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If you have spent any time at all in the photography galleries of deviantART, you are no doubt familiar with the dynamic and striking images posted by photographer Erdal Kinaci .  Not only do his images eloquently describe humanity as he encounters it, they do so with flawless technique and finesse.

Erdal Kinaci is a veteran photographer who has shot film for over twenty years and began shooting digital in 2002.  Born in 1966 in Malatya, his fascination with visual arts began even before primary school when he took to his mother's oil paints.  In fact, though he is renowned as a photographer, his paintings have also been displayed in exhibitions.  When he was living in Istanbul, he was one of the founders of the Photographers Union at Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty, where he received his bachelor's degree. He was also a member of IFSAK (Istanbul Amateur Photographers and Cinematographers Association) at the time.  Kinaci has been living in Anamur since 1990 where he serves in an administrative position in the health sector.  A a member of MFD (Mersin Photographic Society), he has instructed photographic composition in several clubs and organizations.

Winner of National Geographic International Photography Contest 2006 in "Human" Category:
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The Interview
Special thanks, go out to alperyesiltas, who translated my questions into Turkish for Erdal and then translated the Turkish responses to English for me!  Thanks also to the turkiye group and to ucmorlale, who assisted alperyesiltas!

For how many years have you been doing photography, and how would you describe your evolution as a photographer?
My interest in photography started more than 20 years ago. I started to look at photography as "photography" during college years. I came to see things I knew to be true were actually wrong while attending basic photography courses at IFSAK. Later on, we started Cerrahpasa Photography Club; during this period my point of view changed as a whole.

Still, photography is such a thing on which you need to keep changing/improving your point of view.  For example, some photograph which left you in awe only three days ago, now looks not special at all and makes you grumble how people need to change their points of view.

Speaking technically, I used b&w film for years, and I believe I achieved my photographic evolution with it.  But I discovered digital photography in 2002, and since then I have kept taking both manual and digital photographs.


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Describe some of the important influences and inspirations that have helped shape your vision, whether they be cinema, photography, general art, literature, people, etc.
Especially while shooting un-disabled-life series, I witnessed very interesting, very sad lives. I learned a lot of things. This project improved both my photography and my profession in the medical field.

How important to your livelihood (income) is your photography work?
About ten years ago, an advertising agency contacted me about their wish to use my photography in their calendar. I was so happy that I was about to give my photographs for free. I have been preparing articles and photographs for three different periodicals nowadays, though I can't quite say I earn a living from photography.

I don't take shots for commission; for example, I won't accept an offer to shoot a party or such an organization, but if I were to be asked to shoot historical places in Aleppo or Damascus, I would hit the road before the talk was over.


Who are some of the deviants who have inspired you, either socially as friends or artistically?
The users HoKosTo and Creeps suggested deviantART to me. I am happy to be a part of this community. deviantART is quite dynamic, and to be honest it is nice to be free.

What subject matter do you prefer to photograph?
Any subject including humanity excites me. I love shooting people's lives from far lands. I would like to photograph everyday life of people who live their religion intensely, such as Taliban.

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What are your favorite tools of your trade as a photographer?
I'm using Canon EOS 5D as a DSLR now, it's full frame, especially fast and has a great noise profile. But I'm having trouble with keeping it's sensor clean. It's sensitive, you have to protect it well.

Again, I'm using Canon L series lenses:
- Canon 16-35 f2.8 L : Expensive, but I think it's worth its price.
- Canon 70-200 f2.8 L : Expensive and heavy weight but I think these are acceptable. Considering its focal range, it's a pretty bright, fast lens in lower light situations, and especially sharp.
- Canon 50 mm 1.8 : Because of it's f number and price, I think it must be in everyone's case.
- Canon 400 mm f 5.6 L : I don't think I use this much, but I can say it has a well, ergonomic body. I heard that orniphotographers prefer this lens.
- Sigma 150 mm f2.8 macro : One of the best macro lenses I've ever used, great performance for the price. Not only macros, it's also great in portraits.


