Ara Güler, The Eyes of Istanbul

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In a magical month for photography in the Middle East, we are saddened to lose Ara Güler, a photographer who for years has been the world’s eye on Istanbul.

A life as an artist

Ara Güler (born Aram Terteryan) was born in 1928 to an Armenian family in the Beyoğlu district. The father is the owner of a pharmacy on Istiklal Caddesi and thanks to his knowledge he will be able to bring the young Aram into the world of the arts. What fascinates him most is the world of cinema and for years with one of the most legendary Turkish directors: Muhsin Ertuğrul. He detaches from the latter in 1950 when he discovers his passion for journalism.

Ara Güler

He was immediately hired by the Yeni Istanbul newspaper and shortly afterwards he also started working for the Hürriyet newspaper. His ability to fully capture the soul of Istanbul will lead him first to numerous friendships in the literary field, including Orhan Pamuk who in his “Istanbul” will choose only his photographs, and then to many international collaborations.

The Eyes of Istanbul

Since 1958 in particular he has collaborated with magazines such as the Times, the Paris match and Der Stern. His incredible ability then led him to be noticed also by Henri Cartier-Bresson who will recruit him in his Magnum agency and will push him to participate in real photographic prizes.

Ara Güler

With growing fame, Ara did not forget his country and for this reason he began several photographic tours to discover the hidden treasures of Turkey, giving new light to the entire country. His portraits of the great men of his time, both Turkish and non-Turkish, are also famous. Artists and politicians of the caliber of Dalì, Indira Gandhi and Nazim Hikmet.

Thanks to the sweet and familiar touch he gave to each photo, Ara Güler will forever be remembered as “The Eyes of Istanbul”. The photographer passed away on October 17 in his Istanbul, surrounded by what was his dearest treasure, to share with the whole world.

Ara Güler

Check out Güler’s original photos on his website.

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Ara Güler

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