“Can Dağarslanı is an Istanbul-based photographer and architect. Graduating in 2006 from Mimar Sinan University of Fine Art, Istanbul, Can Dağarslanı aged 31, became increasingly more interested in photography while studying architecture. Combining his architectural knowledge with photography in addition to a hidden interest for Jean-Luc Godard are the key aspects that define his style.
Dağarslanı explains his work by stating, “I keep the natural light and the colors of objects as it is and mostly play with composition and the models’ posture. The subject remains anonymous, leaving both little and much to the imagination. Definitely my architectural expertise has an influence on the space-object analysis. The perception of space, the perspectives and the layers of it become a journey for me while creating my compositions.”
You first studied architecture and then moved to photography. What was it that got you interested in photography?
I became aware of my passion for photography while I was studying architecture. My interest in photography started with my inner world’s influence, not out of curiosity. I’m always interested in carrying a camera and documenting surrounding architectural forms and cinematographic silhouette of the cities. Nothing has ever belonged to me like photography. The subjectivity of it motivated me to take photos and that brought me here. I feel so lucky to be able to move away from the stress of life through such an exciting way.
To some extent your work is influenced by Jean Luc Godard. How has his work influenced you?
The New Wave rejected the idea of a traditional story. There was a feeling that its storytelling interfered with the viewer’s ability to perceive and react to film just as they would perceive and react to life. The object was not simply to entertain, it was to sincerely communicate. I can not tell there´s something in my style that directly reflects the characteristics of that French movement but I search its notion and I’m influenced by the state of its normlessness.
What else affects and influences your work?
First of all, I enjoy observing, especially objects, their colors and textures. I always take notes of these visuals, which inspire me in my everyday life. I live in the most chaotic city of a strange country, a city that feeds me and determines the rhythm of my life. Living in Istanbul, unlike many people, gives me assurance, some kind of serenity. So the ongoing daily life inspires me the most and serves me as a starting point. I also take strong interest in other disciplines like fashion, cinematography and the art of painting and they have an impact on my work.
How important is light to you as a photographer?
I shoot on film and I always use natural light. Light and the way it shapes the human body is something essential in my photos. They also reflect a cold atmosphere that brings us to an intimate and melancholic state.
What are the main themes in your work?
Nothing I do has a purpose. People attempt to amplify and push the limits of reality. I believe I can surprise viewers by not presenting any quirkiness, yet still avoid being ordinary.
What is the role of a photographer today?
Of course it depends on the photographer. But for me I try to tell the truth about the human attitude, the truth as I see it through my camera. That’s precisely what captures my interest; the idea of diving deeper into the secrets of human conditions. So that anyone could dream about the rest.
How is art shaping society and ideas of beauty today?
The contemporary art arena that is monitored by the whole world is developing and evolving rapidly. Of course, the lines between art and daily life crossing into each other play a big role here. Therefore, it is getting clearer that not only art shapes society, also society has an impact on art.
What is beautiful for you?
I aim to represent the beauty of reality, yet some of my shots are quite surrealistic. I try to create delicately disturbing compositions while evoking striking surrealist images through realistic optical illusions. Everything seems carefully planned in minute detail yet the finished product delivers a spontaneous and natural attitude. This is definitely the main goal of my work, to create beauty .
What are you currently working on?
I’d kindly prefer to answer this question when that project will be ready to share with you. I don’t like to talk about the ideas that haven’t been realized yet. But I can mention as future goals that Sophie Bogdan and I will be creating projects as an artist duo from now on.