212 Photography Istanbul is Constantly Reinventing Itself in New Themes

The fourth edition of the celebrated photography event adds new venues to showcase photography, stream films, provide video screenings and overall add colour to autumn in Istanbul.

Rightfully called Turkey’s “pioneering international photography event,” 212 Photography Istanbul is getting ready to welcome Istanbulites and visitors at different venues around the city from October 1 to October 11 this year. The festival will be held with contributions from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Turkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency.

As before, the fourth edition of the festival will be spread out on both sides of the Bosporus, with multiple venues on the Asian and European sides of the magical city. These include Yapi Kredi Bomontiada, Siraevler No: 37-39, Zulfaris Karakoy, the Historical Husrev Kethuda Bath, Yeldegirmeni Art Center and Museum Gazhane.

212 Photography Istanbul Director Banu Tuncag tells TRT World that “it is even more important for us to organize exhibitions and events that are integrated with the city and with its historical venues.” For this reason, the festival wanted to avoid specifying a single theme for the entire festival – “instead, we prefer to curate each exhibition with a site-specific theme based on its venue.”

The fact that 212 Photography Istanbul is on its way to becoming an international city festival is very important, Tuncag emphasises. “When we look at the worldwide renowned photography festivals, we often see polyphonic structures that spread all over the city and that showcase not only photography works but also a multidisciplinary diverse programme.

“This multidisciplinary approach has been inspirational and motivated us to position 212 Photography Istanbul as an integrated part of the international photography festivals network with its multidisciplinary exhibition and activity programme spread across both European and Anatolian sides of Istanbul,” she says in an email interview.

The 10-day long event is full of artistic offerings, from exhibitions to panels, to workshops and film screenings. A news release explains the photography event as “constantly reinventing itself through new themes, collaborations and rich content … while draw[ing] attention with its alternative venues. In its fourth edition, the festival expands its route to offer an art-loaded and delightful exploration map of the city.”

Tuncag also says the organisers of 212 Photography Istanbul are very happy to play a role in promoting Istanbul internationally: “The festival will showcase works of many leading international photographers and will also host them in the city. This will create a very unique opportunity for them to photograph Istanbul and to document the cultural diversity of the city during their stay. Undoubtedly, this will also give us the opportunity to look at the city from a different perspective.”

This year’s supporters of the festival include the Dutch Consulate General, the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Norwegian Embassy in Ankara, the Institut Francais Turquie, the Istanbul Cervantes Institute/Spanish Consulate General, Goethe Institut, Besiktas Municipality and Kadıkoy Municipality.

Tuncag points out that another important mission of 212 Photography Istanbul is to “connect artists from Turkey with their international peers and with international platforms” which would play “a crucial role” in opening new and different paths in their careers.

World-renowned international photographers are participating in the fourth edition of 212 Photography Istanbul, including Christian Tagliavini, Dirk Dallas, Esra Özdoğan, Hasan Deniz, Helena Blomqvist, JeeYoung Lee, Jonas Bendiksen, Levon Biss, Rosa Muñoz, Scarlett Hooft Graafland, Tim Flach and Thomas Albdorf.

There will be a special exhibition that will be honouring the Olympic Games in Tokyo, featuring works by David Burnett and Mine Kasapoglu.

What’s more, there is also a special film selection for the festival, thanks to a collaboration with MUBI Turkey. The special selection allows film lovers to stream 12 films free of charge on the MUBI Turkey platform, featuring works by Agnes Varda, Barıs Azman, Carl Olsson, Ely Dagher, Heinz Emigholz, Jalil Lespert, Jonas Mekas, Joris Ivens, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, Karim Ainouz, Man Ray, Pere Portabella, and Wim Wenders.

There will also be another exhibition at the festival, showcasing artworks from the Borusan Contemporary Art Collection. Plus a video selection will be set up as a project together with NOWNESS, “a global video channel screening the best in culture” focused on storytelling. According to  212 Photography Istanbul’s news release, “Prepared in line with the curatorial expertise of the platform, videos that are a source of inspiration in many fields including art, design, fashion and music, will meet art lovers from Istanbul as part of 212 Photography Istanbul.”

Lest we forget, the 212 Photography Istanbul’s annual photo competition is also at play, with a “jury of internationally renowned professionals”. Tuncag says they are hoping to reach out to creative talents across Turkey and the world and “introduce both professional and amateur photographers to the art lovers in Istanbul.”

Due to the high volume of applications this year, 212 Photography Istanbul has extended the deadline for applications until September 17, 2021. If you’re interested in applying, you can visit the website for further details here.

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