“I capture whatever is capturing me!” - the artist
Q: What led you to become a photographer?
A: I became a photographer accidentally. I never planned and intend to be, it came to me naturally. I was a photo lover from the early years of my life. I used to spend hours going through the family albums when I was a little girl. Story behind each picture fascinated me at that young age and made me wonder how different people and their feelings were captured in such a small frame. I used to play with my father’s camera and try to get a clear vision with no luck. One of my older cousins who was taking pictures with her own camera gave me a quick explanation on how to use the camera. At that young age I thought she is a magician. I got my first professional camera as a wedding gift at the age of 29. First couple of years I was using my camera on Auto Mode only, to picture my travels for my blog. My real journey with photography started the moment when I switched my SLR camera to manual mode and rest is a history to tell.
Q: Where have you studied and/or exhibited your work?
A: Let me tell you this first, I am a mathematical engineer with no art background. There was the time of my life, I was questioning my engineering education and career. I realize that it is not the path that I wanted to continue because I have no deep connection to identify myself as an engineer. I was in need to create myself again at the age of 35, We might call it mid-age crisis. At that time, I had to go back my hometown, Istanbul for two years. First, I attended a creative writing course, I like it a lot at the beginning but my enthusiasm has gone in less than a month.
One day, me and my close friend, we were having lunch together, she told me she bought herself a camera and she likes to learn how to use it! She encouraged me to go to a photography course with her. My course registration day was more like,” let me go with my friend, we will have fun together”. After the third lesson I was fascinated by the history of photography and the possibilities that you can create with your camera while my friend was like, “three lesson is enough I will return automatic mode” She quit. I stayed and complete the course. It was the foundation course for digital photography to learn how to take photos in manual mode. At the end of the course, we had photo shooting day. We met at a very historical part of Istanbul and spent all day to practice what we learned during the lessons. I fall in love with photography at that day! It may be the streets with lots of character, may be the all students’ passion to catch the right frame with the perfect exposure, whatever the energy, I fall in love and I decided to enroll for the second round of the course to create my own photo journal. My assignment was about photographing the vendors on the street, listening their life stories. I was so happy with my camera on my hand, questions in my head! I was free to ask any vendors, any question! More I listen and photographed people more I was in love what I was doing! As a curious person I found my excuse to approach the people on the street and ask their life story. It was a great feeling! But still, I have no intention to become a photographer! At that time, I photographed each and every member of my family, my distant cousins, my neighbor’s dog, even my son’s little turtle living in a small bowl can be the subject of my photo.
After two years I spent in Istanbul, I had to come back to Dallas, in 2013. I continue photography lesson in Dallas. I attended different classes and workshops about artistic and technical aspects of photography. In the past 5 years, I had the opportunity to experiment different style and subjects in photography before I settled on Fine Art Photography such as Architectural, family and corporate photography, wedding & special occasions so on. I was also photographing artwork of an artist, she needs them for her submissions to various exhibitions. While she was coming to my house, she saw my fine art photos hanging on my house’s wall and she asked me to submit them for exhibitions. She asked me each and every time she saw me, she texted me, she emailed me till she made sure I submitted my photos. I was like “okay let me do it for her!” With my first submission I was honored the best photo prize. It was a photo exhibition by Visual Art Guild of Frisco which was displayed at Frisco Discovery Centre. The jury gave me lots of feedback about my photos, and she told me I am touching the millennium problem, loneliness. That photo, that little girl was reflecting my exact feeling in my life, I am feeling so alone in the middle of crowd. I am not a good fit most of the time. After I got the best photo prize with my visual reflection of feelings, I felt like I can touch more peoples’ life with my photos. It was the moment I felt like a visual artist first time, more than an amateur photographer.
Q: Where do you derive your inspiration from?
A: Traveling is inspiring me a lot. I lose my connection with time & place when I am on a new journey discovering and capturing my next moment in life while I am already captured by my surroundings.
I love outdoors, people & nature and I love documenting different side of them through photography. Capturing shadows or placing people in unexpected scales or backgrounds in the nature inspires me to tell the story about how small we are up against the world surrounding each and every one of us.
Q: We noticed a recurring theme of light and shadows, which create a sense of movement and mood within your work. Can you elaborate on this?
A: I have been drawn to shadows since I was a little girl. They seemed to behave so mischievously and always mysteriously more interesting than the subject itself. I have a wild urge to capture the moment when I see a shadow. Shadows act like the visual underline of the subject matter in photography and helps to emphasize the importance of the captured moment in time.
Q: What do you hope for viewers to take away from your art?
A: Be honest with you, I never think to give a massage to my viewers till I won the best photo prize. Even I never thought I would have some viewers! Taking photo is my meditation. It is my worship! I do it for myself to feel connected! I capture whatever is capturing me! I see the deeper beauty in every form of life beyond the obvious .. whether seeing the movement in a form of a shadow or recognizing the fact that how little we are against the nature surrounding us when we really think of it. My hope is, if my viewer feel what I feel thew realize that they are not alone! I want my viewers to feel the connection through my art. We are all connected with the whole, we just need reminders. Art is the best reminder. If it is my art, it is my hope for my viewers being able to feel the connection!
Q: How do you view your art career in five years?
A: My formal education is far from art and photography. I am a dysfunctional engineer with an artsy eye. Although I am divinely inspired, I have a personality to create everything from scratch and reasoning is my main ingredient for my own recipe. Keeping my amateur soul alive, I just want to experience art in more depth through more education for next five years. I liked to attend more art exhibitions nationwide & worldwide in the next 5 years. With my unique way of looking and capturing art in life, hope to be able to differentiate myself on the eye of art lovers in general and see my art work displayed in as many locations as possible. Personally, sharing my vision of life with others brings me the joy and priceless happiness.
About the artist:
I am Pelin and my journey with photography started the moment I switched my SLR camera to Manual Mode. Catching the most meaningful moment between an infinite array of possibilities is my primary passion right now, next to travelling, chocolate, trekking with my boys, meeting new people and reading everything and anything. Originally from Istanbul, I lived and worked in London and Brussels. Then I fell in love and my love brought me to United States in 2005 where I still live with frequent visits to my lovely hometown. When I take a picture, my primary goal is to catch the genuine smile and emotion while showing the loveliness, charm, strength and warmth of people.
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