A swiss army knife photographer. Doruk’s work knows no boundaries and his journey include dramatic documentaries and fashion photography sessions with celebs such Jessica Alba. He took the time to share a bit of his story with us in this interview.
Doruk, in your portfolio we’ll find documentaries, fashion, fine art, nude and portraiture. A truly multi skilled photographer. Please tell us about yourself and how you turned into such a talented artist.
First of all, thank you for adding value and giving artists the opportunity. You add energy to the lull of bear season. Endless thanks to the entire team. And also, in the NFT market, where only numbers and ambitions have taken over, your questions, that give importance to learning the ideas of artists and the values behind their success, are appreciated.
My name is Doruk Seymen, and I was born in Istanbul in 1982. I still reside in this city. I began my journey in photography during my twenties. Initially, it was a means to capture memories with my beloved, who lived 500 kilometers away from me. In those pre-social media years, photography was the simplest way to alleviate our longing for each other. Also my grandfather was an amateur photographer, and his passion ultimately influenced my academic path, eventually leading to a professional career.
Initially, my aspiration was to become a war correspondent. However, my proficiency in manipulating light led me into the world of fashion photography in 2009. The realm of fashion provided an excellent platform for my sociological observations. Yet, the issues I raised as a result of my observations often conflicted with the prevailing ideology of this industry. For a span of 11 years, I collaborated with numerous domestic and international brands and magazines, working with prominent figures such as Jessica Alba, Winnie Harlow, Coco Rocha, Elisa Sednaoui, and brands like Calzedonia, which you can find on my website.
Simultaneously, I continued to pursue personal portrait photography. It was during the pandemic that I decided to depart from the fashion industry. Presently, I collaborate with boutique brands that align closely with my own vision. For some of them, I offer visual consultancy and occasional curation.
Your images hijack the viewer’s eyes and can’t be fully experienced in a single look. What’s your process to develop the ideas for your pieces?
In order to develop my ideas, I observe and study people’s lives and their reactions. I believe that if I weren’t a photographer, I could have pursued a career as a sociologist. Through these continuous observations, I take great care in presenting ideas to people, using my own aesthetic sensibilities to craft a narrative through contrasts. Sometimes this creative process unfolds in a matter of hours, while at other times, it may take months. However, my primary focus remains on presenting societal issues to the audience in a way that resonates with them aesthetically and compels their attention, making it impossible for them to ignore.
Storytelling plays an important part in your works but you rarely rely on words to tell your story. Is an image really worth a thousand words?
In the Artpacks Nightmare drop, I contributed a piece focused on Witchcraft. In this narrative, the model is depicted as the sun atop a Celtic cross from the pagan era. The book she holds in her hand serves as a contemporary symbol dedicated to ancient religions. The model’s eyes express the condemnation historically associated with her. The work thrives on the paradox that an once idealized but marginalized group has now transformed into a perceived nightmare.
In the Sniper in Silence project, I portray the position of women within the masculine order using a gun, a symbol of masculinity. However, the sniper herself is a woman, characterized by qualities of quietness, patience, and unwavering determination, similar to the qualities often associated with women. I observed this phenomenon during my travels in the Middle East in 2013.
At this juncture, I believe that individuals with an understanding of symbolism and a strong intellectual background can derive a wealth of meaning from these works, unraveling more than a thousand words worth of interpretation.
Do you believe there are big differences between Western and Eastern photographers and their images or are these distinctions long gone in a globalized world?
The globalizing world has technically eliminated many of these differences. When I refer to differences, I’m primarily addressing the accessibility of equipment. However, when we consider the narratives created, I still believe there are significant distinctions. If we broaden the perspective beyond just photographers and approach it from an artistic standpoint, I can provide a clearer answer.
To begin with, regardless of the artistic discipline an artist pursues, the geographical environment they are exposed to significantly influences the work they produce. In this context, the painful temperament of Eastern culture tends to draw artists toward more dramatic themes, whereas the living conditions in Western culture often lead artists toward futuristic or technically-oriented works. Nevertheless, there is a commonality between the East and West. This shared aspect pertains to the artist’s insatiable thirst for knowledge and a deep passion for learning. It’s also about the artist’s capacity to keenly observe and comprehend the society and the challenges they confront in their daily lives.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned as a photographer so far?
Fluidity of time, permanence of spirit, and the reality of a world where shadow reigns as much as light.
What’s your earliest memory related to art?
I have many old memories, including the books about Rembrandt in my family’s house and the museums in Europe that I went to with my family as a child. But my favorite is the exhibition about the refugee project I did in Strasbourg.
When and how did you learn about NFTs?
I learned about NFTs in March 2021, and I listed my first NFT in September 2021. I think I heard it for the first time among friends. I can’t remember exactly, but I am someone who visits many forums. When I started seeing it around here often, I started researching.
How do you think NFTs are changing the way we experience art?
NFTs have offered significant opportunities for global exposure to artists like me, primarily focused on local work. While our art often revolves around regional observations, I believe we’ve attained the freedom to address global issues. It’s truly remarkable to witness artists from diverse cultures across the world converging through a shared language. Moreover, exploring global narratives provides invaluable insights and cultivates empathy for different cultures.
Despite being a well-known photographer in my home country, I’ve begun creating new content for a global audience who may not be familiar with my work. This content includes interviews, articles, backstage videos, and more. As a result, these productions have allowed me to establish a robust archive that delves deep into my body of work. I’ve never felt such a necessity prior to the emergence of NFTs.
What’s your ultimate goal as an artist?
Leaving a great narrative legacy in a minimal life
Thanks a lot for sharing your story and process with us Doruk!! We’re glad to have you in the Nightmare Drop!