Library of
Design, Art and Idea

Güngör Denizaşan Interview

20.02.2015
Vol. 6

I suspect there might not be another similar collection in the World. Who knows, I might be the only one in this area. My antique dealer friends claim that it could be sold for ‘good money’. But they are not of any material value for me. They are like my children. Can one sell his children? Thinking a harm might come, I don’t take them not even to operas! ’’

We are with a invaluable individual who can not be summed in a sentence or described briefly... His name is, Güngör Denizaşan... A journalist for nearly 50 years. During his career he worked a total of 15 years at Turkish News Agency, The Last Hour, Night Press and Evening Gazette. For 47 years he has been a publisher. Nowadays he still continues journalism. Both in Gazette 13 and Nostalgy corner of Habertürk Gazette’s Sunday issue he writes under the heading of “Babıtelli Merkez Valisi- Mizahi nostalji” I advise you to follow my good friend Denizaşan who always views life from a vista of humour and fun in his Habertürk corner. Smiles won’t leave you as you read his nostalgic and fun news. Additionally, he is the owner of subscribers only 'Gazette 13 İnternational' in its 47th year. With his camera in his bag, my dear friend Güngör Denizaşan is there whenever a classical concert, ballet performance, an opera, in short wherever there is a cultural and art activity, regardless of its location, from Vienna to Cannes Film Festival, he is there. He hardly ever misses arts events whether in Turkiye or Europe... And, for 54 years he has been collecting “opera binoculars". The Denizaşan Collection which amases even European antique dealers has been mentioned in the European press.. There are hundred year old pieces in Güngör Denizaşan’s “Opera Binoculars Collection” at his residence. Denizaşan chuckles and says ‘‘I am a collectionist, not a peeping tom’’. His graduation from İstanbul MunicipalityTepebaşı Conservatory may seem like the reason for his interest, but in fact the cause of beginning a collection is a delicate and beautiful Italian lady. At Milano while a photo journalist in 1960, Denizaşan goes to an opera at “Teatro alla Scala” and sees among the spectators an attractive woman using binocular. Dear Güngör, did this interest really begin with a woman? Yes, absolutely... When I arrived in Milano I struggled much to see a perfomance at the Scala. Finally at a performance there was an older lady with a binocular few rows ahead of me.. and that delicate binocular was so aesthetic in the hands of that lady... I asked where a similar one could be obtained.. She first told me it was very old and mentioned might be found perhaps in antique shops. I had very little money. I spent most of it and purchased a binocular. Then once while in Berlin another piece drew my attention. I bought that one too.. Then binoculars in every country I visitied got my interest! For how many years you have been collecting? Exactly for 54 years. That delicate lady was the reason for 87 piece collection. Denizaşan has also found opera binoculars in antique shops in Turkiye. But most have come from a dealer in London. The most important piece in the collection is a binocular manufactured for 1895 opera performances at the Ottoman Palace. Güngör Denizaşan’s first binocular was purchased for 65TL in 1960 after having seen that Italian beauty. It is a fairly expensive collection, you must have made serious investment? In those years my salary was 200TL/month. I invested one third of it to that binocular. Because of my interest in opera I saw performances in many countries. I made a habit of buying binoculars wherever I was. It has been going on eversince.. Now I am considered a serious collector. Where do you keep these binoculars? “ I display the binoculars in special enclosures in my living room. Each week one by one I clean them.’’ In Denizaşan's collection there are models dating back to 1845. Have you ever encountered a similar collection? I suspect there might not be another similar collection in the World. Who knows, I might be the only one in this area. My antique dealer friends claim that it could be sold for ‘good money’. But they are not of any material value for me. They are like my children. Can one sell his children? Thinking a harm might come, I don’t take them not even to operas! ’ Do you intend to share this very special collection? After further increasing their numbers, I am considering to donate them to a museum in the future.’ Denizaşan says he will accept old opera binoculars for the expansion of collection. But, as donations free of charge! I also wish to touch upon another effort just as valuable as the collection ... Gazette 13... The initial name of today’s Gazette 13 was monthly journal “International Society 13” in the beginning. He explains: “There are members from all around the World.. if it were get lost in mail a call from Canada will come with an offer of two years subscription renewal paid in advance.. This ofcourse makes me smile.. Gazzette 13 is a publication free of charge.. “ Three thousand copies published and distributed once monthly has 1500 subscribers.. Each member await their copy eagerly. He personally distributes them in Istanbul and a portion is hand delivered at club dinners, meetings and businesses where he is popular and most welcome.. “This is another hobby of mine like the binocular collection” says Göngör Denizaşan and continues: “At this age I no longer have ambitions of money. I do have a home but I stay there very rarely. I have a specially prepared room wherever I go, I am the lead guest at each club.. But this is due to my dialogue with the people.. I do have a world perspective and no other person managed to operate a journal without disruptions for 50 years. That record is mine... “ Who reads the Gazette 13 International? Our beloved journalist friends, company owners, those in the news... We print it once a month and somehow it reaches the addresses. We give it to anyone who so desires.. My job is my hobby.. I don’t have the problem of earning riches.. I possess a different world view: one should only work for necessary money.. I experience happiness through causing happiness for others. No one carried on the same publication such as this one as long as I have.. It will live on if I am alive.. if dead, I couldn’t care less! Güngör Denizaşan’s social circle is wide and involves wealthy people... He gets whatever ads required and the gazzette survives with no disruptions... I thank my invaluable friend Güngör Denizaşan on behalf of the Box in a Box Idea followers... I wish many years to the “ “Babıtelli Merkez Valisi” .
Vol. 6
Sadi Tekin Interview Ferit Odman Interview