Nach einer Phase der Konfusion und Unsicherheit hat Suzan Pektaş die durch die Pandemie entstandenen Freiräume offensiv für ihre Fotografie genutzt. Sie hat ein Buch herausgebracht, arbeitet bereits am nächsten und bereitet eine neue freie Arbeit vor. Über all das und noch mehr hat sie mit den #FacesOfPhotography gesprochen:
Suzan, how are you?
In those unpredictable days, I try to stay well by being active, producing, writing, photographing, assembling things and so on. I push myself to see the good and the beauty that resides in this chaotic environment. I close my eyes to see the light and pull it out of the darkness into my work. If I can’t find the light, I move on and come back later.
What is the current pandemic-related situation in Turkey?
The situation in Turkey is no different than the rest of the World. In a sense, the pandemic reminded us all that we are on board of the same ship and no different than one and other. This has a good side and a bad side. The good side is that we are not much different, the bad side is that neither of us stand close to the good. I was expecting that the awareness that raised globally during the first months of the pandemic would be lasting. I was expecting that we would be more patient, more innovative and creative, more respectful to each other as well as to the planet but I am proven wrong. I have been reading a lot of news about gender crimes towards women, hate crimes to minorities, tortured and killed animals and so on. I am afraid the hope I had in the first days of the pandemic was a dream and the humankind will go on from where he/she has left before the pandemic. I wish we did hold on life itself with love, which everyone seemed to embrace just a year ago. It looks like a missed opportunity for us all.
How does the situation affect photography and photographers in Turkey in general?
We are going through times that will have a lasting impact on the future. The political unrest that is somewhat a characteristic of our geography, has not been into our lives as much as it is now. It may be due to an increased awareness, but anyhow we continue to create with an ever-increasing passion and pace, building digital alternatives for creating, interacting and sharing. As the saying »Art is for hard times« goes, this situation boosted creativity and activity, maybe, in an unprecedented way. We had fairs, festivals, auctions, competitions, exhibitions all in digital media. We use this opportunity to revitalize the belief and hope in art for all the good it will bring. I believe, this period will have its own memory and impact the future of arts. Online digital media has come into arts permanently and will accompany classical media even after the pandemic. The online platforms that connected artists, who used to have their own closed circles, will be actively used from now on. And this increased interaction will have a lasting and positive effect on all forms of art. Art is a strong hold on life and that’s what I held on. During the first months of the pandemic, I was very concerned, confused and uncertain. I questioned to find a meaning in existence in such a world. Those were my tidal days. Then, I gradually grasped the control. I focused on the changes. The new life practices we built offered me open spaces and escape points, which I used all for photography. And it fed me back. I already had the first maquette of my book and the pandemic gave the time to concentrate on it further. Some of the images in my recently published book were shot during this period. I had the chance to closely watch the physical and spiritual changes that my daughter and I went through. It was a unique experience in this respect.
How and what are you currently working on photographically?
I have an ongoing project since 2017 about a young immigrant African woman living in Istanbul, Naomi. I have been accompanying her in different settings ranging from Sunday masses to boat parties. I want to tell her story from inside, crisscrossing with my personal immigration story. During the course of the project, we built a strong connection and the project evolved into a collaborative creation, a joint narrative about Naomi. I am currently making arrangements and editing. I plan to publish a book on this specific project.
There is also a new photo research project about a mining town in Turkey which had its heydays more than a 100 years ago. It will be an inter-disciplinary work focusing on the relations and mutual interactions of society, individuals and environment. We will seek to uncover the traces of the past in today. It’s a very new project and we are currently in preliminary research phase.
What is your personal photographic wish for the future?
I am constantly pushing myself to think differently, to work with new mediums and collaborate with other artists to involve new dimensions into my work. I want my work to have depth and a transforming momentum. Moving forward from this point of view, I aim to be more productive in a collaborative and inter-disciplinary setting. I, also, have long been dreaming of spending some private secluded time in an artist residency. Now, it looks more feasible than ever and I hope to realize this.
P.S.: Die Arbeiten von Suzan sind ab dem 28. Mai 2021 in der Leica Galerie in Zingst zu sehen.
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