‘The Eye of Istanbul’ documentary on photographer Ara Güler set for April 28 at CSUSB

‘The Eye of Istanbul’ documentary on photographer Ara Güler set for April 28 at CSUSB

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A documentary film on the work of famed Armenian-Turkish photographer Ara Güler, featuring a question-and-answer session with its producer and writer/project consultant, will be presented by Cal State San Bernardino’s Center for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies on Thursday, April 28.

The Eye of Istanbul” will be shown in the College of Education building, room CE-105, at 7:30 p.m. The film screening is free; parking at the university is $6. Parking Structure East is located near the College of Education building.

“You cannot find a single person in Turkey who hasn’t heard of Ara Güler,” said Ece Algan, director of CIMES and an associate professor of communication studies. “He is considered a legend and a national treasure. He is both an artist and a photojournalist whose work has captured visually the last half a century of the history of Turkey, especially the city of Istanbul. That’s why he was nicknamed the ‘Eye of Istanbul,’ which this documentary gets its title from.

Eye of Istanbul poster. Click on the image to view a larger version.

Click on the image to view a larger version.

“The producer and writer of the documentary, who are accomplished journalist and photojournalist themselves, will present the documentary and help us understand the important historical events and times of societal transformation as reflected and interpreted through Ara Güler’s photography,” Algan said.

The documentary tells the story of Güler through the culmination of his retrospective exhibition in Istanbul.  Güler began his career in 1958 working for the Turkish edition of the American magazine Time-Life.

Some years after, he met his colleagues and legendary photojournalists Marc Riboud and Henri Cartier-Bresson, with whom he became part of the circle of the news agency Magnum. This launched his career internationally, which involved photographing many important figures such as Brigitte Bardot, Maria Callas and Pablo Picasso, among others.

From the poor workers of Istanbul to the goat herders of Anatolia, from the portraits of famous artists the likes of Picasso, to the Israeli/Palestinian conflicts, Güler has captured the essence of the second half of the 20th century.

Güler says he thinks of himself not as a photographer but as a historian who has captured the lives of people and major historical events since the 1950s. His beloved Istanbul is a secondary character in the documentary as his photographs have captured the soul of the city for more than 60 years.

In “The Eye of Istanbul,” Guler’s riveting life and art is revealed through his photographs, cinema verite moments, films and interviews.

The Q-and-A with the film’s producer, Ümran Safter, and writer and project consultant, Nezih Tavlaş, will follow the screening.

Safter is a veteran journalist who lives in Istanbul, and has two decades of experience covering Turkey and the Middle East, starting her journalism career in 1996. She has worked at several media outlets and television stations including CNN Turk, Kanal 7,TRT Turk and Al Jazeera Turk, both as a correspondent and news editor. Some of the issues she has covered include the Iraq war, the Palestine-Israel conflict, and the conditions faced by Syrian refugees at the border.

She has also produced a number of television documentaries and television shows; some of which include a feature on life in Guantanamo Prison, the story of victims of the Bosnian war, and the conditions faced by Iraqi refugees in Syria. She is the founder of Ekim Medya Company.

Tavlaş took up photography while he was a journalism and public relations student in the 1980s. As a reporter, his news photos have been published in both national and international magazines and newspapers. Though essentially retired after an 18-year journalism career that took him to war zones such as Iraq and Somalia, he continues to take documentary photos from street and daily life. His work can be viewed online at Nezih Tavlaş Photography.

For more information on “The Eye of Istanbul” screening or on CIMES, contact Ece Algan, director of CIMES, at ealgan@csusb.edu or (909) 537-7469.

About Cal State San Bernardino: Set in the foothills of the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains, CSUSB is a preeminent center of intellectual and cultural activity in inland Southern California. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015-2016 academic year, CSUSB serves more than 20,000 students each year and graduates about 4,000 students annually. For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.

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