Looks that affect
Why is the photograph of the woman looking out from behind the wired window so effective? Behind the white wire a black head in a blue head scarf, is that the reason for the visual effect, or is there another frame in there focusing on its own agenda? Or is it perhaps because of the symbolism depicting the shut-inness of the woman looking out through life, secure from foreign eyes? The former makes it a good image, latter an “effective” one.
Just like the Yemenite vendor. The tiny shop resembling a street cupboard may be from a past era with its dagger and thick belts hanging from the doors and stacked on shelves in the back. Eventhough with the modern awning… Is it the time-traveling of the photograph, its autenticity, its uniqueness which whispers the photographer’s presence that makes it effective? Or the human factor of the vendor, tired and depressed, squatting in the narrow space of the shop with a gaze flowing out of the frame and seizing the whole of the image. Thus conveying a psyche that can be experienced by anyone anywhere at anytime.
The man travelling with a camera brought to his own people first the earth, then the strange trarditions and then the people and the different lives. Of every image to be special and interesting is a thing of the past. What discriminates a photographer from someone taking a picture by the cell phone? Obviously that he or she can see and appropriate the chagrin, the tragedy of others. That is, donning the intellectual’s shirt designed by Edward Said…
For Süleyman Gündüz is someone never encumbered by medicine nor geography. Dentist, politician, sociologist, NGO volunteer, and photographer…. His efforts in supporting victims manifests itself sometimes in founding societies and collecting donations or sometimes participating in diplomatic negotiations and sometimes donning personally his white coat and working away the impoverishments And his camera always at hand is an instrument to show everything he witnesses in Sudan, Phalestine, Yemen, or Mecca. In Phalestine for instance, each time his lens turns to the rubble and dust of the demolished houses it also captures a woman in the frame. For he knows well that the lives broken alonside the breeze blocks can only be comprehendible by the wrath of a woman.
Images from Sudan and Yemen are actually powerful with the mood in their eyes and their stance who are in search of water. As stated before, when photography excells in technical things and captures the humanist aspect only then it goes beyond the observations of a traveller. Traveller thus becomes the photographer.
We may not know what makes Süleyman Gündüz a medical or political person but why he presses the shutter button is obvious. He can’t be satisfied by just watching life passing by; he takes photographs to share the look in people he has encountered. Or so it seems.