Ara Güler’s early photographs are unique and yet familiar. A renowed Turkish-Armenian photojournalist and photographer. Born in 1928, in Istanbul, Turkey, and passing away in 2018, Güler left an indelible mark on the world of photography. His work primarily focused on documentary and street photography, capturing the essence of Istanbul and the soul of its people in a way that was both captivating and timeless. His black-and-white photographs, a Play of Light and Shadow, as the exhibit at FOAM Amsterdam is titled, remind me of the photographs of Brassaï, at the same period. With strong compositions and deep contrasts, Güler walks us through the streets of Istanbul and makes us meet its inhabitants. At times reaching abstraction, his silhouettes and compositions are haunting us. Throughout his career, Ara Güler was recognized with numerous awards, including the title of Master of Leica, and he was a member of Magnum Photos. His photographs have been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, and it was time FOAM recognized him as such with a major retrospective.

Galatasaray, Istanbul, 1960s ©Ara Güler Museum, courtesy of Ara Güler
Tophane, Istanbul, 1958 ©Ara Güler Museum, courtesy of Ara Güler
Zeyrek, Istanbul ©Ara Güler Museum, courtesy of Ara Güler
Old Mosque, Edirne, 1956 ©Ara Güler Museum, courtesy of Ara Güler
Karadeniz, 1964 ©Ara Güler Museum, courtesy of Ara Güler