EVERYTHING SHOULD BE UNDER THE SUN...
We have only one WORLD yet! If we destroy it, where else will we go?
Winter 2002: 8th issue - **2nd Anniversary**

"I wonder If..."

by Ayhan M. DUMAN

 

Profile & Statement

I was born in Turkey but since my father was  an M.D. in the Air Force, the family soon moved out to Naples/Italy and further on to Frankfurt/Germany where I received my basic education.


Ever since my childhood I was drawn to fine arts of all kinds, played the accordion as a ten year old, moved on to the piano and finally decided the electric guitar was more my cup of a tea.

Ayhan M. Duman, selfportrait and during one of his photography session


I started to draw and paint in the High-School, so I guess it was quite natural that I carried on to London/UK to study  Art & Interior Design at the Institute of  British Designers which was followed by the Gesamthochschule Kassel/Germany, where I received my Master of Arts in Industrial Design & Photo-Design.

Edison's


But I guess the main support came from my parents and sister, who is a graduate of Fine Arts Academy and my art teacher in the senior-high. We were lucky to have very good art teacher who took us to different museums in and around the Frankfurt area, showing us how the old masters painted and gave  insights on the lighting techniques these masters applied.


Whilst in London, where I was primarily to study art & design, I ran into Steve Wadey, a young composer & producer and we started making music and recording together,
much to dislike of my parents!... ( Maybe some will remember the title Black is Black? )


Although my father loved and practiced photography  and supported me in doing so, (giving me tips and allowing me to use his Contaflex camera, which was considered to be a jewel under the cameras then and even in our present days and every photographer's dream) It was during this period that my attention was drawn more and more to serious photography.


Couples


The photographers would  photograph the group and produce great images for the LP covers. What they shot at the studio and delivered later on the proofs were totally different,  I was really fascinated  and I guess this was the reason why I got into professional photography later in Germany, despite all the education I had received in a completely different profession.


So a few months after graduating I went into commercial photography & filming and founded the AMD Photo-Design Studio in Munich/Germany, first shooting fashion &
beauty for companies such as Burda and Avon, later moving into product photography and special effects, creating conceptual designs for the print and TV.


This was the late 70's and there were no super computers and graphic softwares at that time, so creating eye-catchers as a pro and a free-lance artist meant being innovative and knowing how to get there, (= guessing, experimenting etc...) creating the new and the unusual, may it be by use of filters, lighting, camera movements or unusual camera angles, collages, sandwiching the transparencies or applying the various photo-compositing techniques in or out of the camera.


And this meant starting off  with " I WONDER IF...",  then figuring out if that " IF " could be made possible at all, first sketching on paper then trying to expose the idea onto film. Some ideas could be applied without any difficulties but others took as long as six to seven months of pre-planning, sketching, testing on and on until all ideas could be exposed  on film perfectly.


Image titled "Sample.jpg" is such an example, created back in 1983. The second one is "Deep".


At first I hated myself for coming up with such an idea since I really had no idea how to execute the whole thing. But since I'd already announced to public that I was up to a new and fantastic effect (stupid me, I just couldn't keep my mouth shut),  I had no other choice but to carry on and hopefully come out with something useful after all!


So the model (who was a friend of mine) and I spent the next six months shooting tests, most of the time she sat there totally bored and me testing out various techniques.


After several weeks we both nearly went mad since we got nowhere, at times we got really close but that was just about the best achieved, nothing to show-off with !...


It was nearly six months later that I finally figured out a way, much by trial and error and it finally came off well and once published in The Art Director's Index and The Black Book , the image really aroused quite a turbulence world-wide since these publications are for the pros. This one is a 5x7" camera original, meaning there is no additional collage or montage applied, no image post-manipulation may it be conventional or digital, all tricks were
applied in-camera.


Today this image would cause no sensational reactions due to the availability of far superior digital imaging and other image post-manipulation techniques but back in those days this wasn't the case and I kept on receiving calls worldwide from other photographers and designers asking me how it was achieved!


It was ever so easy though once we knew how to, the trick was using french-flags (these are black light blockers or shaders used in the filming community) and semi-reflective mirrors!


Should someone still be interested in this technique, I'll be happy to explain.


