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Istanbul Modern Photography Gallery,a few doors down from the Pera Palace Hotel, presents a selection of portraits by the photographer Lütfi Özkök (1923–2017), internationally renowned for his portraits of authors and artists. The photographs are from Özkök’s archive in Stockholm, Sweden, where he spent most of his life. The exhibition features the artist’s photographs of 80 figures in art and literature starting from the 1950s. They vividly evoke a period at the same time as exploring the meaning of portrait photography.
Lütfi Özkök was born in Feriköy in 1924. In 1942 he got together with friends Sabahattin Kudret Aksal, Fahir Onger ve İlhan Arakon to publish a magazine called Sokak (Street) then went on to study in Vienna (briefly in 1943–44) then the Sorbonne, where he met his Swedish wife Anne-Marie Juhlin. He settled with her in Sweden. Although he would become one of Europe’s most celebrated literary portrait photographers, he maintained links with Turkey, bringing out a Swedish anthology of Turkish poetry in 1953, that included poems by Orhan Veli, Melih Cevdet Anday, Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca and Oktay Rifat. In 1987 and 1998 Yapı Kredi and Maçka Sanat Galeri had exhibitions of his portraits. Acolades include a Nobel prize after exhibiting portraits of 35 writers at the Nobel Museum. He died in Stockholm in 2017.
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