Heidi Trautmann

144 - Emel Erkan – Photo Exhibition at Opel Plaza Art Centre - Review


 By Heidi Trautmann


A friend I met at the vernissage said to me: You know when you see a Picasso you just know it, when you see photos like the ones displayed this evening you know it is Emel Erkan. There is some truth in it and I was trying to find out what it was, this very special thing about Emel Erkan’s photos.

It is the light, that is one thing, and the patience to wait for the right moment, but that is not all. It is the very special understanding artists have when trying to explain the soul of something, a chair, a flower, a beautiful woman. I know how I feel when I concentrate on something, I try to become the object I want to paint.

Emel Erkan worked as a teacher in photography for 20 years and he gave all his creativity and beliefs to mould young people. With this respect he gave me one example which most impressed me: “One day I put an orange in front of my students and told them to photograph it. They looked at me quizzically: ok, an orange, so what? Then I told them, pick it up, smell and touch it, squeeze it and then photograph it. You have to open all your senses to receive the message of what you are photographing and the object will answer you to the same degree as you open yourself to it.”

The exhibition at the Opel Plaza Art Centre was opened by the renowned Cypriot Turkish film maker Derviş Zaim who will be here for another month to finish the shooting of a film. Emel Erkan could not have had a more appropriate person at his side to speak the opening words, as he is a most sensitive artist himself.


The place was crowded with very interested guests and all of them were most touched by the flower portraits, the poppies, gladioli and tulips in the fresh morning light. But also his landscapes make you want to take your shoes off and enter the lovely Cypriot scenery, the typical lavender so that you could hear the bees hum or the  Canadian wide countryside with its attributes of high trees and farming land smells.


Unfortunately the exhibition lasted only five days but I hope my selection of photos will give you a small impression. I wish Emel Erkan many more right moments to catch the soul or even the invisible small people existing everywhere.


If you want to learn more about this artist read my book "Art and Creativity in North Cyprus"



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