Hi! I am Emre Çakmak. I was born in Izmir,Turkey, 1996. When I was a child, I was trying to find myself in novels, playing football and walking around the city with my best friend; my late grandfather. My first photograph is a memento of those weekend walks. I was 7 years old, I took portraits of my mother and grandfather towards sea. I spent my childhood within this circle: books, football and my late grandfather. I lived with my family in Izmir until 2010. Afterwards, I passed military high school exams and started Maltepe Military High School. Thus, I had to leave my family at a very early age. My current identity is the shadow of the years I spent there. After I graduated from military high school, I enrolled in Gazi University. While I was struggling to adapt to civilian life and the school, I came down with stage IV testicular cancer. One and a half year of my life passed with treatment and rest. While my life was getting dull and days were iterating themselves, I decided to get into photography. Now, I am continuing my school, and I am interested in street photography. I started to find myself, whom I was trying to find in novels in my childhood, in photography too.
For me, street is not the name of a specific place but is the name of a style. It expresses me the moments when I felt my heart is free. Photography means to me the same as what does a poem means to a poet. In other words, it is the transformation of language into images. It is not only a visual memory or document, but also a form of expression. Photography gives me the chance of discovering the world and myself. To discover, one should search and those who discover are only the people who search intensively. This is the search for an aesthetic that appeals to the eye and the search for a story that touches to mind or heart. Every search is a kind of delirium. When I search for a scene to take it’s photo, I know I am in a state of a delirium but I don’t hear it. As soon as I see the appropriate view for taking a photo, I start to hear the whispers of my soliloquy. Thus, that moment becomes my decisive moment. I start existing in that moment with my body and soul. Photography becomes some kind of a shield that protects my back from the paw of past and my chest from the paw of future.
Photographs are the visuals that come into view after the interaction of the photographer with time and place. However, it is impossible for anyone to be in the center of a place unless they are in the center of time. That’s why, photographers must firstly be at that period of time. Where I turn into myself, there I can take photos. It may work everywhere, but not everytime. I have taken photos in the big cities of Turkey like Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara and Bolu. Since my family lives in Izmir and I study university in Ankara, I generally take photos in these two cities. There are some advantages of taking photos around the environment where I live. For example, it is easy to guess what would happen, because I know very well the people, animals, climate, activities that are performed in that area. On the other hand, shooting photos in the cities and places that I have never been before has some advantages too. To give an example, I feel more curious while I am rambling around. I delve into everything and everywhere with curiosity because it is not possible to guess what would a strange place present.
I started photography to break the vicious circle after my illness. I was not aware of what I was shooting at those times.After some time, most of my photographs started to make no sense to me, so I decided to start street photography in 2019. The life I live and reality had started to become strange to me. And then, I found it hypnotizing. As it is said, truth is stranger than fiction. I think that reality communes with nature. That’s why, I try to take photos at the moments when I think that everything is processed in a most natural way. I can’t say I take photos routinely. I try to make place for photography in the middle of daily hassle. I utilize every moment photographing things as soon as I have the chance. I try to analyse photographs if I don’t have the opportunity to take photos. I enjoy the works of photographers such as Alex Webb, Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Bruno Barbey, İlker Karaman.
Every moment has a reaction in human heart. People keep them in their hearts. I started to visualize the reactions of moments in my heart. Therefore, photography has become a mouth to my scream and has provided me the chance of expressing myself. Photography motivates me to make a search both inside of me and around the world. This search keeps human soul alive. I stay alive while I keep searching, and I discover both myself and the world. Besides, I take photos to make myself and others feel my existence. My photography is the proof of what I have been witnessing in life. It expands the lifespan of the time that is fading before my eyes and I postpone my death to the end of the world by my photos. As Umberto Eco said: “To survive, you must tell stories”.