Ara Guler: Being Armenian is a privilege

World-renowned Turkish Armenian photographer Ara Guler’s exhibition opened today at the Armenian National Art Gallery. The exhibition will be open to public for the next three months. More than 100 photos taken at different times and different corners of the world are on display. Ara Guler, who was present at the opening ceremony, said he will gift the photos to Armenia.

On March 2, 2012 Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan took a picture of Ara Guler during the Culure and Arts Grand Awards in Istanbul. Erdogan took a camera from a photographer and snapped a shot of Guler as a show of respect. It was at the same event that Guler was named the photographer of the century.

Guler, nicknamed “the Eye of Istanbul” or “the Photographer of Istanbul,” was born in Istanbul in 1928 to ethnic Armenian parents. He studied at the local Gentronagan Armenian High School. At a press conference in Yerevan the photographer spoke about his Armenian descent.

Guler’s pictures have been displayed at various exhibitions throughout the world, he has authored a number of books. Guler interviewed and took photos of notable politicians and artists as Winston Churchill,Indira Gandhi, Maria Callas, John Berger, Bertrand Russell, Willy Brandt, Alfred Hitchcock, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso, William Saroyan, Sergey Parajanov and others.

Ara Guler is considered the founder of photography in Turkey. A survey conducted in 200o included him in the list of 10 most famous Turks in the world. It’s worth mentioning that according to the Turkish legislature, all citizens of that country are considered Turks.

Photography is not an art, it’s something different, Guler told reporters in Yerevan. “There is something fake, something artificial in the art, which is absent in photography,” he said.

Asked whether his Armenian origin ever created obstacles in his career, the photographer said: “Being Armenian is a privilege.”

In response to a question about the Armenian-Turkish dispute, Guler said: “If there is something I hate in this world, it’s politics.” “Damn all politicians of the world,” the photographer said.

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