A fascinating set of panoramic photographs taken by Turkish film maker Nuri Bilge Ceylan (done while he was making his recent film Climates). From various reviews:
"That Nuri Bilge Ceylan takes photographs is no surprise: both 'Uzak' and 'Climates' have photographers as protagonists and his films are notable for their visual precision and poetry. Moreover, if his cinema can be said to resemble anyone else's, it's that of Abbas Kiarostami, whom Ceylan admires and whose cinematic work is also complemented by photographs notable for their serene and mysterious beauty. But as the Turkey Cinemascope' exhibition of Ceylan's photographs at the recent Thessaloniki film festival revealed, it would be wrong to push a Ceylan-Kiarostami parallel too far. True, as Kiarostami favours landscapes in rural Iran, so many of Ceylan's photographs depict villages, country roads and farms - often with Mount Ararat towering in the background. But there the resemblance ends. It's not just that Ceylan also takes pictures of cityscapes and people, but more crucially that the photographs in this exhibition, all shot with a digital panoramic camera, look so like paintings....
Horizons, pattern, predominantly black and white with thick daubs of colour: clouds, walls, people. Figures dwarfed by landscape. Silhouettes of men, women and children of a size with those of birds and animals. The tiny figures, often against snow, reminded me of Brueghul. In one photo of pigeons in a snowy Istanbul square the flock of birds in the foreground are the same size as the people in the distance, and a flying bird's outline magically fuses with that of a girl so that she has wings as well as dancing legs. Full of dark and full of light, both brooding and airy, such resonant and moving photographs.
And then, the next day, I went to see the film, a sensitive, subtle, beautiful film, set in Istanbul, by the sea, amidst ancient ruins, and in a town of Eastern Turkey in mid-winter (like walking into Orhan Pamuk's novel, Snow). And a bleakly, brutally realistic depiction of the hurting, hating side of love, wherein the male protagonist, played by the director, takes photos - the photos in the exhibition, surely, for as he went about his work, on location, was when he took them. He takes photos instead of relating to his wife on holiday, instead of finishing his doctoral thesis. He poses a young taxi driver, his strong, young face against the landscape, a shot like several in the exhibition. The youngster, with eagerness that contrasts touchingly with his macho pose, asks for a copy to give to his girlfriend, writes his name and address on a post-it note, and in the next scene we see the photographer pull it from his pocket with his cigarettes at a cafe table, screw it up and toss it in the ashtray."