Haberler izlenimler (News impressions)
Birsel, Selim (2013) Haberler izlenimler (News impressions). Kuad Gallery, İstanbul.
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Official URL: http://www.kuadgallery.com/publications/
NEWS / IMPRESSIONS In the eighties I would spend a lot of time thinking about photography, I would spend my days in the dark room developing and printing my shots. These photographs were usually in black and white. Again, during those years we would put a roll of film in our cameras and we could only take 36 pictures with one roll of film and we could not see the pictures we had taken immediately. To make photos took a considerable amount of time and effort. One would have to develop the shot, take contact print, choose the frame to print and under red light and aggrandizer attempt the primary trials until the desired tone and grain quality was reached. Needless to say that after the size and the frame of the shot is established came the process of masking to give certain areas of the picture more or less light as desired. Photographing and the laboratory work needed to develop a picture was quite a different process from the digital photography rhythm of our times. I believe that when I abandoned my dark room, I sort of shelved my thoughts about the practice of taking photos. Nevertheless I personally photographed all my sculptures and installations. These were generally slides. Today, in the 21st century we take digital photographs and our approach to photography has changed. We are not limited to 36 shots, but we should modify our thinking process when we have to choose one frame out of 200 instead of one frame out of 36. If we use the language of computers, we have learned to function with the ‘delete’ button. We can see our photos immediately, we can erase them, and we can send them to people far away from where we are to share them. At the end of August 2008 I went to Lebanon, to the small town of Aley for a 15 day workshop*. There, I started to take photographs in connection with the work I would realize there. I was taking photos as a personal reminder and to document my planned work. During our first night in Aley an intense fog came over the town and we went out to take photographs in the dense fog with a friend. That night I suddenly realized that I had not been taking photos for a long time. I forced my memory to remember the techniques of photographing in the dark. Maybe I should rephrase this and say that I was not documenting anything but I was working on the image itself, I was really photographing, and that made me remember the pleasure I felt when I worked in this way years ago. Times had changed; we are in the communication era. I could share my whereabouts and my impressions of the moment on the internet immediately. That day I was in a garden devastated by civil war, 10 kilometers east of Beirut; 100 kilometers west of Damascus and I was cleaning this garden. Later, I would place the objects that I had collected during my random walks as a ‘flâneur’ in town on a hexagonal table in this garden. On certain place on the map, from the series’ “News/Impressions”, the first photograph I shared was ‘Hexagonal Table in the Garden’ (18.08.2008), after this photograph, I sent a new one every day by e-mail to my acquaintances. I established certain rules for myself concerning the making and sending of these photographs. These photographs would be taken during my trips (not my vacations) no matter how many photos I had taken during one day, I would choose only one, I would put a title, and it would be the impression of that given day. I would not plan what I would photograph the next day. I would be loyal to the impression of what that single day had brought. There were exceptions from time to time. I had established the rules and I could break them. I believe this supple approach is correct as in the sequence of the taking of the photographs. A friend claimed this activity of mine as the prolongation of the popular movement, ‘Mail Art’ of the 70ties. I do not oppose, but I prefer to keep “News/Impressions” outside of a social network. From my point of view, I prefer to share them with my personal means that I established throughout the years. I even received some sort of answers to my mails. “News/Impressions” can be read as where I am, what I am looking at, what I am witnessing and in what kind of a mood I am observing my environment. In the following pages I wish a happy journey to those who will find a place for themselves among 51 samples of “News/Impressions” photographed and sent in the years 2008-2012. Istanbul, 12/2012 *AIW: A (Artist International Workshop: Aley) Lebanon 2008 ** Can Altay – during Mürüvvet Türkyılmaz’s “Open Table” meeting series at DEPO İstanbul at “Selim Birsel: The Jester, Flâneur, The Gardener and The Cook” discussion with Ali Akay,Can Altay, Adnan Yıldız the 02.02.2011. NEWS / IMPRESSIONS IS PRINTED AND BINDED IN 50 COPIES AT MAS MATBAA. ALL COPIES ARE NUMBERED AND SIGNED BY THE ARTIST. FEBRUARY 2013
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