by Yvette Depaepe
Published the 14th of February 2022
Cicek Kiral has a diversified portfolio. She quotes : I still feel myself in my cocoon, I have the need to experiment with my technical and visual abilities to become the image maker I want to be. I try to get rid of boundaries. I am sure that this diversified tendency may lead to much better photographs in the future.
Let's listen to what Cicek has to tell us and admire her work through this interview.
'The Other Dimension'
Dear Cicek, please briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs.
It is not easy to describe yourself without losing your objectivity. I really want to avoid being perceived differently than I am. All in all, I am a productive person. Photography plays a major role in my life but I have many other hobbies too. I have always a book at hand. As a matter of a fact, I prefer e-books nowadays. What never leaves me is my mobile phone with my audiobook library in it. I sometimes I can listen bout 8 hours a day to an audiobook. This ends up to more than a hundred books a year. Last year I read about 120 audiobooks. Those many solo listening hours gave me quite a lot of room for photography. I got used to work on my images while listening to audiobooks. We make make a great team together. I sometimes draw and paint, knit and build. I have a pretty good carpentry equipment at home. One of my biggest pleasures is to re-design and decorate old houses and spaces. I play the guitar, though not so very often as in the past years as photography holds the first place now. I love good music too. By the way, I make my living for the past 28 years by teaching English as a foreign language. Last but not least, I am also a short story writer.
How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
It is quite natural to reflect yourself in your work. I was born and raised in Germany. I returned to my homeland when I was thirteen. So, my early years, I lived in Germersheim in Germany. A small city with a population of about twenty thousand people at that time.
There were many restored classical European style buildings. It was also a little green town where nature could be observed easily throughout the year. I was mostly out and got acquainted with flowers and birds as well as bugs and weather shifts from an early age on. I like to classify everything around me. I started to take notes of the first kind of flowers that bloomed in spring or the last kind of flowers before winter came, and also about many other things happening around me. That’s why I keep on returning to floral images from time to time. Although they are all beautiful in their natural selves, I always felt the need to add something to their beauty, my creative hand and vision.
'Light Touches Softly'
When I left Germany, I suddenly was surrounded by a much different culture with a different aura and roots. My European eye was introduced to an Asian world which in itself was not quite Asian but an altered form of it. Whatever I learned from living in Turkey for the past 37 years were building up and left marks every work I produce. My still life images are not quite the same as what you are used to.
'Little Steps into Spring'
'When It Is Dark'
Which are your most important experiences that has influenced your art?
As a keen observer, I was always drawn to art, may it be medieval or contemporary, it does not make a difference. As a matter of fact, I do not believe that the medium of art matters as well. What matters is the way you perceive it, how you interpret it, what way you choose to integrate it with your life and your consciousness and how you wish to implement it in your work. At some point I took images that I edited to match other mediums such as paintings.
'Waiting for Halloween'
I watched many films and documentaries depicting the medieval times. I visited museums of art in Vienna where I had the opportunities to see great art. Of course, it is obvious that it all had effects on me. My mother was very good in decorating our home. The general atmosphere our home was pretty dark with pieces of furniture that had to impress visitors and that caused my chiaroscuro still life images.
'Shadows and Wheat'
What first attracted you to photography?
The concept of photography itself mesmerized me from the beginning. Before I really got involved with photography myself, the sole purpose of it was to document events. There are only two ways to look back at the past : memories and photographs. But then I discovered that images could be edited. That was my breaking point. Every photographer holds on to one concept or genre. My aim is to ascend from taking photos to making photos. My 1x portfolio will be the first part of y journey into the wonder world of photography.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
It is mainly documenting the past and extending my mental visualization to share it with the world. The most appealing part is that unless you put your imagination into your frame, nobody can look inside your mind and experience what you see and feel.
I experience days when I feel less emotional and then I produce photography that is merely a visually compelling piece of art. Those days I only want to please the eye. I say the eye, yet it all starts with the need to please my own eye.
