Melike Koçak’s digital dreams

New Turkish Photography

By Monica Fritz | May 10, 2022


Twenty-five year old Melike Kocak, a philosophy graduate and Francophile, has decided to dedicate her life to photography. She is part of a new wave of young Istanbul photographers and her work has already been widely exhibited. She has been selected for Artpil's 30 Under 30 Women Photographers in 2022 and has just been accepted to Kadir Has's Master Program in Design/Art. Her work is profound and advanced for her age. The spiritual and intellectual depth in Japanese photography is one of her main sources of inspiration. 

Kocak spoke of one of her recent projects,
‘When sleeping, we live through an incredible world of desire and then we wake up and just go to work as though nothing had happened. It's a major disconnection. I wanted to create my own bonds with my own dreams without reading Freud or going to a fortune teller. I wanted to focus on the aesthetic and the nature of dreams, using my memory and imagination. I wondered how to do that and I felt photography could be the best tool.'

'Photography enables you to think about things that are extracted from linear space and time. The Japanese photographers understood this power of photography.'

I am more interested in the experience than the narrative.

Kocak continues, 'The philosopher Walter Benjamin believed the halo created in19 century photographic portraiture from long exposures was actually the soul of the subject. I agree with this.

The stillness of a photographic image forces you to understand it and it makes you more conscious of the dream. It stops you from turning it into a narrative and allows you to feel it as it was. I'm reading a lot of Gaston Bachelard, he is obsessed with natural elements and imagery of substance. I really like him and Carl Jung.'

Kocak outlined for me the new artistic movements in Turkish photography or as she corrected it to 'moments' in Turkish photography dividing them into three categories, the first being  'Documentary photography with a contemporary vision' or 'creative storytelling.' The issues documented in the photos are ones that affect the photographer personally. There is an intentional consciousness in this regard. Some of these photographers, Cansu Yildiran, https://cansuyildiran.com and Ogulcan Arslan, https://www.ogulcanarslan.com were given as examples.

Oğulcan Arslan 2022

The second movement Kocak considered the most interesting 'socially speaking'. It's an ironic view of Turkish culture, its street life, the people and a humorous perspective of Turkish aesthetics. 'it's a very strong movement'. Some examples are Erdem Varol http://www.erdemvarol.com, who is in the spotlight now and has a distinct use of color and Batuhan Keskiner http://www.batuhankeskiner.com and CiDemi https://cidemi.com CiDemi's work is very interesting, he has a unique series of stories through photos. He's been very sought after by the foreign art press lately and did an interview on TRT a few days ago. 

CiDemi's I won't be upset if you forget me. 2019

The third movment according to Kocak is completely different from the others.  It's conceptual portraiture and abstract images, for example they can be darkroom experiments or collages.Two photographers that could fall into this catagory in Turkey could be Umut Erbaş https://umutterbass.com and the Turkish born Iranian Sayna Soleimanpour https://www.instagram.com/saynarte/?hl=en.

Sayna Soleimanpour

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