Ara Güler
A Play of Light and Shadow

Ara Güler is a renowned photojournalist who captured the essence of Turkey and the world beyond. The exhibition A Play of Light and Shadow shows both iconic and unknown parts of the artist's oeuvre. The show serves as a testament to Turkey's rich history and offers a glimpse into the ever-evolving Turkish identity.

Tophane, Istanbul, 1958 © Ara Güler / Ara Güler Museum.
Mount Ararat, 1965 © Ara Güler / Ara Güler Museum.
The Golden Horn, Istanbul, 1955 © Ara Güler / Ara Güler Museum.

About the exhibition

Through four sections, The Iconic, The Historic, The Ambassador, and The Personal, the visitor is immersed in Güler’s photographic practice from his iconic work as a photojournalist to his remarkable experimental work. His evocative black-and-white photographs show his profound love for Istanbul and Turkey. The exhibition will also be accompanied by the eponymous publication A Play of Light and Shadow, with contributions from several specialists in the field.

The exhibition is a close collaboration between Foam, co-curator Ahmet Polat and the Ara Güler Museum.

Old Galata Bridge, Istanbul, 1957 © Ara Güler / Ara Güler Museum.

About the artist

Ara Güler (1928-2018) was a prominent photojournalist and a driving force in Turkish photography. Celebrated as ‘The Eye of Istanbul’, his poignant black and white images of this city’s inhabitants, streets and docks remain his most celebrated works. Ara Güler immortalized numerous famous artists and political figures throughout his illustrious career.

Florya, Istanbul, 1948 © Ara Güler / Ara Güler Museum.


The exhibition of Ara Güler is the centrepiece of Kısmet, an initiative created and developed in close collaboration between Studio Polat and Foam. The multi-year project is inspired by longstanding cultural, diplomatic and economic ties between Turkey and the Netherlands. Kısmet delves into the diverse and intricate facets of Turkish visual culture, as seen through the lens of different generations of image makers.

This exhibition was made in collaboration with the Ara Güler Museum.

This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of main sponsor Garanti BBVA International Amsterdam.

Foam is supported by the VriendenLoterij, Foam Members, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, the VandenEnde Foundation and the City of Amsterdam.

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Ara Güler
A Play of Light and Shadow