We have discussed with @suleduman, the winner of our 21st classic challenge. Having a street photographer grandfather, her photography love had started very early. One of her favourite childhood activity was developing photos at her grandfather’s darkroom. And the ambition she had in that darkroom is still alive, pushing her to take fantastic photos and explore new limits on her photography.
@streetphoto_bw: Hi Şule, congratulation again. First of all, we would like to know a little bit more about who you are.
@suleduman: Thank you . I am from Izmir, Turkey but I’ve been living since 13 years in Geneva. I have been an amateur photographer since long time. This year I started to make a little money with it but I am not sure if I can consider myself as a pro .
@streetphoto_bw: Could you tell us about your background in photography, how did you start and learn, it has been how many years?…
@suleduman: Actually I have been shooting since very long time. My grandfather was a photographer and that’s why I, as well as all my family have been taking photos quite often. It is like our family hobby. But it’s been 5 years since I started shooting regularly.
@streetphoto_bw: How nice! Did you have the opportunity to learn photography technics from your grandfather?
@suleduman: He had a darkroom. During school holidays we used to develop some of his shots together. I never went out with him to shoot. I can’t say that I haven’t learned anything from him, he trained my eyes the least.
@streetphoto_bw: What was he shooting?
@suleduman: Street photography. He used to take long photo walks in Tire (Izmir).
@streetphoto_bw: And for you, has it always been street photography? If not, why have you started street photography and what do you like about it?
@suleduman: No, actually I am working more on portraitures, self-portraitures and industrial photography. I have started street photography thanks to my iphone. However since one year I use also my Canon on the streets.
@streetphoto_bw: You have told earlier that you have started to earn money from photography. What are you doing more precisely?
@suleduman: Wedding and industrial photography. I am shooting in bw without flash.
@streetphoto_bw: What is the equipment that you use?
@suleduman: I use Canon 5d and shoot with 28 mm. I have been using the same lens since 2 years. I find it close to my eyes. And I will stick with it until I feel I own it fully. Actually I suggest everyone to use a fix lens. It takes time to get familiar with it. Using the same lens and camera eases the learning process.
@streetphoto_bw: I think your Instagram photos are mostly taken with iphone. When do you use your camera?
@suleduman: I take it only out of it’s box if there is a project. Last month I have participated to a workshop in Prague. I have used only my cam, shooting trains and stations. Iphones are good for exercising compositions but they might give a certain laziness.
@streetphoto_bw: I’m sure you too, like most of us, take hundreds of photos but upload only a few to Instagram. How do you choose the ones for Instagram? Do you search for a specific feeling/ idea or is it happening spontaneously? The same question might apply to your shooting process, do you look for certain things or do you capture those nice frames coincidentally?
@suleduman: I am especially preoccupied with people who are leaving their hometowns in order to built new lives. I am not talking about refugee problems or illegal immigrants, which are serious issues. I am much more attracted in personal stories. I am interested with the changes a person is going through after moving from one place to another, even if it is voluntary and even if it is for financial prosperity or career satisfaction (and even those dreams come true). I try to understand the losses and gains on one’s mind and spirit after such alterations. The losses attract me the most cause they have deeper stories hidden within.
I believe that people are very honest and open either when they walk alone on the street or when they are just one step behind being drunk. And I see the stories I have told you mostly during these two situations (or I imagine that I see them). And in a city like Geneva where more then 40% of habitants are “moved-ins”, I find it quite easy to access such stories.
I do not shoot hundreds of photos but I shoot everyday except Sundays. I’m not running after people, generally I’m waiting at a certain location. If you stay long enough, even at the least possible places, you become invisible. After a while the person I am waiting for comes and passes in front of me. That’s when I shoot. I am not sure who he was but there is a quote of a famous photographer saying that he never shoots twice at the same location. For me it’s the contrary. I go and wait at the same location at least at two different seasons. For me it’s like a self training or an homework. Especially, after once I start to think that there won’t be any more shots coming from that place, somehow beautiful frames start to appear. I am a slow person in general anyway.
@streetphoto_bw: What about your methods? Which applications do you use mostly and how did you shoot and edit your winner photo?
@suleduman: Every photo lands to filterstorm. Most of the time posted afterwards. Rarely I use Noir too. On Sundays though, I pick one of that week’s photos and then work on scratch cam, noir, swankolab, iquickdof and post it. Apart from those I don’t use any other application. Ah, I take photos with Procam, not the native cam.
@streetphoto_bw: At your photos, there is always a beautiful balance of light and shadow and I think this is what makes your style unique in it’s own way. How do you do it? Is there anyone that you got inspired from?
@suleduman: After the shot, I crop and fine tune the contrast but I always want to keep the shades. So I try not to exaggerate the contrast too much. Among the photographers I like, I should count Kratochvil, Webb (his work on Istanbul is amazing), Ara Güler (and his fishermen), Nachtway… And there are many others I discover, love, get excited, imitate and then calm down and move on…
Interview performed by @latibod.