By the Power of Greyskull? You Don’t Say!

Cenk Mirat Pekcanattı
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We live in the beginning of the 21st century, and I will go out to Istiklal with 3 friends from the university. Because when we were in the department a couple of days ago, we agreed on a conversation on photography. We never openly make an appointment. I still remember as if it was yesterday, all of us had this vague demeanor. It was as if we are some escapees of the communist party whispering furtively in remote corners.

Anyway, when I am out on the tiles from Turnacıbaşı to the hamam, İstanbul is writing a micro story of its own simultaneously with but independent from me… 2 brats turn up at the gate of the Greek Consulate, smashing it in… A woman with a broken Turkish accent is asking what they want from the audio thingie. To my surprise, these kids are students from the Galileo Galilei High School, their flastic ball has escaped from the violence it was exposed to and has taken refuge in the consulate...And what's more, by claiming political asylum…The kids want It…I was in a rush. I don't know how it comes out. I hope the ball has pulled through.

At last, I get to my friend. One of us is absent; a little later that fella also drops around. We move into a deep conversation. We are SO troubled…SO…The conversation turns into an Indictment…Professors are like this at the uni…So our circle is like that…You want to make an exhibition but if you don't pull the wires then you go for nothing…The current photography magazines advertise products like they are commercial magazines…etc…etc…In short, we keep banging on about hemorrhoidic a*s. At last, we come to a common conclusion. And say "Let's issue a magazine! A magazine that voices these complaints, and offers solutions at the same time. So that it contributes to domestic photography…" Sure enough we are putting on the floating airs! Man, we have saved domestic photography…

We first attempt to name it. A magpie among us suggests "By the power of grey skull". And we say "Not so fast!" Pacer pacer don't jerk the rider. What kind of a name is that…" Anyhow, we reach a common ground and settle on "Gölge (shadow)"…

The first cover of Golge Fanzine


"Where there is light there must be shadow"

So we also have to crack a motto…Back then, there is a tournament of Far East fighting arts. The guys made a bombastic trailer for the organization, it is shown over and over again on TV…The guys talk in giaourish, but the meaning is: "The brighter the light, the darker the shadow." The sires pilagierized it from Carl Jung, so we pilagierized from Eurosport. So we now have an awesome motto…Well! Well! Da bomb…

Later on during the conversation, we discuss about the content. All of us agree…Critical reviews will have the priority…We will review exhibitions and albums. After all it is a fanzine…In other words, fan magazine…No editor! No censorship! No concern! Nevermind…

A long time afterwards, we publish our first issue. It is photocopied on orange paper…The son of a gun looks like a flower…On the cover there is an image depicting François Arago's speech in which he launched Daguerreotype in August 19, 1839 in National Academy of Sciences of France beginning with the words: "Dear sirs; nature has been transferred on a plane by means of light". Surely, we want to do something ludicrous; as if François said "Sirs, Gölge has been published, we're toast". The other sires are in a panic, muttering words like we're fucked…

The first issue has made quite an impact on the Istanbul photography circle. We post a copy to each photography association in open letter treat. Holey moley!

But I feel a bit nauseated…For there is an ugly baby among us. With his/her opportunist concerns, s/he wrote a publicity article on some exhibition, and laid it on thick…Whatever, let's shrug it off. After all, s/he left like rats abandoning a sinking ship.

From the 12th issue of Gölge Fanzin



Fox with a bowtie chickening out from Nimble Turtle's Wrath

Meanwhile, I am chosen as the spokesman, doing interviews. We are on the TV and newspapers. Well well…I'll say…When the fanzine becomes a bit popular, we also get severe criticisms. After all, one should bring matters to a head…One shouldn't legitimize it. One should suppress it with threats…And the Nimble Turtle – and he is this photographer with glasses+bow tie+a shiny photographer, also was our professor back then – came down really hard on our bro. I recall it as if it was only yesterday. At some irrelevant point in an interview he gave he said with his serpentine tongue "A raped turtle and a toad wailing over his fate" with a "Hiss!" And the toad is me…He actually called me Pimp! Man, what it's got to do with photography?

