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January 28, 2022


Photography by Emir Sevim
Interview by Melanie Meggs

Istanbul is a place like no other, and it is through the eyes of its people that we see its beauty. One of those people is Emir Sevim, an Istanbul native and street photographer whose passion for his city shines through his work. Emir was born and raised in Istanbul, and it was during his university studies that he realized his love for photography. After taking a class in photography, he found himself inspired to explore the streets of Istanbul, and to capture its beauty in ways that only a local could see. Through his lens, he has been able to find the unique details and comparisons that come together to create the magic of Istanbul.

In his six years as a street photographer, Emir has developed a unique style of photography that is infused with the energy and rhythm of his city. He captures the essence of Istanbul, creating images full of vibrancy and movement. As any native to a city knows, there is something special about being born in a place – something that cannot be captured by a casual observer. It is in this spirit that Emir captures his city, finding beauty and purpose in its inhabitants and its streets. Emir finds the magic that makes Istanbul such a brilliant city with a rhythm and beat that rocks Emir’s World. His images are a testament to its beauty and its brilliance, a reminder of the unique beat that rocks its streets.

“Street photography is my passion. When I go out and take photos, I forget all my other troubles and surrender myself to the flow of the street, to the spirit of the street. Every photograph I take carries pieces of what I watch, read, people's feelings, movements, the rhythm, texture and spirit of the street. I am very lucky to live in Istanbul and take street photos. I hadn't noticed that Istanbul is such a magical city before I took my first photo. When I started to taking pictures, it was while I was getting lost in the streets, I realised how perfect this city really is.”


THE PICTORIAL LIST: Emir please tell us about yourself. How did you become interested in photography?

EMIR SEVIM: I was born, grew up and live in Istanbul. My interest in photography started during my university years. While I was studying Sinem-TV department in 2011, we had a photography class. I took a camera and started taking photos. It was 5-6 years ago that I started taking street photography.

TPL: When you are out photographing - how much of it is instinctual versus planned?

ES: I don't make any plans while taking photos. In my understanding of street photography, photography should be natural. When I take a photo, I capture that moment and enjoy it.

TPL: What are some tips or advice you would give yourself if you started street photography all over again?

ES: I would have liked to have started my photography by taking street photos earlier on. I'm not too late, but sooner would be have been nice. Frankly, I wouldn't give any advice because I'm constantly taking photos and working hard on this.

TPL: Do you have any favourite artists and photographers?

ES: Lee Friedlander, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alex Webb, Vivian Maier, Nikos Economopoulos, Josef Koudelka, Raymond Depardon, Bruce Davidson, Joel Meyerowitz.

TPL: If you could just choose one photographer to shoot alongside for a day...who would you choose? And why?

ES: I would choose Alex Webb. Because he has an amazing street photography book about my favorite photographer and the city I live in, Istanbul. It would be perfect to take photos with him on the streets of Istanbul.

When I take a photo, I capture that moment and enjoy it.

TPL: Does the equipment you use help you in achieving your vision in your photography? What camera do you use? Do you have a preferred lens/focal length?

ES: I love the equipment I use. Small, practical and fast. It makes my job on the street a lot easier and gives very good results. I don't think you need huge equipment. It is the photographer who takes the photo, not the camera. My equipment is the Fujifilm XT30 18mm f2.

TPL: What are some of your goals as an artist or photographer? Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?

ES: As a photographer, of course, my goals are to produce something permanent. Making exhibitions, publishing books. I think the best thing a photographer can do is make a photo book. I am working every day to achieve these goals in the coming years.

TPL: Are there any other special projects you are currently working on or thinking about that you would like to let everyone know about?

ES: There are several photo series I am currently working on. Those who are curious can see them on my website. I have an idea to make an exhibition or a book about these series in the future.

TPL: "When I am not out photographing, I (like to)…

ES: I like spending time with my family, traveling, watching movies, reading books."

The story of Emir Sevim is a testament to the beauty and magic of Istanbul. Through his work, he has been able to capture the unique details and energy that make it so special. His photographs are a reminder that beauty is found in the everyday, and that there are people who love their city deeply and can share its unique beat with the world. Let’s all join Emir in his quest to capture the magic of our cities.

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