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Inside the Same Dream: bringing together Ara Guler and Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar

Monitoring Desk

ISTANBUL: The Ara Guler Museum has reopened after being closed for months due to the pandemic. It now offers two exhibits: one that brings together a famous photographer with a prominent Turkish writer, and the other comprises photos of Istanbul.

Ara Guler is, unquestionably, Turkey’s most famous photographer. The celebrated Armenian-Turk called himself a photojournalist and did not believe in photography as an art form.

During his illustrious life, Guler worked as a correspondent for Time-Life in Turkey and the Near East, as well as receiving commissions from Paris Match, Stern, and the Sunday Times. He was also part of Paris’s famed Magnum Photo Agency. He photographed far and wide, travelling extensively and shooting luminaries such as Indira Gandhi, Salvador Dali, Maria Callas, Pablo Picasso, Alfred Hitchcock and more.

Shortly before his death in 2018, a modest but well-stocked museum in his name opened in Istanbul’s Bomontiada at the old beer factory’s basement, across from the courtyard entrance.

The museum had remained closed for months due to the pandemic, but reopened on September 1 with two new exhibitions. Visitors are welcome every day until 6pm, except on Mondays.

“Ayni Ruyanin Icinde (Inside the Same Dream)” pairs the photographer’s prints with quotes from the Turkish author, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, while “Hayalimdeki Istanbul ya bir Vapurdur ya bir Kus (The Istanbul of My Dreams is Either a Boat or a Bird)” brings together numerous photographs Guler took of Istanbul.

The courtyard and fountain of Sokullu Mehmet Pasha Mosque, Kadirga, 1988.
The courtyard and fountain of Sokullu Mehmet Pasha Mosque, Kadirga, 1988. (Ara Guler / Courtesy of Ara Guler Museum)

“Our architects did not stray from tradition [when building mosques]. They already knew the beauty and the nobility of what they built. That’s why they wandered around Sinan [the Architect]’s trail with the condition that they would sometimes go back further.” –– Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, Five Cities

Arnavutkoy, 1956.
Arnavutkoy, 1956. (Ara Guler / Courtesy of Ara Guler Museum)

“What kept the composition were the views, the architecture in as much as it remained, they were all ours. They were erected with us, they existed with us.” –– Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, Five Cities

Passenger boats on their way to the Bosporus, the Golden Horn, 1975.
Passenger boats on their way to the Bosporus, the Golden Horn, 1975. (Ara Guler / Courtesy of Ara Guler Museum)
Ortakoy (undated).
Ortakoy (undated). (Ara Guler / Courtesy of Ara Guler Museum)

“Many changes entered our lives in the past one hundred years. We discovered the sea and the Bosporus as if they were a new climate. No matter what rose garden we loot, we cannot add anything to the waters of the Bosporus. Unless, that is, the play of light, the blue expanse doesn’t change on its own, the rising and setting suns don’t turn these waters into golden and lilac mosaics….” –– Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, As I Lived

The Golden Horn (undated).
The Golden Horn (undated). (Ara Guler / Courtesy of Ara Guler Museum)
Eminonu, 1962.
Eminonu, 1962. (Ara Guler / Courtesy of Ara Guler Museum)

“Istanbul resembles those generously natured beauties on which all ornaments, all fabrics look good.” –– Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, Five Cities

A horse cart and a tram in Sirkeci on a winter’s day, 1956.
A horse cart and a tram in Sirkeci on a winter’s day, 1956. (Ara Guler / Courtesy of Ara Guler Museum)

“Hardship, pain, they are not as rare as you imagine them to be; especially once you shed [the finer things from] your life; we are ready to find you all kinds of desperation!” –– Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, As I Lived

The book that accompanies the exhibition “Inside the Same Dream” that can be purchased at the museum.
The book that accompanies the exhibition “Inside the Same Dream” that can be purchased at the museum. (Courtesy of Ara Guler Museum)
Portrait of Ara Guler (1928-2018) by Imogen Cunningham.
Portrait of Ara Guler (1928-2018) by Imogen Cunningham. (Imogen Cunningham / Courtesy of Ara Guler Museum)
Portrait of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar (1901-1962) by Ara Guler.
Portrait of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar (1901-1962) by Ara Guler. (Ara Guler / Courtesy of Ara Guler Museum)
Gallery view at the Ara Guler Museum, Bomontiada, Istanbul, Turkey.
Gallery view at the Ara Guler Museum, Bomontiada, Istanbul, Turkey. (Courtesy of Ara Guler Museum)