Famous Turkish photographer dies at 90

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ANKARA – Anadolu Agency

Legendary Turkish photographer Ara Güler died on October 17 in Istanbul. He was 90 years old.

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Güler suffered a heart attack and was transported to the intensive care unit at Florence Hospital in Istanbul, where he breathed his last.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called Güler’s family to offer their condolences, according to presidential sources.

Erdoğan, who was also photographed by Güler, said the legendary photographer will always be remembered “with his works that he left behind.”

Nicknamed “the Eye of Istanbul”, Güler rose to fame with his black and white portraits of the city.

He suffered from kidney failure and needed treatment three times a week.

“This dialysis amazes me,” he said in an interview with Anadolu agency in 2015.

“I can’t do anything three days a week. It takes four hours each time, and it’s unbearable.

However, old age and illness did not prevent him from continuing his work.

In 2015, he photographed the ongoing construction of Istanbul’s Third Bosphorus Bridge.

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Güler belonged to a family of Turkish intellectuals.

His mother came from an Armenian family who owned several houses around Beyoğlu, a district of Istanbul.

Güler’s father was orphaned at the age of six. He was later a pharmacist for the Turkish army at the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915.

Thanks to his father’s connections, Ara landed his first job as an assistant film director in one of Beyoğlu’s many theaters.

In his father’s pharmacy, where theater performers regularly gathered to buy makeup for plays, Güler met the founder of modern Turkish theater, Muhsin Ertugrul, and was even able to work with him.

“[Güler] always wanted to be a playwright, ”Nezih Tavlas wrote in a 2003 biography on Güler titled“ Photo Journalist ”.

At 22, he received his first camera, a Rolleicord II. His career as a photographer began when he joined a local newspaper called Yeni Istanbul in 1950.

Güler met world-renowned French photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson through his relationship with Romeo Martinez, editor-in-chief of Camera magazine, and became a member of Magnum Photos, an international photography cooperative.

In the late 1950s he worked for world famous magazines such as Time and Life in the United States, the French weekly Paris Match and Der Stern in Germany, traveling the world from Pakistan to Kenya and New Guinea. in Borneo.

He was in Sudan in 1978 just before the Second Eritrean Civil War to report on clashes between rebel groups. Just before Turkey’s 1980 military coup, Güler traveled to Mongolia, the homeland of the Turks, to photograph 8th-century inscriptions. In 1990, he left for Indonesia with his wife for a report on cannibalistic tribes.

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But it was in Turkey that he made one of his most astonishing discoveries: an ancient city called Aphrodisias in the western province of Aydin in 1958. While returning from a job involving the inauguration of a roadblock, his driver got lost, in a village where the inhabitants used ancient architecture as part of their daily life.

In 1957, he was in France to cover the Cannes Film Festival. He met legendary figures in the film industry, including American filmmaker Orson Welles, Italian writer Alberto Moravia and Spanish artist Pablo Picasso.

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Güler also photographed Winston Churchill, John Berger, Alfred Hitchcock and Salvador Dali, among many others.

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