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What does photography mean to you? What is its most important aspect, which makes you want to go out and shoot? What is center to your creative experience?
Photography is a purpose in my life. You know, there is a saying "do you eat to live or live to eat?"  If I project this question on photography, I am one of those who live for photography. Photography is a top priority (of course excluding my family) in my life.  I can easily leave my job or the place where I live, for the sake of photography.  As for roaming around.. I already do.

I think the most important aspect of photography is the story it's telling. A single photo with a story is great but it's unusual and usually means no more than a brief "well done" to a photographer. I think the work must have a story and a purpose.

For example, a perfectly composed nature photo may look beautiful, but I don't think it adds something to either the photographer or the observer. When photographer includes some details/hints about the place or the time, a good photograph may come out. Instead of saying "Here is the mountain and the sun goes down behind", photograph must be able to say "Here's the highest mountain in Anatolia... the people of here eat this, wear that."

To summarize, real photography is documentary, in my opinion;the rest is fun.


How would you describe your work?
I think a photograph is a result. What you see in it is more important than what I want to show you. In this aspect, a description like "in this photograph I tell you - - -" is wrong. But I can say that I always try to catch the most flawless photo. Because in addition to the story-telling and purposeful photography, I wish to tell those stories more powerfully to you.

There are photos that ends wars you know. I want my photos have an impact like that. I work for that.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconbazzn:
bazzn Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2009
lol
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:iconseenew:
seenew Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2009  Professional Photographer
I can't believe he calls his work documentary. It's one thing to composite images in something more commercial or finer-art, but the label of "documentary" carries a lot of weight and shouldn't be so liberally applied to such fraudulent imagery.

National Geographic has gotten lazy.
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:iconhasandopdolu:
hasandopdolu Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2009
fevkalade. Zevkle takip ediyorum.
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:iconrobots1humans0:
robots1humans0 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2008
hes been arrested by turkish police because of those photos
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:iconnicomondrian:
NicoMondrian Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2008   Photographer
i've been searching the reason of the arrest, cant find anything very liable... is it because a photomontage? how can they arrest you for that!?
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:iconzvegi:
zvegi Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2008
Wonderful interview and absolutely the best artist
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:icondynasourx:
dynasourX Featured By Owner May 22, 2008  Professional Photographer
His photographs are so powerful.
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:iconibystyle:
IBYstyle Featured By Owner May 13, 2008
turkiye'nin gururu:)
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:icontystnad:
tystnad Featured By Owner May 1, 2008   Photographer
I didn't know there interview until Meredith linked to this one in her journal.
I think I am have a powerful feeling, maybe jealousy, because what Mr Kinaci said in this interview can not match more perfectly my conception of life and the tremendous way of sharing it that is photography.
I thank you for this, Elinor (if I may), and Mr Kinaci.
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:iconrainyface:
rainyface Featured By Owner May 1, 2008
begeniyle takip ediyorum, tebrikler..
i love his works, congratulations..
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:iconkeepkeep:
keepkeep Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008  Student Photographer
erdal kınacıya burdan selamlar:) üniversitemizede gelmişti kendileri:)
Reply
:iconmelissah:
melissah Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008  Professional Photographer
This is my favorite news article in the entirety of deviantart.

This is well deserved. Im so proud to have him here...he is my most inspiring, most looked up to photographer.

