Thursday, July 28, 2016


On July 23 we reported about “Leica Plans For Photokina”.  Part of that article covered Leica’s continued commitment to excellence in photography.  For that reason Leica will put professional photography as well as professional users of their equipment and their work into focus.  They were chosen to be “Offizieller Fotografie-Partner der Photokina 2016” (Official Photography Partner of Photokina 2016).  The Photokina exhibition will include a large presentation in the Leica Gallerie in the over 20 thousand square foot Halle 1 (Hall 1) which will celebrate photography with several exhibitions. Leica is putting special emphasis on the very extensive exhibition of “Masters of Photography.”  There will be a 15 picture series with more than 400 photographs of renowned Leica photographers.  One of the photographers featured is Turkish photographer Ara Güler

In addition to being part of the Photokina exhibition, Ara Güler has also been honored with the Leica Hall of Fame award.  In a press release, Leica writes the following:

Leica Camera AG has revealed that the lifework of the famous Magnum photographer, Ara Güler, will be honored with the Leica Hall of Fame Award. His photography will also be celebrated with a major exhibition in the Leica Masters of Photography Gallery at photokina 2016.

Ara Guler

Ara Güler, arguably Turkey’s most eminent photographer, impressively portrayed life in the city of Istanbul, his birthplace and home, for more than 60 years. He is world famous for his incomparable black and white images of the metropolis on the shores of the Bosporus from the 1950s and 1960s. Ara Güler (87) is also well known for his work as a reporter and photojournalist covering political affairs around the world, and for his photographic interviews with many prominent politicians and artists of the period, including Salvador Dalí, Marc Chagall, Alfred Hitchcock, Willy Brandt, Maria Callas, Bertrand Russell, Pablo Picasso, Indira Gandhi and Winston Churchill.

Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, chief representative Leica Galleries International, explains, “In his own unique way, Ara Güler documented everyday life and captured moments of change, both big and small, in the only city in the world that sits astride two continents, and thus earned the nickname ‘The Eye of Istanbul’. The power of Ara Güler’s images of his city, and his photographs documenting important political events of recent history, clearly illustrate the decisive role he has played in the evolution of 20th century photography. We have therefore chosen to honor his notable and outstanding work as a photographer with the Leica Hall of Fame Award.”

Ara Güler was born in Istanbul on 16 August 1928. After attending courses at drama school and abandoning his university studies in economics, he made the decision to begin a career as a photojournalist. Although Güler started as a self-taught photographer, he soon became well known for his work for Turkish publications. His work as a reporter and photojournalist took him and his Leica around the world on assignments for numerous international magazines. In 1961, he was employed as head of the photographic department at the Turkish magazine ‘Hayat’ (‘Life’).

Güler sees himself as a ‘visual historian’ who ‘captures what happens around him’. He dislikes being described as an artist and, in his own words, ‘photography is not an art, it is more important than art’. His work has won him numerous awards: in 1961, ‘Photography Annual’ described him as one of the world’s seven best photographers. He was awarded the title ‘Master of Leica’ in 1962 and, in 1999, was honored with the Turkish ‘Photographer of the Century’ award.

The Leica Hall of Fame Award will be presented to Ara Güler in Istanbul at the end of this year. Visitors to photokina 2016 will have the opportunity to view the exhibition celebrating the photographer and his work in the Leica Masters of Photography Gallery (Hall 1). The exhibition is open daily from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm from September 20 to 25.

About the Leica Hall of Fame Award

The Leica Hall of Fame Award, first presented in 2011, shares the tradition of earlier awards instituted by Leica Camera AG and honors exceptional photographers for their particular contributions to the photographic genre or invaluable services to the Leica brand. The award is a non-competitive award judged exclusively on merit. Previous winners of this prestigious award are Magnum photographer Steve McCurry, Barbara Klemm, for many years editorial photographer at the ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’, and Nick Út, for his momentous documentation of contemporary history in his images of the Vietnam war. Other prominent photographers honoured with the Leica Hall of Fame Award are René Burri († 2014), famous for his emotive images captured before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Thomas Hoepker, who documented people and events of contemporary history with his Leica M, and decisively influenced the genre of reportage photography in the second half of the 20th century.

Picture credits: © Ara Güler, Das Goldene Horn, im Hintergrund die Süleymaniye-Moschee, Istanbul, 1962


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