'Feel the Gloom'
You have your very own style but your work is very diversified. I see nature photographs, landscapes and aerial shots. Can you explain why this large range of styles?
As I still feel myself in my cocoon, I have the need to experiment with my technical and visual abilities to become the image maker I want to be. So, I try to get rid of boundaries. I am sure that this diversified tendency may lead to much better photographs in my future.
'Fly High in the Sky'
What is more important to you, the mood,/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
Some images have such mood that you do not look at any details concerning technical perfection. I think this works either way. Either your story behind the image must be compelling or it has to catch the viewers eye and keep it for some time, or you have to use your technical skills to fill in each missing aspect of your image. I think photography feeds our eyes, our soul or both. What else would a photographer want if their image has a great story behind it and there is no lack of technical perfection.
When I stroll through my images in my portfolio, it most often come back to this image below.
'The Fall Out'
The mood is the strongest aspect of this image. Every time I look at it, I think of something else going on. The mood triggers my imagination about the story behind it.
What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?
For me it is necessary to be part of a landscape or to have a kind of relationship with the person you portray to convey a meaning to yourself and to the viewer. The portraits you can see in my portfolio are mainly those of my daughter. I love taking portraits of her because we share certain common feelings which help to implement them into the image. The outcome definitely matters.
My landscape shots also are places that I'm used to visit. There are certain events connected to those places. This helps me to set the feeling of image. I took the image below during a hike late autumn of this year. Leaves were fallen out of the trees. The bare branches were reaching out to me while I was passing the trees. I wanted to implement this into the image. So, during editing I touched the branches in a different way as you can see.
'An Unforgettable Walk'
Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
When I work on still life photography, I have to prepare the location on the forehand because the background as well as the composition matter a lot. Safety is very important. I always take my precautions before I take my photos. When shooting portraits, the location is again very important. The most important aspects are the backgrounds and the light. This changes when you take candid images.
What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
I have three cameras, but I mainly use two of them. When I take still life images and portraits, I prefer my Canon 6D. When I am outside shooting nature of moving objects I use a Canon 7D Mark II. The third camera is a Canon 600D which is also my first camera. I use it with my students at school. I can give it to them without worrying so that they can experience taking photos with a camera rather than a mobile phone. My lenses: I have a Sigma Art 35mm, a Sigma 105mm Macro and a Canon 24-105mm lens that are quite sufficient for my needs.
What software do you use to process your images?
I use Photoshop to process my images and some plug-ins as Topaz labs studio two, Sharpen and de-noise as well as Portrait Pro. I’m still learning to process details.
Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
When I take still life images, I prepare my background first. Then I choose the vase and the flowers or other props. The next step is to set up the composition. When all this is set, I start shooting in manual mode. I prefer to use natural light, so most of my images are long exposures. I usually take multiple images. The final step is putting these images on my computer and choose the one or more that I want to edit. While I am adjusting the main aspects like contrast and light I decide on the mood of the image. Then the creative part starts. I use Photoshop and my plug-ins to shape the image as I wish.
What is your most important advice to a beginner in nature or landscape photography and how do you get started?
For beginners in nature, landscape, or any other type of photography I think the most important thing is to always carry the camera with you. The more images you take, the better you will understand your camera and the conditions which make good photographs. Another important thing is to watch and study lots of good photography. 1x.com is a great place to get inspired. To produce good art, you have to feed yourself with good art first. For a landscape photographer it is essential to spend time in nature. Beginners should know everything about the light according to the time of day.
Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
It’s very difficult for me choose some names. However, 1x has so many good photographers that it is highly recommended to scroll down the main gallery before following those who inspire the most. Of course there are some photographers that influence me more than others. For example Ben Goossens, Svetlana Melik- Nubarova, Joxe Inazio Kuesta Garmendia, Lorenzo Grifantini, Daniel Castonguay, Rick Sammon, Delphine Devos, Anette Ohlendorf, Luc Vangindertael, Hans Wolfgang Hawerkamp, Jens Krauer, Petri Damsten and Arnon Orbach. When I start doing something new, I usually prefer not to check out similar images by other photographers. I try to avoid becoming similar. As photography has expanded so much it is really difficult to come up with something new nowadays.
