Yalçın Varnalı was born in Adapazarı in 1966, now lives in İstanbul, Turkey. Being focused on long exposure seascapes and landscapes, he tries to find simple, almost minimalist compositions.
Below you will find an inspiring interview with this passionate artist and an astonishing gallery of black and white seascapes that will blow your mind.
Tell us about something about Yalçın Varnalı Photography?
I started taking photographs in 1987, when I was a student at the Medical Faculty. My first camera was a ‘SLR film camera’, but because of the difficulty of my program, I couldn't continue to shooting. It was a very short period, but I remember that the photography was really influenced me. I started again in 2006, but this time I was more serious. I followed some photography workshops and I have been involved in a project and have been a part of some expositions and presentations.
In 2007, thanks to internet, I discovered the long exposure technique. I was fascinated from the concept of recording ‘consecutive moments’ in time. Since then, I only make photographs with this technique.
What’s your creative process like?
As I mentioned before, my favorite subjects are seascapes and landscapes using long exposure techniques. My aim is not to capture reality as we all can see or experience and these types of images display surreal scenes in which the eye is unable to see without the aid of such a technique.
I like to do some exploratory trips and try to find the compositions which are already in my mind. Because I need some equipment (camera, tripod, lenses and ND filters) for my long exposure shots, I have to know a little where and when I will do it. It also depends of luminosity, the weather the sky and the overall scene. Due to the weather and light conditions, it’s not rare to go to the same place in consecutive days. Shooting moment is really important, and I think I do my best when I work accompanied by a friend, preferably who is not a photographer. And finally, because I like to capture the movement of ‘the water and the clouds’, depending to composition, getting wet is a part of process.
From the idea to making it all possible, to have the raw material is indispensable. I tend to favor minimalist square compositions. There is always a post processing to do; when you know it’s ready, it is a great source of enjoyment. One of the most important things in post processing, is to know when to stop.
“Better is the enemy of good." Voltaire
Where do you find inspiration and why you like photography?
I live in İstanbul, in a city sometimes melancholic, but mostly chaotic. I always loved the sea, the coast, open spaces and simple materials. I'm fascinated by empty places with weird atmospheres. When I photograph the sea, I never tire of listening the sound of waves and wind. For me, it’s an isolation, a therapy and an escape from the chaos of the big city.
I love to look to the world through the viewfinder of my camera. I like photography, maybe, it’s the only form in which I can creatively express myself. It’s a passion for me and the way to create my own world.
“There are three classes of people: those who see, those who see when they are shown, those who do not see.” Leonardo da Vinci
What are some tips you could give to people that really like your work?
Learn the basic photography techniques, learn how to edit and how to create your vision. Be honest to yourself and be your harshest critic. Discover your own vision, because this is more important than the technical skills.
Evaluate other photographer’s work, try to find what you like and dislike. If the weather condition is not proper for you, go there again and again and don't forget that getting wet is a part of process. Be patient and feel passionate about photography.
Many photographers complain when the light isn't bright enough, but if you love long exposure photography, dark cloudy days are for you.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci
Can you name some great photographer that inspires you and why?
Minimalist, black and white and long exposure photographers: Michael Kenna, Michael Levin, Denis Olivier, Alper Çukur, Stefano Orazzini, Maria Strömvik, Lionel Orriols, Joel Tjintgelaar…
How do you describe your photographic style?
I think the best definition is ‘minimalist long exposure photography’.
“Less is more.” Robert Browning
Your photographs were taken using long exposure time. Why have you chosen to present them in this form? And what kind of impression do you hope to leave upon other’s who see your photographs?
I try to create photographs that leave ample room for the imagination, and a considerable amount of space for the viewer to fill with his or her interpretations.
If I make a quote from a comment: “The long exposures helps to open the chakras in the human body, they open a window to the viewer; a window which shows very uncommon ‘moments’ that we can not see in our daily life. In your shots, there are so many different interesting identities and moods accompanied by the dreamy effect of the long exposure technique: crazy rocks, introverted piers, confidant stairs, confused anchors, lonely waters, weeping clouds, stones feeling the fear of death…”
“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” Edgar Allan Poe
If you have something else to add (a video/book/about your next project/etc.) just tell us.
It’s not really minimalistic but, I have a plan to work ‘Istanbul (city-sea) scapes’ with long exposure technique. In these days, I’ve been inspired also by the combination of architecture, minimalism and long exposure, so I tend to focus on looking for architectural objects. Also maybe a book in the near future.
I’d like to thanks to everyone at Photography Office for inviting me to do this interview and post some photos.
Thank you for this fantastic collaboration. We greatly appreciate your accept the challenge to be interviewed, by us and to share some of your best pictures with our audience. Good luck with the Istanbul Seascape Photo-book. Keep us updated.