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September - Ferit Kuyas.

Why do certain shapes, certain lines appeal to us through the ages? Why do certain combinations of space and form draw us, capture us, and others leave us still, unmoved and uncaring? The graceful slope of a vase or guitar may be said to reflect a woman´s hips or breast; but what of the strict modern lines that break our skies, that frame our horizons? We gaze at the shapes that we have created, trying to find shape of the things that we have not.

Ferit Kuyas’ constructive view is typical for his photographs of architecture, cityscapes, landscapes and people. Reducing the subject matter to a minimum, he captures the essence of it. His photographs tend to be very symbolic and reflect a sense of timelessness. Space, light and texture are his guidelines.

“In all my photographic work, I find the interplay of space, light and materials particularly important. Light makes materials come to life, and space without light is of no interest from the photographic point of view. Texture and surface characteristics – the essence of materials- form an ethereal link with industrial reality in these pictures. It is this which puts them to the borderline between documentation and pure emotion.”
Ferit Kuyas – Industrial interiors

Ferit Kuyas is completely self-taught as a photographer. At the age of 16 he received his first camera from his father. Studying architecture and law, and then holding a degree in law couldn’t prevent him from becoming a dedicated freelance photographer. ”What I could change if I could turn back time is my commitment to photography in earlier years. I guess I should have given more importance to photography, but I was forced by circumstances to get enrolled right after school, and I chose architecture.  On the other hand, I believe that everything a person does is the sum of the life lived before, i.e. what you achieve today is like a sum of what you did before. If that is true I’m fine with what I do.”

 In the beginning of his photographic career Ferit Kuyas travelled around Switzerland for eight years photographing industrial interiors. Many of the huge, empty buildings he documented were between 50 and 170 years old.

”I have always interested myself in things which show the traces of their past – ruins, old barns, ancient tree trunks, cemeteries. Old factories have a peculiar fascination for me. Inside them I feel like an archaeologist searching for relics of a bygone civilisation. And from 1987 to 1995 most of my time was taken up with this intensive search.”
Ferit Kuyas - Industrial interiors

Ferit Kuyas started taking assignments in 1989, specialising in architectural photography. His main clients today include architectural designers and advertising agencies. He also does editorial work for Discover, Newsweek and Condé Nast Traveller. In addition he works on his personal projects which include four new books. The two most advanced publications are Industrial Landscapes and Archetypes. Industrial Landscapes is a sequel to his first book Industrial Interiors. Archetypes is a series of very symbolic pictures in square format. Other projects are Cityscapes and a book he is doing with his wife. Both will take some substantial time to finish.

Ferit mostly works in medium and large format and has a wide range of camera equipment. For medium format he uses Hasselblad 500C with 50, 80 and 150 mm lens, Hasselblad 903SWC and Hasselblad ArcBody with 35 and 45 mm lenses. For large format he has a 4x5 inch Arca-Swiss with lenses ranging from 65 to 300 mm, and a Toyo 8x10  inch with lenses ranging from 165 to 450 mm. On rare occasions he also uses two Nikons with  20 to 200 mm lenses.

”For architectural pictures I usually work with large format equipment. I use a tripod and additional lighting when shooting interiors in colour, and usually short focal lengths. My standard films for b/w is Kodak Tmax 400, and for colour Kodak Portra 160NC. When shooting medium format I try to keep the camera handheld as long as possible.”

Why Hasselblad?
”As a young photographer Hasselblad was always the ”Blue Chip” photo equipment I just could not afford back then. But I also have another memory of it. Some of my all-time legends as photographers like Ansel Adams used it. So the value of the equipment was always linked to a higher artistic expression. Today it is a valuable tool for me, a tool with a soul. And I do the biggest part of my artistic work with it. To me the characteristics of a ”classic” Hasselblad picture are superb definition due to the lenses, and the square shape of the negative. For most artists the square negative is a big challenge because of its equilibrated shape. It takes a while and a lot of dedication to master it and to work with the square format in a natural way. In my opinion this shape works very well for symbolic, timeless and metaphorical images.” 

What about the future?
”I like doing exhibitions and books, and I would love to make more of a living from my work as an artist. Unfortunately, I am very critical with myself and with my work. I see myself as a patient person, but when I look at what I have achieved and what I would like to achieve I feel uncomfortable. I have so many projects I would like to fit into exhibitions and books. In fact, I would love to have my first exhibition in New York, the capital of photography.”

Kerstin Fiedler