ISTANBUL (A.W.)—Tosbağa Street in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district will be renamed in honor of famed Istanbul-Armenian photographer and photojournalist Ara Güler.
The street is home to the Güler family apartment, “Güler Apartmanı,” where Ara Guler lived for several years and continues to work from until today. According to Istanbul-based bilingual Agos newspaper, the Istanbul municipality’s decision to rename the street in honor of Güler came despite the pervasive practice of rejecting proposals to rename streets in the city.
Güler is an award-winning photojournalist, commonly referred to as “the Eye of Istanbul,” whose work relating to art and its history have been pervasive in Turkish and Western media.
Originally a film student who studied under Muhsin Ertuğrul, he eventually abandoned cinema in favor of journalism and, in 1950, while studying economics at University of Istanbul, started working as a photojournalist at the Turkish newspaper Yeni Istanbul.
In 1958, Güler became the first correspondent for Time-Life’s Turkey branch, which opened the door to publication in a number of other international magazines.
In 1961, he was hired by Hayat magazine as its chief photographer, and during that period met Marc Riboud and Henri Cartier-Bresson, who recruited him to join Magnum Photos. His work continued on to international acclaim, appearing in exhibitions in Germany and New York.
He has been the recipient of a number of awards, including Turkey’s Photographer of the Century Award, in 1999; Master of Leica, in 1962; and France’s Légion d’honneur. He has also conducted interviews with such famous historic figures as Salvador Dali and Winston Churchill.
Today, his work can be found in the National Library of France, in Paris; New York’s George Eastman Museum; Das imaginäre Photo-Museum; Museum Ludwig Köln; and Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery.
Güler’s philosophy on photography attaches great importance to the presence of humans in photography and considers himself a visual historian. According to him, photography should provide people with memory of their suffering and their life. He feels that art can lie but photography only reflects reality. He does not value art in photography, so he prefers photojournalism.