Is there any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a lot and why?
This image from Ben Goossens is so inspiring to me and represent the way and style I want my work to be. It is a stop to prepare myself.
'12h12 High time to take control over your life' by Ben Goossens
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?
It is important to set yourself goals for the future. I will retire in two years and devote myself full-time to photography. One part of it will be studio photography. I will take portraits of people, babies and families. This part of my photography will support me financially. Yet the part for myself will be definitely creative photography as best as it gets.
Describe your favourite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
'The Dragonflies Inside'
I really have a great collection of photographs at home. Most are not curated. I like them because as photographer they are connected to me in one way or another. The image above is very special to me. It is special because it gives me joy each time I look at it. The dragonflies give a flirtatious sensation. I rejoice.
What do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
I had acquired different accounts on different websites before I came across 1x.com. I immediately felt in love after having scrolled down in the gallery. My main portfolio is here. I like the way the images are curated. It helps to correct or compensate your shortcomings. It is so great to be a part of the world’s biggest curated online gallery.
Thank you, dear Cicek !
Çok güzel tebrikler..
Çok güzel kareler emeklerinize sağlık çok beğendim..
Çok teşekkür ederim...
Çok güzel kareler çok beğendim emeklerinize sağlık...
Teşekkürler Gülşen hanım...
William Trainor PRO
I am glad I took the time to view your wonderful portfolio.
Thank you for sharing your background (and the hobbies and interests that influence your work, Cicek)…Wonderful interview and portfolio!
Çok teşekkür ederim Emine hanımcım...
Ajith Gopinathan PRO
Such a pleasure to meet a great soul like you. We need more creative minds like yours. Every day objects and artifacts get transformed into a magical work. Well done Maestro !!
Thanks very much for your kind words....
Congratulations Cicek ... fine words and of course a great portfolio !
Beautiful work. I like your photos very much, Very inspiring.
Saskia Dingemans PRO
Wonderful work and interview, Cicek Many thanks to Yvette also.
Thanks a lot dear Saskia...
Miro Susta CREW
Excellent, brilliant photo work, congratulations Cicek. And big thanks to Yvette for this very interesting interview.
Thanks a lot....
Franco Iannello PRO
I recognize that Cicek has something extraordinary. Many hobbies and all creative. In a short time he manages to savor everything that fascinates him. The gallery embraces many branches of photography but what is striking is the identity of the author dictated by the great constructive creativity of the image by putting inside a piece of the mood, of the heart, of what he sees. Sincere congratulations to Cicek because inside each image there is real and imaginary life but which reflects reality in a different key. Thanks to Yvette for this wonderful Portfolio.
Thank you, Franco ... It was fine to put Cicek in the spotlights!
Arnon Orbach CREW
Wonderful, diversified volume of excellent works which are beautifully shot, processed, and presented. I love your gallery dear Cicek. Great and a well-deserved interview. My compliments also to Yvette for her important contribution..
Thierry Dufour PRO
Great work, splendid images, thank Cicek and thank Yvette for this magnificent interview !!!
Thank you, Thierry !
Thanks a lot 😊
Thanks very much dear friend ☺️
Lovely florals, incredibly creative work, thanks a lot for sharing!
Thanks very much 😊
Thank you der Cicek for sharing your wonderful work here, it is a joy for the eyes! And thank you dear Yvette for this amazing choice on your magasine!
Emel Sefer PRO
I watched with admiration. Good luck dear Cicek.
Susanne Jung PRO
Such beautiful work that I have often admired! Thanks so much for sharing, dear Cicek, and thanks to you, dear Yvette, for your always fantastic selection of authors in this magazine!
Cristiano Giani PRO
... I have been following Cicek's photographic journey for a long time, which inspired me a lot. I love all the pictures of him. Congratulations on the very interesting interview ....
Congratulations, dear Cicek ! It was a pleasure to interview you. Cheers, Yvette
Thanks very much dear Yvette 😌