Heidi Trautmann

33 - Book by Kadir Kaba - Ahmet/Ismet Sevki- The First Ever Cypriot Photographers

Kadir Kaba is a photographer. I have met him some years ago for an interview and we have become friends. I learnt a lot from him. Not only on art photography, on the photographers themselves but on people in Cyprus.

Just recently, only a couple of days ago, he was interviewed by Die Deutsche Welle TV.

We also spoke about his book which has taken him a lot of time and energy to finish. A beautiful book. A second book on another photographer is to follow shortly.


His career is a long story and before I start writing it all again I include here some paragraphs from my interview which will be part of my book Art and Creativity in North Cyprus:


Kadir Kaba was born in Mora, Nicosia in 1947. Photography has been his hobby from childhood  but his family could never afford to buy a camera, even the simplest. But when he graduated in Ankara as an accountant and moved to London in 1974, he stubbornly pursued his passion.

“With my first money I bought myself a camera and started working with it,” he said. “I read all the books on photography available, but it is as with all fields of knowledge: the more information you get the more questions you have.”

“I started working as journalist and photographer for newspapers in London but then I decided to study photography at the Paddington College of Photography from 1978 to 1981, because I wanted to know more and there is a lot to know about it. Take its history: Early photography was between 1850 and 1900.  Modern Photography began in early 1900 with a first phase lasting until 1945 and a second phase until 1978. These developments followed the general perception of art, focusing on the inside and trying to find the soul, getting away from copying what you saw in front of you.

In the late '70s and early '80s a new philosophy in art emerged, post-modern art, post-modern photography, in which every style is permitted, thus opening  the gate to the absolute individualisation of the artist which is still valid today.  This is a new philosophy, with a certain loss of faith in progress, in the godlike appearance of we humans. We have recognized our position on this earth, in society, in nature, and found we are able to extinguish ourselves.”

“We have finally recognized that we are part of nature, a link in the chain, and that we will never be able to break this rule. In art we find a certain irony regarding ourselves and towards the world. Humans are not ready yet, our goal is to be one day Citizens of the World, when we all will have the same rights and when we will be able to handle our rights in the best way.” This is also Kadir Kaba's very personal philosophy.

“I have one predominant passion besides modern and postmodern photography and that is the subjectivist documentary photography,” he said. “My brain and my eyes are always on the look-out for typical situations and when in passing-by I meet with one, I am ready. This is documentation of social structure, and as I have always been a politically minded person, I am very interested in the human behaviour. But, you cannot make your living with art. I always had to stand on my own two feet, to earn money and to work for my art. I opened a studio and I had my clientele for weddings and portraits and other social occasions. If you want to do good work you have to invest in good material. I had two Hesselblads and two Olympus cameras, then there is the background material and the darkroom, all very cost-intensive items.”

Kadir Kaba came back to Cyprus in 1982 and started working for the Tourism Ministry, capturing images of Cyprus's beauty, its monuments and life style. In 1983 he opened his own studio in Nicosia. Living in Cyprus, he soon found like-minded artists. In 1980 there had been a first art photography exhibition in North Cyprus by Hikmet Uluçam, entitled “Foto-Grafik”, literally meaning what it said: demonstrating the graphic element in photography, a first step towards modern perception of photographic art in North Cyprus. When he arrived in the country,  Kadir Kaba found doors opening to his intention to introduce photography as an artistic element to the culture and art festivals arranged by the Turkish Cypriot Municipality in Nicosa and in cooperation with its then mayor Mustafa Akinci,  he initiated exhibitions and competitions to promote awareness. And he did not stop at that, but worked as a writer and journalist, publishing articles and books on photography.


The book is a very precious document of Cypriot history. It is in English and Turkish.





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