thank you so much. the language barrior has always impaired me from expressing just how moving his work is , although im sure he hears it from impressed, moved people all the time.
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:iconequivoque:
equivoque Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008
we are lucky to have him sharing his talent on deviantart. thanks for your kind words!
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:iconjacac:
JACAC Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2008
t h a n k s . f o r . t h i s . a r t i c l e . i t . m a k e . m e . p r o u d . t o . t r y . t o . m a k e . p h o t o s
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:iconequivoque:
equivoque Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2008
isn't he wonderful?
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:iconjacac:
JACAC Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008
f a n t a s t i c ....
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:iconumiterdem:
umiterdem Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2008   Photographer
:worship:
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:icontoledophotographer:
toledophotographer Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2008
It is nice to learn about a great artist and photographer. I am always grateful to read wonderful interviews with amazing artists. It was so kind of him to share some wisdom about what makes a great photograph.
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:iconalexjhh:
AlexJHH Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2008   Photographer
Top interview, and expresses my sentiments in words. Thanks for sharing :)
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:iconwanxpy:
WanXpy Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2008
:) Nice int.
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:iconsinbur:
sinbur Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2008
Thank you Elinor for the interview :rose: A wonderful choice.
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:iconglitterdarkstar:
glitterdarkstar Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2008
He is absolutely stunning.
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:iconequivoque:
equivoque Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2008
He is!
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:iconmymosa:
Mymosa Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2008
Thank you for this interview ! :rose:
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:iconpomstar:
pomstar Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008
A good read!
Cheers to erdalkinaci and equivoque
:D
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:icone-volve-e:
E-volve-E Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008  Professional General Artist
Thank you, Elinor, for this.

It has been really great to read and get to know more about Erdal Kinaci.

I never had the chance to speak with him, and to read his words, get to understand more & better where he comes from in his creative process & life visions, it is priceless.

It adds so much to us, his admires and Art driven people.

Way to go..

Eduardo
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:iconequivoque:
equivoque Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2008
you are welcome, but really it is a pleasure for me to be able to read what these fine artists have to say on their works!
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:iconerdalkinaci:
erdalkinaci Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008
Thank you very much : )
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:iconequivoque:
equivoque Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008
you are most welcome. so many appreciate your wonderful gallery.
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:iconculturequest:
CultureQuest Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Elinor, this is a truly fantastic interview, and Erdal's words and his photographic images are extremely inspiring. Thank you for your role as interviewer and writer, thanks to George Harrison for translating, and thanks especially to Erdal for sharing himself with us so freely!

It says a lot about the dA community to have photographers and artists of his caliber among us. I feel humbled!
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:iconequivoque:
equivoque Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008
Each time I do one of these interviews, I learn so much about the artist. Sometimes I'm surprised. Sometimes I had already guessed at what I learned (to a degree). In any case, his is an extraordinary gallery, and we are fortunate to have him sharing in this community!
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:iconculturequest:
CultureQuest Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Yes, definitely!
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:iconanarella:
anarella Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008
Erdal is my favourite photographer on DA. I love his human, sensitive pictures. He is, with all words, a great artist.
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:iconnuclearseasons:
NuclearSeasons Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008
:worship:
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:iconequivoque:
equivoque Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008
isn't he great?
Reply
:iconnuclearseasons:
NuclearSeasons Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2008
yes he is. :nod:
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:iconmasada885:
Masada885 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008
very well conducted interview on an amazing person and photographer. Erdal has great views on the purpose of photography... something I can look up to.
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:iconmtrobyn:
mtrobyn Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008
:star::star::star::star::star:
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:iconrhapsouldize:
rhapsouldize Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008
yeah!!!
Reply
:iconequivoque:
equivoque Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008
:blowkiss:

i've been mostly offline today!
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:iconzvegi:
zvegi Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008
:clap::clap:
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:iconcameradude:
CameraDude Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008
These interviews are wonderful and a pleasure to read.
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:iconequivoque:
equivoque Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008
i always learn so much from reading the interview responses!
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:iconintao:
intao Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008
Excellent article! Great photographer!
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:iconalicjarodzik:
AlicjaRodzik Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008  Professional Photographer
wonderful selection !
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:iconhaikman:
haikman Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008  Professional Photographer
purely memorable quality photography.
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:iconoblaky:
oblaky Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008
superb. thanks for this!! :clap:
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:iconequivoque:
equivoque Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008
he is great, isn't he?
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:iconoblaky:
oblaky Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2008
great indeed. the photos are for one very very beautiful, which would be enough in itself; but there's also this incredible, honest storytelling and spontaneity in them.. a true magician of photography.
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:iconequivoque:
equivoque Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2008
i liked what he said about wanting to get high quality images so that he could tell the stories powerfully.
Reply
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