About the minimal architecture photographs
Please tell us about yourself? Who is Yener Torun?
I am 32 years old, and an architect. I have been living in Istanbul for almost 14 years. I think this is pretty much what people want to know.
How did you start this minimalist photo series? Was there a key moment?
There was no key moment. As a matter of fact, I can say that I started taking minimalist photos without actually realizing it. I mean, people’s comments made me realize that some of my photographs were minimalist. Then I was of course influenced by other minimalist photographers as well. But from the start I have always sought simplicity.
How do you so simplify your photographs and where do you find such structures? Do you just happen to come across them or do you make plans?
As I said before, I have always sought simplicity and therefore it is not that hard to minimalize because I take photographs of details that I find simple enough. But even if it is not difficult to simplify, it is hard to find. And I spend most of my time searching for these places, and revisiting the same locations over and over. I often find the simplicity, colors, and geometry I am looking for at a distance from the heart of the city, and in developing neighborhoods. The structures in my photographs are mostly industrial buildings, schools, hotels, malls or social dwelling projects built in the last 15 years. Whenever I find time, I take unplanned rides to these up and coming districts to explore. I usually come across these buildings by chance during these trips. There are of course places I plan and visit but even then I can discover new sites. Meaning that my eyes are always open.
Do you use simple constructs too or are they always moments?
Lately I have been using constructs for the most part. And I do this intentionally and willingly because when I find a photograph-worthy location I conjure up a scene in my mind, and I want the human factor in that scene to be exactly the same as I imagined in every aspect, even to the clothes that person wears. When that is the case, the place seems rather isolated from reality, even if just a bit. In a way, I reflect my inner world on these photographs through these constructs. And the fact that I sometimes use structures and other architectural elements outside their context supports this approach. But there are also many other photographs without any constructs.
What is the process that a photograph goes through? Do you do digital editing?
It may sometimes take months for a photograph to come into being. I revisit a location I previously discovered many times on different days or at different times of the day to observe the effects of changing lights and shadows. And when I know for sure how I will use the locations – and if necessary asking a friend to pose as a model – I visit the place one last time to take the final shot. And of course occasionally I can be very lucky at the moment of discovery. A scene that fits perfectly with what I have in mind presents itself, and I capture the moment and press the shutter. I do digital editing, enhancing some lights and colors to make them stand out. So, some of these colors are not in fact as vibrant as the photograph.
How did you become such an Instagram sensation? Do you have any tips on that, or is posting good photographs enough?
Honestly, I did not implement any strategy to be popular. There are of course ways of becoming popular without sharing photographs. You can look up and find these methods online. I just focused on ensuring that I shared good photographs. For instance I wouldn’t easily post a photograph unless I believe it is really good. I don’t think I compromise from style either, meaning that I believe I post photographs of a certain style and quality. This may have led to my popularity, which may also be due to the fact that I have been showing people some unknown facets of Istanbul lately.
Any photographers or other artists that you would recommend us to follow?
Off the top of my head, some of my favorite Instagram users are @ladile, @rdstaley, and @thatsval . It may be a very long list if we include other arts so I want to mention only one name, which is Australian artist Jeffrey Smart, whose style resembles my photographic style. He has passed away but it is worth checking out his works.
What about films and music, which movies or musicians influence you?
I can easily say that films and music are the areas that nurture me the most. As a matter of fact, music has always been my greatest inspiration. If you look at the titles of my photographs, you will see that they are mostly from films and songs. I don’t need to mention each film, just look at the titles. My musical influences on the other hand include bands like Vampire Weekend, Fleet Foxes, Animal Collective, Yeasayer, Led Zeppelin, Arctic Monkeys, Tame Impala, Mando Diao, etc. You may have seen lyrics from these and other groups in the titles of many of my photographs, but may not have noticed the connection. They not only influence the titles but also some of the constructs of my photographs.
How can people follow you on other media besides Instagram?
Currently I am only on Instagram. My web page is under construction and will be launched soon.