From My Photobook Library: Engin Gerçek & Andy Rocchelli

Çiğdem İrem İleri
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I am very interested in the fact that the concept of intimacy (by definition) is in a contradiction when it is examined through the medium of photography. In other words, it is not possible to reflect privacy without violating it. Adding to the fact that the depth of the concept and the harshness of the other concepts it is based upon varies in intercultural context, has created a desire in me to discuss this issue through two works from different cultures.


The first work; is a book photographs of which were taken by Engin Gerçek and texts were written by Uğur Tanyeli, entitled "İstanbul'da Mekan Mahremiyetinin İhlali ve Teşhiri: Gerilimli Bir Tarihçe ve 41 Fotoğraf". Created in a long period of time, book has the characteristics of a documentary. In the first half of the book, a collection of studies about the evolution of space privacy in the historical process is presented; and in the second half of the book, this concept is introduced to the audience (in regards of where it stands today) through photographs. In the book, individuals of various ethnic groups are selected as subjects of the photographs and attention is drawn to alienation. The subjects selected in all of the photographs have extremely colourful and characteristic features and the colour editing of these photographs is provided with vivid an exaggerated tones to support this feature. Although it is aimed to photograph subjects in their everyday environment; in the houses where we are guests with the photographer, we are also a stranger, a guest, and all the places and sometimes even the subjects have been prepared for us to see them in their most stylish form. This is a contrast that the book points in itself. As the subjects of the photographs differ from society in some way, the book also contradicts its own name; the privacy of the space cannot be exposed but can be visualized according to how the host wants to present it. In this way, Engin Gerçek also presents his violation of privacy to the audience, with the absurd and intrusive reality.   


The second work is a book named Russian Interiors. Andy Rocchelli's journey for creating this book starts with being employed by a rich woman as a personal photographer. While Rocchelli was with this woman all the time and creating a photography collection of her, he met with a special details about the notion of being a woman. The fact that all the photographs were taken indoors represents the act-of-getting-involved and the intertwined pages give reference to the multi-layered structure of privacy. The book also includes photographs of round objects as references to female body. This book, which can be defined as a book that has a partially erotic infrastructure because of its previously mentioned features, explains marginalization between men and women through the eyes of a man. At this point, Rocchelli's unique experiences who is able to see and show the depths of the emotional world of marginalized women are passed down to the audience as a unique feeling.

Both Engin Gerçek and Andy Rocchelli have completed their journeys (which was started with the question; "What is intimate?") by reflecting what is not intimate through the surfaces which they come into contact during their processes. Although the photographs and concepts of Gerçek do not correspond with Rocchelli directly; I have completed the experience of these books by accumulating a bundle of ideas that are nurtured and enriched from the differentiation of the ways they choose to portray the theme of privacy.