If you have hesitation on a matter, even if you don’t leave it, it leaves you eventually…
We became familiar with him at his young ages. He wasn’t even 18 when he held his first exhibition. He added new things to his art, his world perspective during elapsed time. Pari Dukovic, who took place in the world’s best 30 photographers list last year, is one of the most important talents that our country raised and presented to world.
First of all, who is Pari Dukovic? Of course we know and follow you, and are proud of your success, but can you give us a couple of brief information about yourself for our readers who are away from photography?
I am 1984 Istanbul-born. I attended elementary school in Zapyon Greek High, and high school in Eyuboglu College. Being born and raised in Istanbul had taught me a lot. The rich cultural structure and historical heritage of Istanbul do not only inform a person. This cultural structure and heritage contributed a lot to the style that I created in photography aesthetically. After I graduated from high school, I started my graduate education in Rochester Institute of Technology, USA for my photography education. I worked in different fields of photography during this period. Towards the end of my training, I realized that I am prone to photos which reflect the emotion of documentary photography. I completed my education in first rank of my field, and then I moved to New York, to this special city where I dreamed of living in from child.
We know that you started photography at young ages. What attracted you in photography?
The most important factor why I started photography was my father’s interest in it. When he was very young, in summer breaks, he used to work in historical photo studio, Foto Sabah. My father’s interest in this subject also started at his young ages. He presented me with a Russian product, old Zenith camera when I was at the ages of 8-9. I started to lay the foundations of my photography knowledge due to this completely manual camera. At those ages, taking photos and display a moment alone made me very happy as a little kid. However, both in the photos I took back in that date and in the photos I have taken today, I tried to reflect a feeling. I couldn’t reflect that to my photos at the beginning. I succeeded to be able to reflect my emotions to the photos I take, as I get to know myself and correlate better with my camera.
How old were you when you started your photography education?
At the beginning, it was just a hobby for me. I started to gain information by reading the books related to this subject, and talking with people who know about photography. I attended a course at IFSAK (Istanbul Photography and Cinema Amateurs Club) when I was 14. That course helped me a lot in technical sense. I started the darkroom photo printing there for the first time also.
Do you attribute your success to your talent or your ambition to work?
Success doesn’t occur with only talent. It is very important to be determined, patient, and hardworking, as well. Success can only be achieved with the combination of all these. Moreover, human relationships are important, too. But beyond all of these, the most important thing is to know what you want to do in life very well and go after it. If you have hesitation on a matter, even if you don’t leave it, it leaves you eventually. In other words, one definitely should know very well what he wants to do.
Photography is a field of art that is constantly in interaction with technology. But, I guess you’re still working with classical methods. What is keeping you away from digital?
I’m still working with photographic film. I really like the texture of film. Films are being washed in darkroom and printed. I can acquire very nice hues in black-and-white photos, and pastel colors that are similar to colors used by painters in colored photographs. Of course, these kinds of decisions are a person’s aesthetical choices. This work environment suits my photos and style. Digital may be more suitable for different photography styles because occasionally, you want to obtain a scene that is very sharp and beyond reality. Digital photography is a technological evolution. It has absolutely no bad, photography damaging aspects. However, photographic film is much more suitable for my pieces and working system.
You were on the list of Photo District News PDN-30, last year. This should be an important event for a photographer, especially for a young and talented photographer like you. What are your thoughts about this?
It is really great to see my name in such an important list, but it is more important to be able to continue. I am the kind of person who always thinks forward.
You have received a lot of awards, your photos took place in important magazines like The New Yorker, New York Magazine, New York Times Magazine, Esquire, and GQ. How does it feel to see your pieces in such important publications, to shoot for these magazines?
Working with these magazines provided me to diversify my camera to many interesting areas. I took photos of a lot of politicians, famous actors and actresses, in US. I got involved in various fashion and documentary shoots.
Can you tell us about the fashion shoot you made with New York Magazine?
New York magazine chooses a photographer from all around the world, and runs an extensive project to photograph the fashion weeks in New York, Milano, and Paris, every year. Last season, I took part in this project, and the whole magazine including the cover photo has been reserved to my photos. I have joined to 65 parades in three weeks. During the parades, I had a chance to capture deviant shots with dispensations. Additionally, I made portrait works with Nicki Minaj, Salma Hayek, Juliane Moore, Beyonce, Anna Wintour, and Giselle. That work aroused a lot of interest all over the world. Shutterbugs can find some of the examples of this work on http://www.paridukovic.com/kisskiss.htm.
We see traces from Turkey, from Turkish culture when we look at your work. Your work named “Kirkpinar” which provided you to get in to PDN-30 list is one of the most important examples of this. Its contribution to the introduction of vicinity and culture of Kirkpinar is huge. Are you planning to continue using Turkey, and the culture of this geography in your works?
I want to continue doing it. I will present my photos partaking in Kirkpinar project, in Istanbul as an exhibition soon. This project will be materialized as a book also.
Do you evaluate photos by only visually, or thinking that every photo has a story?
Photos are both visual and emotional, and also mystical. The themes you see, emotions you feel in a photo are all about how the observer establishes the connection between his world and the photo. I adapt a photo with an emotion, a sense when I create it. Emotions beyond mine may reflect to that photo, sometimes.
It seems like you always succeed in the fields you make a grab for. Do you think this is a coincidence or do you recognize the fields you’re talented at and follow them?
It’s not actually recognizing the fields I’m talented at. It’s about the fields I’m interested and drag me in. Of course, most of them are things that have visual parts, but it is about a serious wish, a desire than a coincidence.
Are you planning to hold an exhibition in Istanbul in the near future?
I am, but I haven’t prepared a certain program for the time being. There is a huge activity in galleries in Istanbul in recent years, and I would like to visit and keep the tabs on.
What is your aim, what are your plans thereafter?
I’m on the stage of taking the first steps of a couple of new projects, I will start publishing the first photos of these project in magazines next year. Besides that, I will also evaluate the proposals coming from galleries in New York, next year.
We thank you on behalf of Noble and Royal Magazine. We wish you a continued success.
Thank you very much.