FEATURED MEMBER – Sibel Engingok

Posted on February 21, 2011



Coming from a family of artists, daughter of a painter and sister of a fashion designer, Sibel is currently in her second year studying French Literature but applying also for Photography and Video Department in University of Bilgi in Istanbul. At a young age, Sibel found herself tampering with an old camera, realizing her deep interest for black and white pictures. Working for a short period of time as an assistant of Emrah Altınkok, where she learned techniques about photography, Sibel is now working on album shoots and personal projects.


Q.  Do you have a favorite modern artist?
A.  Truth to be told, I have not seriously thought of who my favorite modern artist might be, but now that you asked I can say that I always considered Man Ray as one of the greatest modern artists. It is true that I was very much influenced by the work Man Ray has done for Avant-garde.

Q.  Who are the artists you admire and why?
A.  As a big Portrait Photography fan, Annie Leibovitz, with her natural perception, has always been an artist that I admire. The naturalist vision that she transfers into her Celebrity Photographs project has made her famous. On the contrary to all other photographers, she often captures Celebrities without make up or anything, in their most natural look, to show in a way that celebrities are not as different then anyone in the end of the day; they can even sometimes be called ‘ugly’.

To be able to keep this naturalism in my work is the most important thing for me.

Eugene Smith is another artist that I really admire. Moment Eugene captures are mostly little normal things that happen in our everyday day lives that we do not really see anymore.

Q.  What inspires your work?
A.  My main inspiration is ‘people’. Knowing that no one is perfect, that everybody has as much qualities as flaws, attaches me to people in general. It feels like I want to study and learn about them. This drives my inspiration.

I can honestly say that I am an emotional person and this very often is seen in my work. My moods are quite reflected in the photograph that I shoot. All my inspiration is basically a result of my emotional state. I can easily be influenced from everything that might be happening around me, in my life and I usually do reflect my emotions directly to my work. 


Q.  Is there a story behind your works?
A.  I cannot say that there is a story behind a work of mine. Everything happens spontaneously because I don’t like being very organized in this matter, therefore depending on what is happening around me, I try to capture moments that would represent my emotions in that second.

Q.  Can you talk about any exhibition experience?
A.  Until now, I have not had the chance to organize an exhibition the way I really wanted to except the two exhibitions I had in high school.
I am very selective when it comes to my work, I just don’t think that I have gathered enough material to have an exhibition yet, but it is in my future plans.

Q.  What does photography mean to you?
A.  Photography to me is art. Art allows you to reach a state of mind that I can call ‘freedom’. This freedom helps you understand and find the person you really are.

Photography is the only thing that helps me re-live some memories. It can take me back to those moments and I love it. Those moments exist forever after the second you capture them. This is what intrigues me in photography.

I believe photography is the only way allowing me to explain a moment, to tell a story of the exact moment the picture was taken, over and over and over again. 


Q.  What were your subjects when you first started out?
A.  When I first started out, everything about abstraction would interest me. Whatever that was seen as abstract, I was trying to capture it in a way so that I could make it concrete.

Q. Do you have a favorite piece among your works?
A.  I don’t think that I have build enough knowledge about professional photography to be able to analyze my own as professionally but a specific one in black an white showing a boy with his arm in between the legs of a girl on bed, can be considered as my favorite one.

Q.  Could you tell us a bit more about your creative process?
A.  I don’t really have a specific technique or a transition process; everything happens in the seconds I take my camera in my hands, spontaneously.  The most important thing that I am actually looking to set or to find is the Light.

Q.  What equipment do you use and why?
A.  In the beginning, I was using the Leica D-Lux 3. But through time, I realized that it was not enough. This year, I bought myself a Nikon D90.


Q.  What is the motivation behind your choices?
A.  Discomfort, emotional shocks and erotism

Q.  Can you talk about one of your strongest works? 
A.  The photo shooting I did in one of the Prince Islands, Heybeliada, close to Istanbul made me understand what I was capable of.  The project was about this couple, friends of mine, having trouble understanding their feelings towards each other.

They were barely aware that I was shooting, and the results were natural. They were not really aware of the tension, the stress they had, but I managed to capture their feelings right before they started kissing.
The project was real to me.

Q.  Are you working on new projects currently?
A.  I am working very hard right now to build a strong portfolio.

Q.  What are your professional ambitions and your projects for 2011?
A.  My aim for this year is to complete my portfolio and then to have an exhibition in Europe. I also would like to work for a magazine where I could use my writing and my photography skills.

Q.  How do you hope Pelime can help with this?
A.  I believe that Pelime is an opportunity for me to showcase my work to other artists and to be able to get in touch.


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