Published On: Sun, Oct 27th, 2019

Ara Guler, world-renowned Turkish master of photography and journalist

ARA GULER is the most important representative of creative photography in Turkey with a remarkable reputation in international arena as well. He was a Turkish citizen of Armenian origin and a prominent photojournalist. He was born on August 16, 1928 in Beyoğlu, Istanbul. His full name is Aram Güleryan.

While in high school, he worked in film studios in every branch of cinema and attended theater courses as he wanted to become a director or a playwright. He started to work as a journalist for Yeni Istanbul newspaper In 1950, and at the same time he attended the Faculty of Economics at Istanbul University.

In 1958, he became a photojournalist for Time-Life, Paris-Match and Der Stern. He met Henri Cartier Bresson in 1961 and joined the Paris Magnum Agency. The Photography Annual anthology published in the UK identified him as one of the seven best photographers in the world. In that year, he was accepted as the only Turkish member of ASMP (American Magazine Photographers Association).

Ara Güler, who also worked as a photojournalist for war saw four wars. The photographs he took there were published in various magazines and newspapers around the world. In fact one of his war photos was used on the cover of the Times magazine.

In 1962, he was rewarded the Master of Leica, which is an award given to very few photographers in Germany. His photographs were exhibited in many very important international exhibitions. In 1970 his photographic album “Türkei” was released in Germany.

His photographs of art and art history were used by  Time-Life, Horizon and Nesweek in the USA and Skira Publishing House in Switzerland. In 1971, he took photographs of Lord Kinross’s “Hagia-Sophia”. In 1971, Skira publishing house interviewed Picasso Metamorphose et unite for Picasso’s 90th birthday celebration in the castle of the famous painter. During this interview he was able to take a large number of Picasso’s photos, known for his dislike for photographing.

He was invited to the United States in 1975, and after taking photos of many famous Americans, he exhibited his Creative Americans in many cities around the world.

In 1989 his book called “Ara Güler’s filmmakers” was published. In 1991 he photographed “The Sixth Continent” by Halikarnas Balıkçısı (Cevat Şakir Kabaağaclı) for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He traveled around the world and made photo interviews and announced them via Magnum Agency. In the meantime He also made interviews with famous persons such as Winston Churchill, Indira Gandhi, John Berger, Bertrand Russell, Bill Brandt, Alfred Hitchcock, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Salvador Dali, Picasso and Ismet Inonu and took their photographs. The most famous is the Picasso Interview, which does not pose for photographers.

He had several books published such as “Sinan, Architect of Soliman the Magnificent” and “Living in Turkey” (with the title of Turkish Style in England, USA and Singapore and in France and Demeures Ottomanes de Turquie in France) and many more. Ara Güler’s photographs are in the National Library of Paris and in the Sheldon Collection of the University of Nebraska at the Georg Eastman Museum in Rochester, USA. His photographs are exhibited at the Das Imaginare Photo Museum in the Mueseum Ludwing in Cologne.

As one of the masters of Turkish photography, Ara Güler has a distinguished place in the history of world photography. The fact that he was a master of a documentary form of photography made him famous.

He passed away in 17 October 2018.


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