The “Eye of Istanbul” was a Turkish-Armenian

The “Eye of Istanbul” was a Turkish-Armenian

Esteemed photographer Ara Guler was born in Istanbul in 1928. Guler  was of Armenian heritage. He studied at the local Getronagan Armenian High School. His father ran a pharmacy on the prominent Istiklal Avenue. His father’s business gave him access to a wide circle of friends from the art world of the period.

Ara Guler’s early contact with this world encouraged him to embark on a career in cinema. During his high school years, he took part time jobs in movie studios and attended drama courses held by Muhsin Ertugrul, the founder of modern Turkish theater.

He abandoned cinema in favor of journalism, joining Yeni Istanbul newspaper as a photojournalist in 1950.

In 1958, Guler became the first correspondent for Time-Life magazine’s Turkey branch. Time-Life job was followed by Hayat magazine where he served as its chief photographer.

During 60s, he met Marc Riboud and Henri Cartier-Bresson, who recruited him to join Magnum Photos.

Guler’s work continued to international acclaim, appearing in exhibitions all around the world, in elite venues in France, Germany and New York.

He has been the recipient of several awards, including:


  • Turkey’s Photographer of the Century Award, in 1999
  • Master of Leica, in 1962
  • France’s Legion d’honneur.

Guler’s archive contains some 800,000 photographic slides.

He has also conducted interviews with such famous historic figures as Salvador Dali and Winston Churchill. Guler took pictures of Winston Churchill, Indira Gandhi, Marlon Brando, Sophia Loren, Salvador Dali, Federico Fellini, Pablo Picasso, and many other celebrities

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 in the USA.

Guler’s philosophy on photography ascribes great status to the presence of humans in photography. According to him, photography should provide people with memory of their suffering as well as their life. Guler considered himself a visual historian.

World-renowned Turkish-Armenian photographer Ara Guler, nicknamed the “Eye of Istanbul,” passed away on 17 October 2018 at the intensive care unit of the Florence Nightingale Hospital in Istanbul. He was 90.


Examples of Ara Guler’s photography


This article originally appeared on EverythingTurkish

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