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Issue No. 17 - Enigma

A Conversation with PHOTOFAIRS and Ahmet Ertug from ELIPSIS PROJECT

A Conversation with PHOTOFAIRS and Ahmet Ertug from ELIPSIS PROJECT

© Ahmet Ertug

© Ahmet Ertug

PHOTOFAIRS | San Francisco is pleased ELIPSIS GALLERY will be joining them in their inaugural edition, opening its doors to visitors this coming January 27-29. ELIPSIS GALLERY’s focus is on the art of photography. Aiming to encourage the appreciation of photography to a wider audience.

Ahmet Ertug’s commitment to photography started when he was awarded the Japan Foundation Fellowship to do research on the traditional architecture of Japan in 1979. For one year he travelled extensively in Japan and photographed the ancient temples, Zen gardens and festivals.

What brought you to the medium of photography? 
I studied architecture at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, in London and graduated in 1974.
During the early 80's after practicing for some years as an architect in historic cities; I discovered that the public awareness of the historic environment is not strong enough. I decided I could be more useful as an architect showing the public the architectural heritage through the means of photography and publishing art books on this subject.
I started doing this first in Istanbul in my home city; photographing historical buildings. Afterwards I expanded this program to the rest of the country. I photographed most of the archaeological treasures of Turkey from Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman times.
Afterwards I oriented my camera to European architectural heritage and photographed extensively in libraries, opera houses and palazzos. All this work was published as a series of 30 art books.
I found my inner peace in photography; architectural practice was a stressful life.

What are you working on currently? 
I am photographing the Renaissance period theaters, libraries and palazzos in Italy. It is like a deeper journey of my previous photography projects of historical libraries and theaters in Europe.
I am fascinated with the architectural edifices in Italy due to my architectural background.
I am progressing my architectural knowledge after seeing and photographing each of these spectacular achievements of humanity.  When you have a special permission to photograph these places without any visitor you can really feel and capture the inner qualities.

What are your aims and objectives when taking a photograph? 
I am aiming to place the observer of my photography into my place to give them the best view they can visualize in the theater or in the library.
I give them the view of the Kings, from the Royal lodge; and I give them the view of the opera house auditorium from the eyes of a "Diva". I give them a seat in the library where famous intellectuals studied.

How and when do you know that an image is going to be important or significant? 
As I have a degree in architecture I can assess the architectural features of the buildings I want to photograph. I love buildings with great domes and with inner volumetric clarity, like Pantheon in Rome and Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
I search for deep perspectives and place my camera on the central axis of the building. I generally find myself leaning my back to the end wall of the building. When I look through the ground glass of my camera I feel it will be a great image.

What excites you about having your work shown in San Francisco? 
It is a great pleasure to introduce my work to a community like San Francisco where there is a history and knowledge of photography. It will be a great learning experience. I am promising them a special aesthetic visual journey with great intellectual depth.
I can thank Sinem Yoruk (Owner & Director) from ELIPSIS PROJECTS, for collaborating in this fair with me.

What type of camera do you shoot on? How does this affect your work in specific ways? 
I use an 8x10 inch large format view camera. All my photography is done with film.
This camera has a lot of movements, which enable me to control the perspective of the interior or façade view of a building.
I do my work under a black cloth looking through the ground glass of the camera. It is a fantastic experience to see the view on the ground glass.
The slow pace of the camera and limited number of films makes you think twice before taking a picture. There is no room for an error; excellence is the only path.

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