny thing is, after some time she lost her interest and I continued alone.

Coming back to your question about my first encounter with photography; in my childhood before university, even before college may be, a camera is something like an inaccessible and untouchable object where fathers had the only right to take the pictures and after one or two shots, the camera was encased carefully. I can clearly remember those days, after returning back from a journey, how we excitedly wait for the photofinishing of the slides which were sent to Agfa or Kodak (Germany). It took us a month or so to receive the processed slides and all this operation seemed to be a more or less holy thing from the eyes of a child.

 

KT: You published a poetic photobook called ‘Daffodil’ which is considered as the flower of death by ancient Romans, Greeks and Egyptians. Why did you decide to make a book project? What do you like about photography in a book format?

BA: First of all, I would like to thank for your kindness by describing my book as poetic. Just to make everything clear, it is still in a dummy format and will be published in January 2019 with the great supports of Kaunas Photography Gallery, KOPA Printing House and Antalis LT & Antalis LV.

Like many other projects of mine, I have always the intention to make books, mainly for two reasons: first one, I believe that a book is the best and the most permanent way of achieving to show and share your photos and secondly, I love touching something physically real; like a print, like a page or cover of a book rather than seeing them on my computer’s screen.

 

KT: As mentioned in your book, cemetery daffodils symbolize grace, beauty, deep regard, mortality, the death of youth, new beginnings and unrequited love. Why did you name your book as ‘Daffodil’? As a young book-maker, what were the difficulties you faced in the execution of this book?

BA: As referenced in your question, and especially “Daffodil”s particular meaning of the death of youth by the ancient Romans and Greeks where I share the same land now affected me a lot to choose this name. Also, its main subject which can simply be described as the behaviour and state of being elder, is also not something very far away from me (by the way, I really appreciate and am thankful for your portraying me as a young book-maker as I am in my mid 50’s); and besides I lived with my mother and father very closely for a long time and now living with my mother-in-law and moreover even I can feel that status with my dog and my cat. It is a situation of the soul; cannot be considered as bad or good, but has components like loneliness, emptiness, confusion, still some happiness, the commitment of life and much of melancholy. Also, I am at the beginning of this period in my life as well, so to empathize is not too difficult for me.

Coming back to the second part of your question, the most difficult part is to choose the proper photos, because I am not a very project-oriented photographer. I simply go out and take some photos without focusing on a particular subject so, without limiting myself. It’s something that can be correlated with life. To plan it is mostly useless. So, I take photos and archive them. After some time, when I start to look over and over, I can find what my points of interest, problems and concerns are at that specific period of time. Then, when you find out the main subject of interest, you have to choose the photos in a sequence so that they can tell a story. It’s always the most difficult part for me. And, in this project, with the help of my friend Mr Oğuz Karakütük (from Ka Atölye) who is also the initial designer of this book, both this part and the rest of production stage went very smoothly.

First of all, I would like to thank your compliment and hope that it reflects reality. I think the development of digital technology helped a lot. An increasing number of cameras and even smartphones resulted in more people to take more pictures. Everybody who has something to say with their photos can produce much more easily than before without waiting for the development of the film, can adjust the settings of white balance, aperture, exposure etc.. So, the first thing is the increase in production. But, at the same time, people started to feel that the images on the screen are not enough and satisfactory for them. Instead, they reinvent the beauty of touching a photograph, keeping it hanged on her/his apartment’s wall, to look it over and over, digesting it rather than easily consuming it.

 

KT: Your book was awarded as the winner of the Self Publish Riga 2018 selected over 100 dummies from 26 countries of the world. What are your views on various photobook awards these days? How does it help a book-maker like yourself?

BA: Yes, I am thankful for the jury and honoured to be granted as the winner of the Self Publish Riga 2018 selected over many dummies which were very powerful and valuable.

Of course, being awarded as the winner is a great thing and in this way, your book can be printed, distributed and much better known if you would do those with your own potential as an unknown book-maker. But sometimes, if you are misled and the only aim is to become the winner, you may easily miss the main beauty of preparing a photo book; the excitement, energy and joy it brought to you to achieve a dummy that satisfies and reflects you totally.

 

KT: What do you wish to achieve with your photography in the end?

BA: As I am not a professional photographer, my aim is not to achieve something with my photography but to achieve to be able to continue taking photographs, hopefully always with the same excitement as now.

Very recently, I watched a Turkish movie called “Champion”, about a horse, a jockey and the lady who is the owner of the horse, based on a true story. There, the jockey, when describing the horse which won several races and very well known in Turkey even to the people who are not interested in open horse racing, said that “He likes running and we will continue to run as long as he wants, whether we won or not is not the main issue”.

 

Photos©Bahadir Aksan

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