Photography, which is the most striking invention of modern times, is an object that makes people furious and amazed, and creates opportunities to think once again and from the beginning. It is a kind of a mirror; a reflection of truth; the strongest document of a testimony; the photographer’s catharsis; the most wonderful question asked to life…
Photography, or in other words, the most convincing evidence of the greatest lies, is the thick wall between human perception and the reality of life; the cheapest lie that the photographer tells himself; a great ocean which has lost its profundity …
The story of photography, which started in these lands right after its invention, is not very exhilarating but still a long one. It would not be a lie to state that until now the photographers in this country has reached everywhere, knocked all the doors, and entered every environment. However, it is also difficult to find a qualified photograph, and very rare to come across a visual work which properly examines the subject that it focuses on, and conveys it with its different aspects.
If the adventure of photography is not the consequence of a big misunderstanding, it unfortunately suffers from being the manifestation of an enormous lie.
The question about to what extent the dream land which is created by the eyes of the photographers in Turkey corresponds to the reality of Turkey, stands in front of everybody as a completely conscientious issue. The common understanding which assumes that the duty of the photographer and photography in this life is to keep on producing aesthetic images of reality should be the embodiment of the misunderstanding that I mention above. By this means, an environment which is suitable for the development of a boring “artistic” atmosphere and shallow admirations emerges.
While telling the story of his short life on this planet, the species called human being expresses what he sees, but his awareness about what he loses sight of is equally essential. Thus, the photographers happen to be the most unfortunate species because all the photographs that they take throughout their life times are nothing than the stories of their lives. Nobody can hold responsible a photographer who says “I have seen these” from the things that he sees but does not show. However, the photographers who make the best of life with images that leave traces in history and who manage to participate in the period of change, are the people who become aware of neglected things and the ones that are made invisible in the public sphere. In a sense, they are the people who stay away from clichés, who chase questions rather than answers, and who make photography the tool of an attempt of comprehension …
Kars is a border city in every sense; geographically, politically, historically, culturally and socially. From the perspective of an orientalist mentality and aesthetics, Kars is located on one side of this border, and the overlooked Kars is on the other side. For the photographer, the situation is undoubtedly not limited with seeing; representation is another issue of responsibility.
Until today, Kars has taken its share from the orientalist clichés that the country photographers skillfully displayed in our geography. On the other hand, the photographs which are taken with an official tourism employee’s sense of duty, and the images that are continuously repeated with the aim of creating works of art left Turkey’s photograph and the photographer in a futile attempt.
The city of Kars to which Kadir went several times and took photographs between 2007 and 2009, is a big world. The photographs in this album can be accepted as the first step taken to be included in that world and to penetrate into the depths of the city.
The first step that a photographer who follows a light takes is to ask why that light is distant to him. That is why I regard these photographs as the question itself rather than an answer about Kars:
Why some lights are distant to us?
1.1.2010 / Istanbul