Article about me and my work published at DSLR photography magazine, January issue, interviewed by @duygutaneri. Honoured to be featured in UK's biggest photography magazine, thank you all for supporting me through my journey.
A Director at the Core of Nature
We interviewed director and photographer Elif Koyutürk before her exhibition which will be held on 27 April.
[photograph] © Carlo Diliberti
Mustafa Demirtaş 7 April 2017
1993 born Elif Koyutürk is a very talented photographer, besides she is an awarded director with short movies. Currently she is becoming popular with her nature photographs and she will be holding an exhibition in Consulate General of Austria in April. The title of the exhibition is “Eternity of Nature and Soul”, and she says “My exhibition is examining human and nature as two separate realities and in the meanwhile it is focusing on their interaction and their dialogues. We can say that it records the modifications of people who are in touch with nature”.
Before the exhibition, we asked the young artist what we wonder about her.
[photograph] Elif, preparing for “that moment” © Aurelia Albrecht
I used to look after 11 dogs in our house; I grew up nested with animals and nature. My mother never ran to me when I fell down, saying “oh my darling are you okay?”; I always stood up myself and moved on. The style that I was raised affected my career and my lifestyle.
When did you start to be interested in photography and directing? Was this your dream since you were a child or did you realize your talent and creativity later? Do you remember saying “Yes, this must be my way!”?
When I was a kid I used to have cameras around me because of my family. Cameras, hand-held cameras… At that age you don’t usually plan your future. My family used to shoot films and photos all the time, at our vacations and adventures… After I grew up a little bit, I started to take the cameras from my mother and father and I started to film things around me. I used to look after 11 dogs in our house; I grew up nested with animals and nature. My mother never ran to me when I fell down, saying “oh my darling are you okay?”; I always stood up myself and moved on. The style that I was raised affected my career and my lifestyle.
It is priceless to grow up in nature. I realized that I was going to do this as my career when I was living in Sicily. “That moment” happened for me when I was shooting in Levanzo Island, Sicily I guess. A woman was walking towards her house, her face expression was too emotional and different, and I can’t explain it with words. I took my camera off and started to film her from a distance. At that moment, you become “one” with that place, everything around you stop but meanwhile they act as well. As of that day my adventure telling human stories and nature started. In fact, “that moment”s are quite often, they still happen!
[photograph] Human is among Elif’s favorite themes © Elif Koyutürk
[photograph] “I grew up nested with animals and nature” © Elif Koyutürk
You shoot short movies except for photography. You have awards from different areas. Which one of your achievements impresses you more and why?
I got an award from Sony Photography Awards with my “that moment” story in Levanzo that I just told you. The reason it impressed me was the story behind it. Nothing was told to me but I could feel it the moment I saw the face of that woman…
Apart from this, one other character that excited me the most was my “Louise” character. My dear Louise, who was living downstairs when I was living in Austria, the character in my short movie. While she was watering her flowers, she was telling me her World War II memories, then suddenly she stopped and asked me “Elif, do you know what a flower mean?”. At that moment I was only concentrated on Louise. She moved on: “Every flower and every seed to be grown is actually a sign of hope that we can live in peace in this world. Don’t worry about what’s happening around you, there is always hope!” When I heard that, I took my camera and shot that short movie. I thought about the situation of the world and I just stared at Louise. For me, this is among the most impressive stories ever.
[photograph] “Thank you for this shot” © Elif Koyutürk
I guess your nature passion plays a big role in your success at nature photography. Do you think you have an adventurous soul? If so, how do you reflect that soul to your work?
I became one with nature after growing up in it. When I enter into a forest, I can close my eyes and dig into that moment. As if I am in a movie, quivering leafs, footsteps of the geek behind me, warbles of birds, wet soil that I set my foot in, and the clouds informing the upcoming rain… When you feel these, you become one with nature. After you feel this, you can picture it anyway you want and I’m sure that it would be quite good. Because I’m neither aiming to take the perfect picture nor the golden proportion; I only try to shoot the feeling there. The feeling that I “feel”.
If you had a chance to go back to any moment that you shot, what would that be?
There are many. I might want to go back to the moment that I faced a wolf in Austria when it was raining crazy. It was raining so heavily that I could barely see my ahead. Then I faced a wolf. I saw him and he saw me, then he slowly climbed upon a high rock and he stared at the sky. And I shot that moment. I put my camera back into my backpack and I thanked.
