One of the world’s most renowned photojournalists, Ara Güler was also known as the “Eye of Istanbul.” Regarded as a world artist, Güler left behind portraits of many influential names from Picasso to Hitchcock and memorable pictures of Istanbul.

When one mentions Ara Güler and Istanbul, one really talks about a man and a city, bound together by an inseparable connection. Ara Güler, who stated that photo-journalists "write history with their cameras," was someone who filtered Istanbul’s past dating back thousands of years through his eyes and transformed it into photography. The fishermen, ferries, old women feeding stray cats, trams, horses, workers, seaside coffeehouses, and pigeons in his photographs have earned themselves a place as the unrepeatable images of Istanbul in the history of both the city and art. As a witness who rose against oblivion, Ara Güler granted the future with the scenes of his lifetime, wandering the coasts and streets of Istanbul. In his own words, he was a "follower of the truth." Galata Bridge would converse with him and the seagulls would confide in him. Architect Sinan, who adorned Istanbul with mosques, fountains and aqueducts centuries ago, was the “man who came to whisper in Güler’s ears through pigeons.” He visited Sinan’s mosques more times than he could remember, admiring the light inside them. His love for Istanbul, a city where he was born and raised and which he described as “hiding a jewel in every corner,” was so strong that he never stopped taking its pictures throughout his life.

Snow fell on Istanbul, and Ara Güler photographed a city in white. He photographed fishing boats as the fish rushed through the waters of the Bosphorus. On another occasion, he photographed people, sleeping with their backs against one another in coffeehouses open until the morning. It was as if saz players, tinsmiths, illuminated ferries, and coach drivers all took their places in Istanbul for him. That’s why Ara Güler thanked Istanbul with the eye of his heart every time he pressed the shutter button.
During his years as a journalist, Ara Güler favored three of his interviews the most: Noah’s Ark, Mount Nemrut, and the ancient city of Aphrodisias. However, he reached a universal visual language by photographing the people of Anatolia in their settlements with a realistic perspective. Many photographs Güler took in Turkey bear great significance not only as historical documents but also as sociological findings.

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