Engin Basa: Photographer of the week

by Editor Yvette Depaepe

Engin Basa is a most talented photographer.  His masterly work succeeds very well in capturing the atmosphere of the traditional life in Turkey.  He always uses the light with a great creative feeling for interesting compositions.  His story telling pictures are outstanding.  I invite you to read more about the man behind his photographs.


Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs.
I got interested in photography in the 90s and have been pursuing my photography passion professionally since 2005. I performed product and catalogue shootings for many magazines and companies. I made studio and family albums on requests. But I gave up all my professional work 3 years ago. For the last 10 years, I have only been organizing photo trips. We have a photo group of about 5,000 people called "VİZÖRDEKİ HAYATLAR" on Facebook. I used to take pictures while I was travelling, now I’m travelling to take pictures. I am an IFSAK member. (Istanbul Amateur Photography and Cinema Society). I participated and succeeded in many national and international competitions and exhibitions.


How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
Which are your most important experiences that has influenced your art?
I have been intrigued by photography since I was a child. I loved the smell of the products in the dark room, I was impressed by the enlargers and soon worked in a photography studio as a young boy.  Life stories affect me.  Every picture should have its own story.


What first attracted you to photography?
The start of digital photography in Turkey… I got bored of what I was doing at the time. I was the sales and marketing director of a publishing house. I resigned and started taking photos. Then I created a group on Facebook and it just kept on going from there.


Describe your overall photographic vision.
I love the fact that every photo has a story, even a landscape photograph. I love to play with light and shadows. I love portrait photography because the body language and expressions are very important to me.



Your work is very diversified but you have your own style, whatever the subject is.
What is more important to you, the mood,/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
First of all you need to know your camera very well. You need to know what you can do with it, what lens you need and train yourself. But keep in mind that you have to take the picture once you have the spirit.



What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an
observer?  Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
Before I go out to take photos, I take into consideration the weather and decide where to go. I always pay attention to the light and love to shoot at dawn or sunset hours. Most important to me is to know everything about an area before going to shoot.

“Reaching God”

What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
Nikon D 7200 body, Tokina 11-16 mm 2,8 AT-X PRO DX II, sigma 17-70 mm f.2,8 , Nikon AF-P DX 70-300 f.4,5 

What software do you use to process your images?
Photoshop CS 5 ,  Dynamic HDR

Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
Our group “VİZÖRDEKİ HAYATLAR” has been up for almost 8-10 years now. We are touring around Turkey and planning to go abroad in 2019. Nearly all people attending to our events have a profession. They all took up photographing to relax and have a good time. We organize about 2 trips a month. Though not doing it professionally, I just do what I love the most to do.

“woman making sugar candy”

What is your most important advice to a beginner in Photography and how do you get started?
First they need to investigate what equipment you should buy to start with. Going to a course and learn everything about framing, light, toning is very useful.  Essential too is to know their equipment and learn how to use it.  Maybe they will photograph everything at first, but will discover their own style in the end. A lot of training is a must.



Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography? 
The old Istanbul photos taken by Ara Güler and by Rarindra Prakasa in Turkey inspired me a lot. The way they use light, colours and composition were enriching to me.  And of course, I want to mention the incredible street photographs by Cartier Bresson.




Is there any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a lot and why?
All the work of  Ara Güler

Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
Travelling and making people love photography… I believe this will save our world. Whether it is Art or a hobby…


Describe your favourite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?

The winter conditions can be very harsh, especially in the east of Turkey. I took this photo  in Kars.  This village is very poor and villagers shovel snow to prevent their roofs from collapsing. They all are very welcoming. After I took pictures, they invited me tea and dinner. I never will forget this woman’s eyes. and I love it.

“challenging life”



Is there anything else you wish to add  and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
1X is the world's best photo site in my opinion. I didn't  participate to any competition for 5-6 years, but I feel very happy when my work is published on 1x.  I follow everything almost every day. I always check what’s new.  I really enjoy it.




Thanks for giving me this great opportunity.
Best regards,
Engin Başa

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