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Remembering Ara Güler Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

18 October 2018

The Eye of Istanbul, alas, has been closed for all eternity. Ara Güler has passed away at the age of 90. Güler, who had been suffering from kidney failure, was felled by a heart attack.

We featured Güler in a 2106 Saturday Matinee in which we quoted from the biography on his Web site:

Ara's philosophy on photography is that he attaches great importance to the presence of humans in photography and considers himself as a visual historian. According to him, photography should provide people with memory of their suffering and their life. He feels that art can lie but photography only reflects the reality. He does not value art in photography so he prefers photojournalism.

He lived in, and reported on, turbulent times in the only city in the world that spans two continents.

Born on Aug. 16, 1928, Güler hung around his father's Istanbul pharmacy, meeting the many members of the art world who gathered there. They inspired him to study film but he quickly switched to photojournalism. In 1950 he took a job with Yeni Istanbul, a Turkish newspaper, as a photojournalist while studying economics at the University of Istanbul.

He worked for Hürriyet, a Turkish Daily (which has published some of his more memorable images), before becoming Time-Life's Turkish correspondent in 1958. Stern, Paris Match, and Sunday Times, London also commissioned work from him.

Ara Güler is gone but, as he put it, he had been everywhere already. The only place left for him to go, he said was hell.

He joined Magnum after meeting Marc Riboud and Henri Cartier-Bresson and in 1961 became the first Turkish photographer of the American Society of Magazine Photographers. That year he also became the head of the photography department of the Arab magazine, Hayat.

He was honored throughout his career.

The 1968 show Ten Masters of Color Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York included his photographs. He also exhibited at Photokina.

His work is included in several international collections, including the National Library of France, the George Eastman Museum; Das imaginäre Photo-Museum, Museum Ludwig Köln and Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery.

His awards include Turkey's Photographer of the Century (1999), Master of Leica (1962), France's Legion d'honneur, Lifetime Achievement Lucie Award (2009) and Turkey's Grand Prize of Culture and Arts (2005).

He celebrated his 90th birthday with the opening of a museum named after him. In January, a street in his neighborhood was also named after him.

A selection of his works can be seen on his Web site and his Magnum page.

Ara Güler is gone but, as he put it, he had been everywhere already. The only place left for him to go, he said was hell.

We suspect he was rerouted en route.

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