Subjective Istanbul by Melike Koçak

With my artwork, I want to be able to make people sense the atmosphere of my photos when they look at them. And I also want people to sense something divine while looking at them.

Photographer Melike Koçak from Istanbul talks about her practice and how she uses the medium of photography to depict subjective relationships and life in Istanbul. Her work is driven by the mood, affect and atmosphere reflected in her images. Her images portray a very serene sense of loneliness or, possibly, of her personal desire to interact in some way with her surroundings - photography has become the medium with which she opens up her own view point to the viewer. Aside from her great work she also alludes to some fantastic pieces of work by artists and obviously knows her stuff.


Tell us more about you and your artwork. 

Hi! I'm Melike Koçak, from Istanbul. I take photos since the age of 15. Right now I'm 20. I study philosophy. I would like to become an established photographer and a photography academic.

How did you plan for this project? What was your creative process?

Those photos aren't directly connected actually. Their biggest common point is that I took these photos in a period where I felt like I lost the control of my life and my sense of reality.

For the creative process, I can say that as I usually do, I took these photos in very different places but while putting them all together, I tried to make sure that they all carry a common sense -in this case a sense of nothingness.

What work inspires or has inspired?

To begin with, I must say that Harry Gruyaert, Philip Lorca diCorcia, William Eggleston and the king Gueorgui Pinkhassov are my photography heroes. For me, they all found a different way in photography than the classic documentary and the storytelling cliché. And they are all "light benders". Also their photos are so damn good to look at. Also, I can say that to get some inspiration I always check the "Occultisme" by Robert Doisneau, "Midnight" by Arlene Gottfried and "Upstate Girls" by Brenda Ann Kenneally. These series makes me remember the power of photography in different ways.


Are there any artistic movements you enjoy in particular and why?

I am in love with the revolution Eggleston has made in photography. He broke through the limits of documentary photography and created a new medium. I love him. I also really enjoy the fusion of jazz and rap music which has started back in the 90s. To finish, I can say that I like the 20th century revolution in poetry.

Do you have any opinions or ideals underlying your art?

Yeah. With my artwork, I want to be able to make people sense the atmosphere of my photos when they look at them. And I also want people to sense something divine while looking at them.

Your work is so subjective. It’s about you and your struggle to form relationships with the environment and people. How personal is this body of work? You capture banality in a way which makes it feel serene almost dream-like. Was this intentional? Tell us more about Fabrika magazine.

I can definitely say that it's at least %70 personal. Because mainly I take photos for my self, for my struggle to get to know this world. And thank you for your thoughts on my work. I can say that I really try to create my own aesthetic which shows something more than you can observe in the objects just by looking at them.

Fabrika is a photography fanzine which aims to create a platform for young Turkish photographers and also to give a shout out to photographers that aren't very famous in Turkey.

Any words for aspiring photographers?

Know that photography is a way of expression as forceful and as wide as words. Also, please consider writing on photography in the future. Photography still don't have a solid philosophy.

Is there anything you’re currently working on?

Yes, I am currently working on a project about the aesthetic dynamics of Central Anatolia, which is a very determining region in Turkey.

Thank you so much for this interview. I wish you luck for the zine. I really like it.

Thank you Melike for the great words and even greater work.

View her work here.