The viewer’s relationship with urban photographs is distinct in that often, they are confronted with images of what they could have passed by, observed, participated in and yet didn’t. Zeynep’s images have internalized this inherent tension in such a way that the geometries that emerge feel formally coherent yet spontaneously poetic and evocative. These still-lives are a quiet manifestation of that surface of interaction between the individual—the human element—and the city, which is both hollowed and populated by it.
With this selection within the context of m-est’s issue on public space, Zeynep and I wanted to open up the issue of negotiating the public space of the city as a photographer—after all, photographers scavenge in the urban context, with and through their camera. This co-dependent relationship brings up issues of ownership and boundaries. The boundary between the public and the private, as well as the boundary that appears the second a camera appears. Zeynep’s photographs move away from a narrative and are all about her shifting position as an observer, participant, documenter, and consequently, a changer.—Merve Ünsal
Zeynep Beler, b. 1985 in Ankara, Turkey. She received a BA in Graphic Design from Bilkent University and an MA in Photographic Studies from Leiden University. Beler lives and works in Istanbul. zeynepbeler.net