The Nude & Stork


There are some some critics (and even some photographers !...) who feel that photography shouldn't be considered art since  photographers are just aiming the camera at some
object (whatever it may be) and simply reproducing the moment of the action.


This may be the case in reportage or news photography but even then there are "reproducers" and others who bring in the news in a very different shade of light and point of view!


Some critic studying my photographs once remarked " ...seems he is not just photographing the object but planning the whole scene before pressing the
shutter".


This is absolutely correct. But really, don't all do so?

The Cage


Unless I'm photographing an object out in the field where you can't do much to alter the appearance except controlling the mood and shading of light, I prefer to pre-plan and
sketch as much as possible in the studio, planning the mood I'm after and go even as far as laying out the image for a right-handed or left-handed audience.


It really makes a big difference!


Besides laying the image out precisely, color and light is the most important factors in my photography. As mentioned before, one really can't control the light much out in the nature but in the studio things are different.


Some use as many lights as they can get their hands on to illuminate the object,  simply making the scene bright enough so that the camera has enough light for a proper
exposure. Yet others try to make it look interesting by flooding the scene with coloured pools of light  and adding tons of props and  other useless junk!


I prefer to keep my photographs or digital creations as simple as possible, much like the simplicity of Japanese Art. Even the digital creations are mostly straight-forward, no typical digital effects or very little. Most of the time it's not possible to tell if the images are conventional (straight out of the camera, photographed on normal film) or digitally post-manipulated.

Holly


Many times my straight-forward conventional shots were mistaken for the digitally manipulated and vice-versa.


Image titled "Edison's" is yet another example of pure conventional photography, no digital imaging at all, this image consists of nearly 40 different components photographed seperately on film and composited on a single sheet of 4x5" film by means of masked multi-exposures.


And for the part of the lighting, I prefer to imitate the natural light, keep it soft and directional. Most of the time I work with a single light and add another one only if there's no other way out.

La Guardia


Works "Deep" ,  "La Guardia"  or "The Mill" are perfect samples of the use of lights and general simplicity of the images, even though these are partially computer generated,
the so called Mongrels.


Image title "Exhibition" is yet another example of simplicity, this one was created with help of Painter software, the Butterfly was digitally photographed and pasted in.


So in 1996 I was once again "wondering if..." some other lighting techniques could offer other effects and came up with a new lighting tool and called it "Magical Mystery Torch®" due to the really magical light it shed on the objects being photographed in the studio. (I must admit  that I'm a Beatles fan and their album Magical Mystery Tour!...)


This really wasn't a new light tool, just a mongrel of the filming technique "slit scan" used in the Stanley Kubrick film  "2001- A Space Odyssey" and the good old light
painting. But instead of creating streaks of light on film, my new formula produced one-of-a-kind moody/dreamy images.

The Mill Exhibition


These images are indeed one-of-a-kind since due to this lighting technique, no two photographs are identical, every photograph is indeed unique!


This is really very hard to describe and one has to see the big originals ( Fine-art prints at around 28x40"). The result of this time consuming "motion controlled light painting" are images which are Hamilton'ish blurry/soft and tend to melt together yet very crisp and sharp at the same time. No, I'm not putting anybody on!...


Imagine putting an old and blurry image onto a sharp one and just move them around slightly, letting the soft shadows arise. This is indeed Magic!


These images were also published in various periodicals and professional photography related books, were often copied by other photographers and used in the advertising, so
this style has become somewhat out-dated, although I'm really fond of it and still create images using this lighting tool. I'd have loved it if only this technique could be reproduced digitally, it'd save me some sleepless nights but this is not yet possible, no computer or software can imitate this effect. Maybe better so....


The images "Cevze", "Wood" and "Pot" are just few exampes of the images created with this magical tool.


Today, most of my conventional equipment has been replaced by hi-tech digital equipment with very high resolution and most likely these too will be replaced by even better ones very soon . Yet no matter how supreme the equipment can get, the pictures are made by the artist and  his/her imagination is all that counts.


Nude

I just hope my imagination won't  get clogged and that I'll be creative until the very last day of my life.

- - - - -


This issue dedicated to such distinguished poet & composer as (alphabetical order):
Nazim HIKMET & Ilhan MIMAROGLU

We have been celebrating our 2nd Anniversary.
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