There’s something beautiful about Esmahan Özkhan‘s photography. There’s a solitary nature to her pieces, something distant and encapsulated by a vast environment. It’s one against the world – an object, an animal, or a person. But where coldness should lie, there’s a strong feeling of longing. This longing invites us to push forward, to walk beyond the boundaries we see around us. Esmahan asks us to recognize these boundaries, these walls, oceans, and windows, as boundaries merely of the mind. If we push hard enough, we can explore beyond the confines of our minds.
Check out Esmahan Özkhan’s work at:
What sparked your interest in photography, and when did you know you would pursue being an artist?
I began to be interested in photography about six years ago. At that time, there was not any particular person or situation [that made] me [realize my desire for] photography [and] thereby take pictures. In this sense, I can describe myself [as] a self-taught photographer. I assume that being ambitious and eager in taking actions and accordingly implementing what you want to do are basically important points in order to improve yourself. For me, at the very beginning, I had felt a bit curious about how I could take a well-qualified [photo close to what’s] seen in many magazines. Therefore my adventure starts with a small compact. I learn[ed] by myself some processing/edits in photos via Photoshop on which I further record[ed] a remarkable improvement. Throughout my experience when I start[ed] to get some positive comments and a good number of likes, I [understood] that pictures I really like[d] to be taking in accordance with my mind and fancy are at the same time attracting people from several perspectives. This situation makes you automatically continue the works you really like. On the other [hand], if it [didn’t], I probably [would have] start[ed] to evaluate my works’ quality [without experimenting with] my photos. If it is what you like, you must go on. In short, if you have an inspiration from such nature, emotions, spaces, stories, you should do the best for it. The rest [will come].
What other artists and art forms have influenced you and your work?
In general I am inspired by creative works, techniques as well as stories in novels, movies or music/songs. Here, songs are the best tools for me to increase my motivation.
Can you describe your current artistic process, habits, techniques you have formed?
Really I don´t think I am [an] artist. I watch [artists] all around the world. I don’t really feel [like] an artist. So… I [don’t] have much special techniques. I only love dark and shadows on my photography.
Is storytelling important in your photography?
Yes. To me, a photograph is just like a story teller, [in] which each unique piece gets visitors to the climax or [uncover] hidden parts of their own dreams, hopes or any feelings out of their [lives]. [Photographs] should at least take us from the past, or send to the past, or they can sometimes emerge as a dream for other people.
What are some of your favorite books, poems, authors?
I love the books of Herman Hesse and Stefan Zweig. I have read a large number of them. I think I could provide an important inspiration for my works through that kind of reading, which depicts an individual’s search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality.
Can you put into words the way you have evolved over time as a photographer?
Well, I started to take photos when I had a Canon a520, which is a compact camera. Time after time I tried to understand what photography is for me. A Camera is just a tool to achieve success thereby complete and satisfy your soul. As I am like a third eye who follows me, I need to tell more stories.. about a boy or girl or an old or young individual. I want to create more regarding whoever you are, whatever you like. I want to be where the story is.
Where do you turn for motivation and new sources of inspiration?
İnspiration [is] everywhere around me. Sometimes I find my inspiration when I walk alone the streets, sometimes while I am listening to a new track, sometimes watching a movie, reading a book, etc. Most of time I try to move away towards hills, steeps or any highlands. [Nature] is a good solution to take fresh air and reopen your eyes and mind.
Discuss the role of community and gallery showings, etc to your growth as an artist.
I think that photography is a popular and an enjoyable facility for many people. If you like taking photos while you travel, you can take whatever you want. To reach a digital camera and take a picture around is a fast and easy way. I started to show my photography on Deviantart, and it helps me [connect with] new creative people. That kind of platform can bring you creative perspectives.
What do you think is more important for your craft: passion, dedication, or raw talent and can you elaborate on why?
For me the most important thing is (not only photography but also other artistic platform) passion. If you have passion, you can create dedication, too.
What is a project, or theme you are currently working on, or something that is currently taking your attention, that you are aiming to explore in your work?
I want to open my first personal exhibition in the near future.