[photograph] Two different realities... © Elif Koyutürk
I believe that I will find new characters, and new nature fabric in America. I want to shoot a film in Sicily. A true human story which the scenario is already prepared! I will do this in 10 years!
You are 23 years old. We are sure that you set lots of goals. Can we ask you about the most essential one?
All of my goals are essential for me. I prepare to-do lists for every month and every year. I have an everlasting energy that being 23 years old gave. I’m going to open a brand new page at my career; I believe that I will find new characters, and new nature fabric in America. I want to shoot a film in Sicily, it’s essential. A true human story which the scenario is already prepared! I will do this in 10 years! Of course no one knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, but as long as I live, I’m going to have my own absolute musts, which change and improve along me.
Can you tell us a little bit about your exhibition titled Eternity of Nature and Soul which will be held on April?
You are going to see the Elif that I told about at this interview. Things that I see and feel. The steps that I take with my soul and self, the people that I run into... It shows the photographs and films from my roadmap and binary oppositions. My exhibited works are examining human and nature as two separate realities and in the meanwhile focusing on their interaction and their dialogues. It records the modifications of people who are in touch with nature.
My fellow friend Zeynep Bolat who has a way with me the most stood as the curator for the exhibition. I think it will be fantastic!
Humankind resisting to the climatic changes reveals its difference from other beings due to its ability of transforming the nature in its way. Although the human is tended to dominate the nature, one is not able to pass beyond the boundaries determined by the nature. The desire of crossing the limits leads man to embark on a journey nourished by curiosity. Throughout the journey, nature remains the best witness of human pursuit.
The exhibition “Eternity of Nature and Soul” curated by Zeynep Bolat emerges as a journal of the artist Elif Koyutürk. Images gathered from road route sources of a traveling artist lead us to a dichotomy. The works exhibited focus on the one hand to the human and the nature as two distinct realities, and on the other hand to their interaction and dialogue. Finally, it records a transition of human deeply intertwined with nature.
Elif Koyutürk: Eternity of Nature and Soul
Fotoğraf ve Video Sergisi Photography and Video Exhibition
Küratör Curator: Zeynep Bolat
İklimsel değişimlere karşı koyan insan, doğayı da kendine göre dönüştürerek diğer canlılardan farklılığını ortaya koymuştur. Her ne kadar insan doğaya egemen olsa da doğanın çizdiği sınırların dışına geçememiştir. Sınırları geçme arzusu insanoğlunu merakları doğrultusunda bir yolculuğa çıkarır. Bu yolculuk boyunca doğa, insanoğlunun arayışının en yakın tanığıdır. Küratörlüğünü Zeynep Bolat’ın gerçekleştirdiği People and Nature sergisi, sanatçı Elif Koyutürk’ün bir güncesi olarak karşımıza çıkıyor. Gezgin bir sanatçının yol haritasından oluşan imajlar bizi ikili karşıtlıklara ulaştırıyor. Sergide yer alan çalışmalar, insanı ve doğayı iki ayrı gerçeklik olarak ele alırken aynı zamanda birbirleri ile olan etkileşimlerine ve diyaloglarına odaklanıyor. Doğa ile iç içe olan insanın değişimini kayıt altına alıyor.
Humankind resisting to the climatical changes reveals its difference from other beings due to its ability of transforming the nature in its way. Although the human is tended to dominate the nature, one is not able to pass beyond the boundries determined by the nature. The desire of crossing the limits leads man to embark on a journey nourished by curiosity. Throughout the journey, nature remains the best witness of human pursuit.
The exhibition “Eternity of Nature and Soul” curated by Zeynep Bolat emerges as a journal of the artist Elif Koyutürk. Images gathered from road route sources of a traveling artist lead us to a dichotomy. The works exhibited focus on the one hand to the human and the nature as two distinct realities, and on the other hand to their interaction and dialogue. Finally, it records a transition of human deeply intertwined with nature.
The only word that young photographer and director Elif Koyutürk, who shines globally in a short span of time doesn’t want to hear is “to stop”!
Elif Koyutürk, who calls herself a “nomad photographer” is a young photographer and director who already achieved global awards. Elif, who attracted our notice at the shooting she did with Red Bull for Turkey Rally in 2014, started to film big budget advertisements and brand stories of global brands such as Red Bull Media House, KTM, Husqvarna, KISKA, and Carl Zeiss with her work reflecting motorsports world with all its speed and thrill.
