About Ara Güler, iconic images, and photo archives, with Claartje van Dijk and Tuana Pulak 

Known for his iconic black and white images of Istanbul, Ara Güler was a multi-talented photo legend from Turkey known for his reportages documenting the world. In this episode of Foam Talks, Foam moderator Yasemin Bağcı speaks about Ara Güler’s extraordinary oeuvre with curator Claartje van Dijk and exhibition manager of the Ara Güler Museum, Tuana Pulak. Together they explore the lifework of Ara Güler, spanning over 70 years, why he identified as a visual historian, his gigantic archive and his surprising personal work that is shown to the public for the first time.

Tophane, Istanbul, 1958 © Ara Güler Museum, courtesy of Ara Güler.

The episode ends with a ‘Photo Recipe’: a feature of our podcast where, in the spirit of Ara Güler, Tuana Pulak and Claartje van Dijk share a photographic instruction based on his practice for all the (aspiring) photographers who are listening. 

Visit the exhibition Ara Güler: A Play of Light and Shadow at Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam until 8 November 2023 or read about his work on our digital platform Foam Explore.


About the speakers

Claartje van Dijk is head of exhibitions and curator at Foam Photography Museum in Amsterdam. She has curated various exhibitions including Ara Güler: A Play of Light and Shadow, Mous Lamrabat - Blessings from Mousganistan, Bebe Blanco Agterberg – Theatre of Broken Memories, Vivian Maier – Works in Color, among many others. Previously, Claartje worked at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York as Assistant Curator, Collections. Over time Claartje has been jury of different awards, including PDN: The Curator Award, Critical Mass, and the Lucie Scholarship Program for The Lucie Foundation.

Tuana Pulak (Ankara, Turkey, 1993) is the Project Development and Exhibitions Manager at the Ara Güler Museum in Istanbul. She received her B.A in Design and Management from Parsons the New School for Design, with a concentration on photography history. Tuana began her career assisting and working for leading figures in the image making industry, such as Karla Otto, Karl Templer and Fabien Baron. Upon her return to Turkey in 2017, she worked for contemporary art galleries and arts and culture platforms, leading and executing numerous exhibitions and projects. Additionally, Tuana works as a freelance writer and researcher specialising in photography. She has been a writer for Holden Luntz Gallery since 2021 and is currently based in Istanbul. 


A Play of Light and Shadow

by Ara Güler

The exhibition A Play of Light and Shadow shows both iconic and unknown parts of Güler's work. The show serves as a testament to Turkey's rich history and offers a glimpse into the ever-evolving Turkish identity.

The exhibition is on display until 8 November 2023.

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Galata Docks, Istanbul, 1962 © Ara Güler Museum, courtesy of Ara Güler.

Edit and mixing: Irene Cassarini

A Play of Light and Shadow was made in collaboration with the Ara Güler Museum.

This podcast is part of Kısmet, a close collaboration between Studio Polat and Foam. Kısmet has been made possible by the generous support of the Mondriaan Fund.

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Foam Talks about Ara Güler, iconic images, and photo archives, with Claartje van Dijk and Tuana Pulak