Ara Güler

Fotoğraf Sanatçısı, Gazeteci

16 Ağustos, 1928
17 Ekim, 2018
Istanbul University Faculty of Economics

Photographer, journalist, story writer (b. 16 August 1928,  Istanbul - d. 17 October 2018, Istanbul). As a son of a pharmacist with Armenian origin. When he was a child, he was affected from movies too much and started to take acting courses from Muhsin Ertuğrul.

While he was a student in high school; he worked in all fields of cinema sector and continued to the theater courses of Muhsin Ertuğrul. He wanted to be a director or a playwright. In 1950, while he was studying at the Economics Faculty of Istanbul University; he started to work for “Yeni İstanbul” (T.N. New Istanbul) newspaper. He assumed the Near-east photo-journalist position in “Time-Life” (1956), “Paris-Match” (1956) and “Der Stern” (1956) magazines. During those years, he joined the Magnum Agency. Photography Annual magazine, published in England, introduced him as one of the seven best photographers of the world in 1961. He was the only photographer who was accepted to American Society for Magazine Photographers (ASMP) same year. Camera magazine, published in Switzerland, had a special issue just for him. In 1964, his photographs were used in “Young Turkey” by Mariana Noris and published in USA. His photographs were published with Richard Avedon's photographs in “Photography of the World Anthology” that was published in Japan ib 1967.

His works were exhibited at the “Gazing at People's Lives” photo exhibition in Canada, 1967; “Ten Masters of Color Photography” in New York Gallery of Modern Arts in 1968 and at the Fotokino Fair in Köln, Germany in 1968. His photography book “Türkeyi” was published in Germany in 1970. His art photographs and art history photographs were published in the “Time-Life”, “Horizon” and “Newsweek” magazines’ literature pages under the copyright of Skira Publishing House in Switzerland. He photographed the book named “Hagia-Sophia” by Lord Kinross in 1971. He opened hundreds of exhibitions all over the world. He took the photographs of numerous artists and famous persons from Bertrand Russell to Winston Churchill; from Arnold Toynbee to Picasso; from Salvador Dali to Orhan Veli Kanık and Tarık Dursun K. And he made interviews with them. Besides, he made a documentary film named “Kahramanın Sonu” (T.N. A Heroine’s End) on the disassembly process of the Yavuz Armored Ship. 

As one of the masters of Turkish photography, Ara Güler, has a privileged place in world photography history. He became popular in the documentary category. Most of his photographs are kept in international collections like Paris National Library; Nebraska University’s Sheldan Collection, USA and in private collections in Boston, Chicago and New York. Besides, his photographs are exhibited in the museums in Ludwig Museum in Koln and Das Imaginaire Photo Museum. Besides many exhibitions, his last exhibition named “Ara’dan Yetmiş Yedi Yıl Geçti (T.N. 77 Years Past by)” was opened to celebrate his 77th birthday in Fotoğrafevi.

He was honored with the title of “Master of Leica” in Germany, 1961. That same year, he was selected as one of the “Seven Master Photographers” in England and the best photographer by Istanbul Journalists’s Association in 1979. He was presented an honorary plate on his contributions to the media by the Directorate General of Press and Information in 1981. He received the honorary award of the Office of the Prime Minister, Directorate General of Press and Information for services in promoting Turkey overseas in 1991. He was also honored with the “Honorable Mention” by the President at the opening of the International Press Centre. He received the “Successful Communicators Award” and “IFSAK’s (T.N. Istanbul Amateur Photography and Cinema Club) Photographer of the Year Award”, “Successful Communicators Award of the Istanbul University Faculty of Communications” in 1995, In 1999, he received the “Honorary Award for Top Communicators” from the Marmara University Faculty of Communications, the “Aydın Doğan Foundation Visual Arts Grand Prix” and “the Burhan Felek Services to the Media Award” by the Turkish Association of Journalists in 1999 and he was awarded “the Order of Merit” by the Armenian Patriarchate on 2000. He has given the title of “Legion D’Honeur, Officer Dees Arts et Des Letre” by the French government. In 2004, he was given the honorary doctorate by the Yıldız University. There exist six doctorate theses on him, one of which is a thesis in Germany for the Munich University.

Devoted his life to photography, he proved his talent in writing with a story book named “Babil’den Sonra Yaşayacağız” (1996), which includes eleven stories written in Armenian and translated to Turkish and two stories written in Turkish. His other book named Yeryüzünde Yedi İz (2002), which narrates the stories of seven persons “who want to live on a world of their own and the moments that they photographed their worlds”.


STORY BOOK: Babil’den Sonra Yaşayacağız (1996), Yeryüzünde Yedi İz (2002).

PHOTOGRAPHY ALBUM: Öster om Eufrat: Fırat’ın Ötesi (Sweden, 1960), Young Turkey Metin: Mariana Noris (New York, 1964), Topkapı Sarayı - Sultan Portreleri (1967), Turkei Terra Magica (Munich, 1970), Hagia Sophia Metin: Lord Kinross (New York, 1972), Yaratıcı Amerikalılar (1975), Harems Chene & Hudson (London, 1976), Fotoğraflar (1980), Fikret Mualla Metin: Turan Erol (1984), Bedri Rahmi Metin: Prof. Abdullah Kuran (1987), Ara Güler’in Sinemacıları (1989), The Sixth Continent Metin: Halkarnas Balıkçısı (1991), Demeures Ottomans de Turquie Metin : Stephanos Yerasimos (Singapore, 1992), Sinan: Architect of Süleyman the Magnificient (Edition Arheaud, Paris 1992/ Edition Thames and Hudson, London and New York 1992), Living in Turkey (Albin Michel, Paris 1993  / Thames and Hudson, 1993, London / New York; Archipelago Press, Singapore 1993), Eski İstanbul Anıları (1994), Bir Devir Böyle Geçti: Kalanlara Selam Olsun (1994), Yitirilmiş Renkler (1995), Yüzlerinde Yeryüzü (1995), İstanbul: İstanbul des Djinns (Fata Morgana Montpellier, France 2001), 100 Yüz (2003), Retrospektif - 50 Yıl Fotojurnalizm (Istanbul-Bremen 2004), Ara Güler (2005), Ara’dan Yetmişyedi Yıl Geçti (2005), Beyaz Güvercinli Adam (2007), Ara Güler ( Hachette, 2007). 

REFERENCE: Ara Güler’in 70. Yaşgünü: Ara Güler’e Saygı (İstanbul ve Hamburg 1998), İhsan Işık / Resimli ve Metin Örnekli Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (2006, 2007) – Ünlü Sanatçılar (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 5, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013),  Gültekin Emre / “Ayvalık’ı Gezerken” (Cumhuriyet Kitap, 31 Ağustos 2000), Ahmet Taha / “Ara Güler’in Objektifinden Yedi Efsane Adam” (Zaman, 7 Ağustos 2002), Ara Güler (2005), M. Sadık Aslankara / “Yazarların Yüzleri” (Cumhuriyet Kitap, 20 Ekim 2005), İhsan Işık / Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (2006), Enis Batur / Ara Güler’in Sırrı (Zaman, 2007).

A photograph of Beyoğlu by Ara Güler

sample 2

sample 3


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