Sunday, 12 July 2009

Interview #3 - Asli Kolcu

On the cusp of a week since its last interview, Approaching Velocity is proud to present its third photographer - Asli Kolcu.

Asli Kolcu's photography is unashamedly striking, exuding a confident vision and a maturity that has seen this photographer already achieve international success.

What is your background to photography? - when, how and why did you begin?

I 'started' photography four years ago. I have been self-taught up to this point. This year I applied to a bunch of courses and got into Middlesex University, skipping foundation and first year, with a scholarship too - I couldn’t believe it - I am now enrolled and going to London in September.

What influences your photography?

People in general. I love examining small details of life and the patterns of human relationships – I have an interest in the psychological and sociological webs that affect them.

Is there a particular subject that you find yourself continually returning to and photographing?

I keep returning to patterns of love, the dilemma of letting go our childhood - or trying to hold on to it - and rites of passage.

One reason your photography stands out so much is that each photograph feel drenched in meaning – everything in the photograph seems significant, and each 'set' you create combines colours, textures, props, symbolism and subject matter very successfully. How much planning and forethought do you put into your photographs – and how much would you say your photographs do have meaning?

I would say most of my photography (minus the beauty and ‘simple’ fashion work I do for mainly commercial part of the medium) carries a meaning. I don’t necessarily try to portray a meaning with the objects to the viewer but try to show myself what I feel perfectly. This leads to my excessive obsession about the details; my ideas pop up randomly - I don’t plan the concept or the general aspects of the shot, like how the model should look, what kind of a dress would be used, what kind of items should be used. Of course for the more specific choosing processes I take my time to find the perfect pieces or make them. Rarely even, the idea is improvised, like one of my favorite photos, Shoot Me was supposed to be a completely different shot, but didn’t work so I ran around to find the objects and shot it - but most people would have guessed 'the idea” was already there it just got altered a bit.

You've stated that you're very interested in people and their relationships. In many, the people are not the primary focus of the photograph, often instead being overwhelmed by what is going on around them. What role do you feel people play in your photographs, and what is their relationship to the rest of the photograph?

What I like doing is showing what is in their head in their past and what symbolizes this. I pick small details about their psychological state and history to portray an aspect of their character. I guess a good way to describe what I see as my photographs would be a person standing in it’s thought bubble surrounded by what isn’t physically there.

Equally, the people you photograph seem very vulnerable or exposed; your use of the camera is quite aggressive – you often stand taller and 'loom' above those in the photographs, or are very close and tightly centered on a person, leaving them no room. Is this something you are aware of, and set out to achieve?

I agree with you - I think it is because my photos are so personal. When I shoot any photo it feels like I am doing a self-portrait. However, I am one those people that has a wall in front of them no matter how open they are - there is a possibility as I portray what is in my head I put the person in my shoes and tend to show their vulnerability about being 'seen'.

Do you have a format preference for your photography? How do you feel a film or digital approach makes a difference to your final images?

I like film better, but not because of the general arguments. I love it because I love the anticipation of waiting for the results and also I like the darkroom process (even the smell of it hehe.) Sadly in real life I can’t yet pursue this because I can't deal with all the processing and printing fees. I just like seeing all the shots in the real size as it was intended. When I was doing just film I used to finish at least 10 rolls a week and it is about £5-10 in Istanbul to process each one and get it on CD - a bit too expensive! I wish I had my own darkroom, nothing beats the feeling for me.

How much would you say digital photography and extensive post-processing applications has affected you as a photographer?

Well it didn’t effect the post-processing part since anything I do on photoshop I can do in a darkroom. However, it affected my development a lot. Whether it is good or not for quality differs, but it is a fact that you can see your mistakes quickly, and therefore it is time efficient and it gives you the opportunity shoot bigger numbers of images (at least for me).

The Internet has transformed the way people create, disseminate and consume art. How has this affected your photography?

I love “Ways of Seeing” when it comes to how we consume art. What we see before and how we see it really changes our reaction. The Internet isn’t same as seeing a human sized print in a gallery on a plain wall. That is the negative side but it also helped me a lot. I've been a member of DeviantArt for 4 years now, and as much as some people think it is a horrible platform it has helped me develop due to the amount of access I have to new and upcoming artists, and because of some the constructive criticism I get. I have also had several exhibits because some curator found my work online - I got my art director job in Istanbul Street Style the same way! The Internet gives us easy access but that is it - how to get better is our own decision.

What do you like most/least about photography?

Well I am one of those people that isn’t so greatly fond of their work. I love the saying, 'if an artist thinks a piece is complete he isn’t an artist anymore'. I like the fact it’s personal and detailed. I don’t like the fact that at points requires excessive amount of funding (some of my new projects) and I also hate my perfectionism - when something is that detailed there is ALWAYS a flaw somewhere

Does your photography say anything about you, or speak for you?

Yes it definitely does. All of my photos reflect me and my point of view on the subject. It shows how I see that aspect of the person or the imaginary figure in my head

In an ideal world, if there was anything you could shoot, regardless of expenses (money, time etc.) what would you choose to photograph?

I still would stick to my scrapbook since there are some ideas there I can’t do because of the expenses. The first one I would do would be my Birth,Flight,Life. There is a piece there that requires a 7’ textured slingshot which costs a bit too much and I have no skills to make on my own.

Do you have a favorite photographer? Why?

I have many. Tim Walker for one - I love how he got the Vogue editor with the butterfly net picture and I love fairy tales so he sort of wins from the beginning. Eugenio Recuenco; I discovered him very recently so I fail pretty hard but I adore how detailed and eccentric most of his work is, it is very clear a lot of work goes into it. Mischa Gordin; I know the traditional darkroom process - it is impressive how creative and well manipulated the work is. I also like Atta Kim and Floria Sigismondi... the list can go on!

You're less than a year older than me, yet your photography already seems to have already garnered much attention. How has this affected you? In particular, where do you wish to go with photography in the future?

Well it made me very happy and also really encouraged me to take this to another level. I am starting my studies this year and I will choose this as my career. I recently got interested in fashion photography so planning to do that as well I want to create scenes that combine my style and details with fashion. I also write so have some projects combining both mediums.

I find with my photography that I am constantly learning from other photographers; with this is mind, do you have any advice for other young photographers as to how to approach the art?

Well I would say shoot that idea in your mind. Practice does make perfect. You can’t find out how to take a good photo sitting there and reading this! That is for starters though after you are comfortable with you technical knowledge don’t just point your camera at a model and shoot it: find something only you can find be it a detail an angle something you see in what you are shooting. Make it count. Also, don’t be afraid of trying out new things - experimenting helps a lot. I find great ideas whilst viewing others - I am not saying go copy them but seeing ideas will also inspire you!

Keri-Anne Pink, our last interviewee, asks, 'How would you describe your work in three words?'

Dreamy, detailed, and melancholic

And lastly, what would you like to ask/know about the next photographer interviewee?

Why do you shoot?


If you'd like to be considered for an interview, or know someone talented, get in touch with Approaching Velocity at approachingvelocity AT explaining why and with links where appropriate.

AV #3 Exude a confidence that you don't have - it's gaurenteed to get you places you never knew you could. Not neccessarily the right places, but somewhere.

Please respect our copyright.
Words (c) 2009 Asli Kolcu / Nicholas Blake / Approaching Velocity.
All images in 'Interview #3' (c) 2009 Asli Kolcu.
Approaching Velocity's editor is Nicholas Blake, who is not the Stig.

1 comment:

  1. amzing interview with an amazing photographer. me n my girlfriend love your style Asli.

    Keep up whatever your doing.