The book with the concept and design by Bülent Erkmen and edited by me, features a lengthy inter-view with Ersin Alok and a nostalgic album section of his photos from his childhood to present. This is a guidebook to understand the grand master of Turkish photography Ersin Alok and his art, his world view and his approach to photography.
A part of the publishing tradition of over 40 years and published by Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Foundation, this series is published every year on a pro-minent Turkish photography figure. Retrospectives were prepared for Şakir Eczacıbaşı, Ara Güler, Ozan Sağdıç, Sami Güner, Sabit Kalfagil and İzzet Keribar in the past, and Ersin Alok was in 2016’s retrospective with unforgettable frames. Known for his meticulousness in art of photography and the extraordinary aesthetics he brings to selected to-pics, Ersin Alok greets the universe carrying his ca-mera sometimes in the depths of sea, sometimes at the summit of mountains, sometimes in the middle of deserts.
İndustrial photographs come to life once again through his lens as well. Details begin to breathe, co-lours find voice, forms begin to dance. These pho-tographs take their final form passing through the mind of a person who carefully observes the world and people, and revere the nature. Ersin Alok car-ries his excitement he has never lost to these days assuming nature as his master, and has the abi-lity to transfer his entire experience accompanied by his memories, to people around him with great modesty. His knowledge of history, his experience in photography, his life energy wrapped up in the science of psychology, and the respect he shows to sociology of every environment he enters, have been parts of his life and his behaviour.
Ersin Alok painted the mountains and realized how impossible it was to restrain it to a surface with lines and brushstrokes, so he continued to carefully observe the nature throughout his life.
What Alok does is not only bringing us face to face with nature, but at the same time, making all stri-king details we miss in the scurry of everyday life seen through the rules of art. At first Ersin Alok painted the mountains and realized how impossible it was to restrain it to a surface with lines and brus-hstrokes, so he continued to carefully observe the nature throughout his life.
The feeling inspired by the height he shot the photo from, the light he fastidiously awaits and particu-larly the angle he selects distinguish him from other mountain photographers. We can call the person who takes photographs of mountains from foothills, a mountain photographer. But Aloks most impor-tant quality is his ability to transform it into an ar-tistic work with to his love for the mountains and his aesthetic sensitivity. For Alok, the time he allocates to research and preliminary work, and his archite-ctural discipline in application, reveal the secrets behind his photographs. From the history of natu-ral formations to art history, well-equipped Aloks knowledge also ensures the multi-layeredness of his photographs.
It is almost impossible for the photograph to be read without these layers and for it to continue its historical journey. Wherever he looks at, he gets profoundly excited to share with us the new worlds that emerge with the harmony created by colours or upon looking at them closely. Ersin Alok studied disciplines such as psychology and prehistory whi-ch allowed him to understand people and the wor-ld, and these led him to adopt a different attitude towards events and situations. After this point, he assessed the mankind as a being from past to future in a more healthy way.
He discerned that the codes hidden in cave paintin-gs open doors even today. Following thejourney of man from cave paintings drawn by ancestors to our day, Alok visits many different regions of Turkey and transforms the lives there into photographs throu-gh a sociological and anthropological perspective. Not only the Anatolian people but the artists who influenced Ersin Alok’s life, have been in his portra-its almost from the beginning of his photography career to our day, and he has taken photographs of prominent Turkish artists. The grand prize he received at the 5th Paris Biennial in 1967, was a milestone in his career. The whole world knew this stunning black-white photo of hanging animal skins by a Turkish photographer.
Sometimes you see Ersin Alok on a journey on a cave painting, looking at the universe through birds eye from the top of a mountain, and sometimes in colourful visual details of a factory building. A life energy that never ceases to exist and the concent-ration required for art, have successfully survived in harmony in the same body and he has come to this day. In fact, it is impossible to describe Ersin Alok and his joy of life as people who know him are well aware. Although we know Ersin Alok, a perso-nality that cannot fit in any description, as a photographer, photography is only an aspect of him. Ersin Alok is a nature lover, an environmentalist, a mountaineer, an artist, but above all he is a precious asset for mankind.
Every time he embraces a friend, Alok seems as if he embraces the universe and humanity. The com-mon opinion of everyone who knows him is that this enthusiastic person full of joy of life, is at the same time a guiding photographer, a brother and he re-assures anyone he comes across with the help of art’s healing quality.
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