A Profile of Selçuk PERIN:
are what you conceive yourself to be.
So I'm back!"
When do you learn right or wrong? Hey don't tell me that it is when you
are young and hanging off your mom's skirt or your dad's belt! The answer
is almost never!
Someone would have said;
life begins after 50. Iíd say learning process takes root at 50.
Born in Istanbul, a city of 385,000, on a snowy April day in 1950, I grew
up learning all its corners. Enjoying its beauty. Hanging off its tramways.
Looking at its skyline change and grow.
I would not trade a minute
of that knowledge, a second of its smell for all the money of the world.
I remember those parts of the city, which people lived in old houses.
The wood darkened by the assault of the elements of weather, sagging
to one side from age. Yet when you walked in, the warmth of the coal
or wood-burning stove welcomed you in a cold day and on a very warm
day protected you from the heat.
The Asian part of the city, now resembling a cement block was at those
days where all went for holidays, It is at that side that I spent 3
years of my tender youth going to school to St. Joseph high school.
With its joy and punishment that's where I learned off good and bad.
The respect of the other, the value of friendship. Yet there were very
bad days too! Especially Saturdays, when I watched my classmates and
friends file out the door to rush home and I had to spend time for one
or another reason doing arithmetic's! It was called retenue! It was
punishment for non conform behavior to the rules.
went by and I moved to Galatasaray Lisesi. A school, which's reputation,
had no borders and time limit. Two years there was all they could keep
me. Smile! Because that's true. Ended up finishing a decent high school.
But in this process of changing schools. I was already the proud owner
of two languages.
I grew and Istanbul grew.
I began to absorb life and Istanbul got crowded. The small town aspect
began to fade and the first signs of becoming a center. There were more
people on the streets, more cars. Buildings started to pop up at all
and every corner of the city. I must've been 15, maybe 16.
For a kid who could not stop asking questions, who could not stop being
intrigues and who could not stop learning it was Ali Baba's cavern.
At the time I had already become Turkish champion for all styles of
swimming and playing Water polo in the national team for youngsters.
I guess it is around that
time that I acquired my first camera. A black thing that did not have
much for controls, but took very good pictures. A Russian camera. The
bug was already flowing in my veins.
Again around the same
time I've told dad that I wanted to work summers. He said: "You
want to work? Ok. Tomorrow at the paper." He said. I was
going to get the surprise of my life. Dressed as the owner of son, I
took the morning trip with him to the paper. To my surprise I had to
wait until noon. A long, very long time for a young man full of energy
and a craving for learning! My first encounter with journalism started
that day. It is a long time ago! Almost a lifetime if we consider that
at some parts of the world life expectancy is still around 50 years
University. I was crazy about electronics. Two years and two full years
of working in the day with dad on the Durum Weekly and going to school
at night. With student strikes, barricades, police, tests with no students
or student without tests! I finally gave up my dream of becoming an
Doing one's military
service was mandatory. So at age 21 I applied for to be sent. They sent
me away laughing. No room for you until 1978. I was there. No school,
but work. I could not stop now. So I applied for a grant and obtained
and went to University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Not to continue my
electronics studies but to become a Journalist. A journalist who has
some kind of background that could be used in any and every place.
Pictures had become
a part of me. So as soon as I have arrived at school I did the rounds
on local papers and News agencies. UPI was to be those for whom I will
be taking pictures, covering stories for the next 17 years. In the United
States and later in Europe.
Life is short or long.
That depends how you conceive it. Hürriyet daily was a two-year
experience some might say should be regretful. I said full of insight.
Then life proposes you different doors. It's to you to push one and
go further. I have stopped journalism in 1987 and went along my life.
Doing several things. But, you are what you conceive yourself to be.
So I'm back. Better than before, better and more understanding than
Now I have a tool,
which I can use for the good or bad of the others. I choose to be contraversional.
Never liked to be a Yes man.
I look, I think, I see, and most important I say.
I say what I see, what I think and what I feel. I believe it when I
sometimes I write and at other times I'm taking pictures. I do work
too you know!
ne kahve ister ne hane;
Gönül muhabbet ister, kahve bahane "
heart wants neither coffee nor home,
The heart wants friendship, coffee is the excuse."
April 9, 1950