One day as I am walking on Istiklal, we encounter him in 60% Hasan sitting on the balcony like a busy lizzie. Our Nimble Turtle hurls himself on us, and we follow him, find ourselves in the gallery. Like I mentioned before, this photographer persona who is also our professor starts eating our heads off. But he's missing something…Our Nimble Turtle is Laz! "And if you bother them one Laz has the strength of ten tigers, baby." Luckily, a recently published album by him is granted to Gölge Fanzine out of the Fotoğrafevi Library and elaborately signed. Then the matter is dropped. And there are loads of incidents like that. But let's not dwell on it and let it flow.

Then before you know it, a renowned magazine which we like a lot attaches critiques on photography on straw paper on the back of their woodfree-paper magazine. To be fair, some of them are good…But our hearts sink. We think "If only we didn't collaborate…So, they wouldn't swipe our style in such an obvious way…" Yet, we say "Nevermind!" After all, isn't our aim was to give inspiration? Eh, that's what we did! What else do you expect? Then, it seems we establish a strange relationship with this magazine, but that goes for nothing.

After a while, different tendencies begin to surface within the group. Denouncements, plots, conflicts and bla bla…Ultimately, some leave the group. And surely, some join…At some point, a couple of businessmen (I love them) contact us in an attempt to commercialize Gölge Fanzine. Reflexively, we say "No sir. Kiss it and put your offer in your pocket…" Then we start wavering…The publication of issues begin limping. Because most the staff start sidestepping as they run out of their flash in the pan. Tinkle! Tinkle! As it turns out, their heads were empty like a looted cheese tin…What we have to say about photography was all…So, we form a closed group. And issue calls, saying "Write, criticize, and send it to us"…But there are very few to contribute. And provided that there is no continuity...

Manifest of Gölge Fanzine


I gave the scholarship in the memory of my deceased father, none of anyone's business!

Through the deceased Türker (Cimcoz), we get in touch with Nikos. And we drop an interview on his workshop "On the Road" and his approach to photography for the 8th issue. At the end of the interview, he asks: "What's your vibe?" So I start explaining…After all, I have put the salt on his tail! To crown it all, I attempt to weasel. So, I say: "Sire! We are giving a scholarship. In a small way, you know! We have this much new Turkish liras. Support us, and we send the winner to your workshop like "Don't spare the rod!" And he says: "Don't be mad, no need for the money!" May god bless you. We give the first scholarship to Aytunç Akad's project "The Wall". Then, we give it to Deniz Koçak, and lastly to Nihat Karadağ…The last 2 I have given in the memory of my deceased father, I am swelling with pride!

Maybe it is the bad luck of 13? We cease after that issue. We are like students who cannot get out of bed with morning's lethargy. So, 4 years have to pass for us to re-gain momentum…Damn it, waiting is the longest ride…Now, we are back with the new issue along with new ideas. But let's keep those new ideas under our hat for now. We are inviting everyone who is preoccupied with photography. That's the proposal…without the insistence…We are also open to those who have different expectations from Gölge Fanzine! We say to them: "Come but you'll get bored."

The Cover of 14th Issue


I am no more than a vulgar peeping tom…

How did I get involved knee-deep in photography? The main factor that triggered my interest was my family's mysterious relationship with our camera. That camera is kept under locks like a state secret. It was brought into the open in special occasions and used by my parents. Its flashes used to blast. It made strange noises. And everyone was confined inside that strange box. Then the tool used to vanish into thin air. Then one day, I decided to rescue what was confined inside it, and found where it was hidden just like Oğuz Aral's Hafiye Murat (Spy Murat). The result was a defeat. First I burnt the film and then pa's gasket. When my father came around, he did a little physiotherapy on me. In the end, photography was engraved permanently in my over-and-un-consciousness. My photographs are not creative, for socio-documentary photography has nothing to do with the notion of creativity in general…I can explain it, but it is a long story…My main subjects of focus are: "that moment", "authenticity", "sincerity" and "cultural archeology"…Don't mind my serious words…I am no more than a vulgar peeping tom. In my early periods, I did my projects "Fall", "Eternal Sorrow: Caferis" and "Pera". For a while, I set out doing a project called "Turks". But then, the socio-political state the country is in…Transformation…Metamorphosis…Whatever that was, it puzzled me. So, I decided to fallow this project till I can evaluate the conditions objectively or till the time I take sides. As a result of the current situation of the country, I am suffering instead of photographing. But no worries, all will pass…


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