Derya Yazar - Exploring the Magic of the Light Is the Inspiration for My Photographs (Turkish Photographer)

Derya Yazar

I have always wanted to be famous since my childhood. An actress in a cinema film or glorious stage lights has always charmed me. Geography is destiny, which is really correct. I had dreamed to marry a man who loves me so much and be happy since I grew up. I married at the age of nineteen and gave birth to my son at twenty. I have had a hard but happy life.

1. Tell us more about your background and journey.

I was born in 1971 in Erzurum, Turkey. I am married and I have a son. I live in Cappadocia. I am an expert of Health Management and an expert of Fine Arts. I am a retired nurse. I teach photography to people that want to learn how to take photos. I act as a jury member in international photography competitions as well as preparing social responsibility projects. I voluntarily undertook the mission of photography representative of Cappadocia.

Photography means breathing and happiness to me. According to my, I have accomplished important achievements in photography. First, I wrote a master’s thesis on “Use of Photography in Health Sector and Its Importance in History”. Second, I gave art education to the patients who were diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder while I was working as a nurse in the Society Health Centre in Nevşehir. 

I transformed my photographs into black and white sketches and guided the patients in painting them in the colours and designs they wished. I pursued the colours that they used. I negotiated with doctors and psychologists of the patients that had changed the colour choice. Patients whose prescriptions were changed started to have milder attacks. 

At the end of this project, it was observed that the attacks of the patients that were diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia could be controlled and those patients could be reintegrated into society. Two exhibitions; composed of my photographs and the paintings of the patients, named “Exhibition of Photograph and Painting-Silent Colours of Cappadocia” and “Exhibition of Photograph and Painting-Silent Colours of the World” raised awareness of the use of photography in the health sector. These exhibitions took place in numerous universities and presentations and forums were organized.

I have won more than 300 awards and acceptances. I was entitled to AFIAP (Artist-FIAP) in 2017 and EFIAP  Excellent-FIAP) in 2018 by Fédération Internationale de l'Art Photographique, India Hon. Fellowship in 2019 by India Sigma Academy of Photography and honour fellowships by photography organizations in numerous countries around the world. My works have been exhibited in many group exhibitions. I have performed fourteen solo exhibitions.  

2. When did you decide you wanted to be an artist?

I have always wanted to be famous since my childhood. An actress in a cinema film or glorious stage lights has always charmed me. Geography is destiny, which is really correct. I had dreamed to marry a man who loves me so much and be happy since I grew up. I married at the age of nineteen and gave birth to my son at twenty. I have had a hard but happy life.

It was when my son left home to go to the university that I became aware and question my purpose in life. This questioning led me to activities that may be considered marginal in the region I live. I joined activities related to art such as folk dance, acting in theatre plays or singing in choirs. I dealt with painting intensively for three years.  I realized that I had become a good copyist of painters. Therefore, I inclined to the art of photography so that I could produce authentic works. 

I had a turning point in my life at an unexpected moment. I suffered from a sudden incident of an embolus in my brain stem. Half of my body became paralysed. I was unconscious for a long time. I had to have MR scanning many times. Being in a bright and noisy room is too difficult. There, my best friends were the photographs that I had taken. 

I decided to make my way with a photograph if I could get healthy again. I went to Istanbul to get a master’s education in the field of photography and video at the age of 45. Those two years contributed a lot of things to my life. As a woman who lives in a small city, I could have my voice heard in the world thanks to photography.

3. Is it a financially stable career?

I believe financial stability is a situation that changes according to individuals. According to my philosophy of life, everything does not have a money value. If you mean an income on a regular basis, I earn hardly anything from photography. However, I spend a lot of money on education, equipment, travelling and some other thing during my journey of understanding and improving photography. 

4. Who is your favourite painter, photographer/artist and why?

I was impressed by William Eugene Smith in photography history. I like his passion for photography and the works he left behind. I follow in his footsteps in my works.

5. What is your inspiration for creating art?

Exploring the magic of the light is the inspiration for my photographs. It is important for me to leave a mark for the future by combining today’s people with our historical wealth.

6. What piece of advice would you like to give to future aspiring artists?

I recommend them to read about art movements, analyse paintings of the ancient period, Renaissance, medieval, impressionism and later, study works of photographers who left a mark in the history of photography, watch films that are considered as art. Starting with mimesis in the first place, they would reach catharsis as they decide on their own styles.  

7. Which is your favourite book and why?

The book “Living, Loving and Learning” by Leo Buscaglia that I read when I was twenty was a good start for me in exploring myself and understanding my environment.

Derya Yazar

Derya Yazar 

Turkish Photographer

Master Of Fine Arts, AFIAP, EFIAP, Hon.FSAP, Hon. PG.NG, Hon.APF, Hon. F.TPAS, Hon.PIPC, Hon.FPMP, Hon.Adv.PPI, CMP.PPI, Hon.CPE, Hon.M.GCPC

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Interviewed By: Nishad Kinhikar

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