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People Attract People

The Adventure of Humanity in the Photography of Turkey

June 2, 2016 – December 18, 2016

Istanbul Modern, Meclis-i Mebusan Caddesi, Antrepo No. 4, Tophane, Istanbul


This photography exhibition, drawing from Istanbul Modern’s rich photography collection, displays the work of 80 photographers from Turkey, including Othmar Pferschy, whose entire archive was bequeathed to the museum. The images focus on people and their lives, and were shot over a period of 80 years.

The history of photography in Turkey from the Ottoman to the Republican era was shaped first by European travellers who were mainly interested in the landscape and the daily life of the country, and then, under the influence of the photography studios opening in the Pera district, by portrait photography. Some were drawn to the nature and historical texture of Turkey, and others investigated daily life in the developing big cities, primarily Istanbul. Throughout, underlying the story of Turkish photography is an abiding interest in people and their lives. Photography fulfills a sociological function, recording new developments and situations related to human life. It is this aspect of photography that is explored in the exhibition.

People Attract People, curated by Merih Akoğul, presents a variety of photographic modes and approaches, from impressionism to expressionism, from documentary to the fine art context, from rural Anatolian settings to the technically advanced spaces of the photography studio, from highly charged views of simple side streets to conceptually driven works of portraiture.


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