In almost all of my interviews I am asked the same to the question: How did you start photography? It was all Flickr’s fault, and my cousin’s. She and I used to live together, and back then she used to model for me. I knew her as much as I knew myself. She suggested I share these photos and introduced me to Flickr. I do not know what my precise motivation was, but I began sharing on the platform.
And so here I am, 10 years later, sitting in a beautiful co-working space called Blogfabrik, in the middle of my favourite neighbourhood, Kreuzberg, in my favourite city in the whole world, in Berlin. I am now a photographer writing about my experiences on DailyBreadMag. When I go all the way back to the first pages of my Flickr profile I get a cringing, sometimes amusing feeling. What a long and amazing way I’ve come since those first shares.
I was 17 years old when I started to take photos. I opened my Flickr account when I was 18. I was just starting to study French and Literature at Istanbul University. Stories were my life and I liked to tell mine through photographs, and sometimes in words. There definitely is a diary aspect to my photography – I take inspiration from my own life and the stories of people that come into it. After all, having looked at my first and oldest photos, there is no embarrassment on my part; it is interesting to see one’s own growth, how the years have made a difference.
The first photo I uploaded was of my bed sheets and my legs, wearing red tights. Back then I used to put two photos together like that, telling stories somehow. Not a lot has changed since then. I still admire legs and I love shooting them. Using colours has always been my passion. That remains as well.
The second photo is also made up of two photos in which I am the model again, in a morning gown that I had bought from a flea market, coincidentally, here in Berlin in 2008. I was young; I used to have long hair and I was totally lost – I did not know who I was or what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew I wanted to get out of Turkey and live elsewhere, to be free, to create and enjoy life.
The third and forth photos are black and white portraits of my ex-boyfriend, one of the few Turkish men I ever dated. He broke my heart, cheated on me, lied to me and threatened to hurt me after I broke up with him.
Seeing these first ever photos I uploaded on Flickr brings back strange and diverse feelings. It is not the same as looking at old photos of ourselves when we were children or teens. To me it is more of a confirmation that I have stayed true to myself, to the calls and drives that led me in the first place to take up photography as a medium to channel my thoughts and feelings. This is how I created a world of my own. And it seems like my world is expanding each year and even with each photo I take.