I stumbled into the photography of Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan while reading the T.O.P and Lens Culture Weblog posts about this amazing artist. His background as filmmaker with the use of “wide screen” framing appears to drive the influence for the use of panoramic photography in his latest work (Turkey Cinemascope). A large number of amazing panoramic images can be found at his website. The use of panoramic photography for close portraits is really a challenge. This is where his experience behind the film camera shows remarkably well. Yes, the images are for sale.
From the National Theather exhibit:
Years behind a movie camera have left the award-winning Turkish film-maker Nuri Bilge Ceylan viewing the world through wide, horizontal frames. On location trips for his latest film, Climates, he took a panoramic camera, but only in retrospect did he acknowledge the landscapes, city views and portraits as photographs not just reference pieces.
The overwhelmingly monochrome scenes were mostly shot at dusk, in snowy conditions. Ceylan frequently distanced himself by standing on a mound overlooking a village where children herded sheep, or near a shepherd and his flock high above a temple ruin. He possesses an exceptional sense of composition, and often shot where an arcing road gives views in two directions: Curved Street in Winter, Istanbul, opening onto a hill framed with old houses, and Baker Boy in Urfa, posed between the receding arms of a cobbled alley.
With the stirring portraits, it’s as though Ceylan is in search of character actors: school-children, farmers, two sisters staring from their bleak farm yard, two men by the road, one frowning disapprovingly, the other with a twinkling smile. In contrast, the winter scenes in Istanbul are about the exquisitely faded city. Ceylan exploits the blizzards in timeless pieces such as Trams in Beyoglu, where hunched-up pedestrians recall traditional Japanese painting.
The painterliness of Ceylan’s photographs derives from his use of absorbent cotton-rag paper and archival pigment to add depth to detail. Vignettes from the bleak plains of Anatolia invite comparisons with Breughel: their white backgrounds and miniaturised, bundledup figures going about daily chores at dusk.
From his incidental beginning as a photographer, Ceylan is here revealed as a significant artist; and you leave burning with curiosity about his films.