Elif, whose short movie titled Good Morning Louise elected in the previous days as the video of the week by Awardeo, also holds the Sony Photography “Commended Photographer” award. We interviewed Elif before the opening of her personal photography and video exhibition titled Eternity of Nature and Soul which will start on 27th April in Consulate General of Austria in Istanbul.
[Photograph of Elif Koyutürk]
Portrait Photograph: Gökhan Yorgancıoğlu
Oktay Tutuş: Elif, would you define yourself as an emotional woman?
Elif Koyutürk: It depends. All the things I experienced whilst working and constantly leaving people behind when changing countries ensured me to get this under control. I especially used to suffer from strong yearning. In the beginning, I used to cry while leaving every country; now I’m getting accustomed to this situation. I realized that my sensuality has a switch on/switch off button and now I can switch it on or off. When you encounter lots of different stories you have to control your emotions and concentrate. But I had times that I cried while writing a story! When I enter the world of that character or that mood, I get very emotional, especially at the stage of writing.
How much importance do you think this aspect has or how much it dominates when telling stories?
I love drama. Actually it’s an ironic situation. Because I am a positive person, I always smile no matter what. Even my friends always say “Elif, we are expecting a comedy from you!”.
The characters I tell usually have sides coming from difficulties and victimizations. To write about them, I initially have to wrap myself up to their characters or their lives. I collect data about them for weeks. My emotional side shows up then; it is important for me to feel the character in my heart. The roads he/she walked, the sufferings he/she had become my world out of a sudden. Any work without emotion doesn’t have much importance for me. Any work done without any feeling is a bit superficial for me.
I try to create a feeling and a context for every work. Music, colors, visuals and stories are the best ways for me to express these feelings. That is to say, my emotions matter a lot when telling stories. And it is really weird but whenever I am truly happy, I can write perfect drama stories; stories coming from the merger of two different emotions.
Details in Nature from Elif Koyuturk on Vimeo.
How much importance do you think stories have? And do you ever feel anxious about truly reflecting a story while telling it?
Humankind grows up listening to stories. It continues to want to hear these stories when it grows up. It wants to watch and read the characters which it puts itself in their place or dreams about. After all don’t our own lives consist of the stories that we create? For me, stories mean different experiences; to enter into one’s life, to learn everything like a spy, and to recreate… Stories are one of the most important things in my life. Without a story, shoot amazing things with any camera you like, it is meaningless. Stories are the building blocks of everything. If you have a strong story, that film forges ahead!
To genuinely tell about it, I need to be “IT”. At the beginning of my research, I actually always feel that excitement; “If I will be able to tell it?” concern. And the reason for it is I barely know that character yet. But in time, I read about it, I interview relatives (if they are alive) and then this concern disappears. These researches and trying to be “it” phases even affects my own life; such as an actress living like the character she performs. These sweet concerns are like a game for me. A game that I can’t give up enjoying!
Can we call you an adventurous person?
I love adventures. I always find myself in a different adventure at every work and I love difficulties. My self-respect rises when I succeed in a difficulty. “Yes Elif! Look, you made it; there was nothing to be scared of. Come on for the next one!” I say to myself a lot.
I especially experience this at productions necessitates physical power. Because there is a real situation there; there is a place that I need to climb up with heavy equipment on my back. By the way I am not a climber, if I was one, maybe these productions would be easier for me, and they wouldn’t even be on my adventures list! When I find myself in male-dominated productions, I push myself 10 times harder to find the “best potential” in me. I definitely am a risk taker adventurer; otherwise life would be too boring for me.
Serkan Özdemir / A Riders Passion from Elif Koyuturk on Vimeo.
Actually I think that you have a war reporter profile. What do you think about being a reporter or about reporting news?
My basis comes from there. I studied documentary and journalism and as a child my dream was to become a war reporter. The reason for this was again to go there and to listen to the stories of the people there. To make news and basically report them was never my dream. I tell news with my own style, by making films; more allusive, by making people think about it.
I always question everything in my life.
I never directly wanted to be a reporter. I used everything I learned from journalism for film-documentary field. They are like two different worlds, but they are too interwoven for me. I grab varied emotions in my works as I try to dominate these two different sides. The most important thing I learned in journalism and affected my movie career was my communication with people. I realized when living and working in different places on earth that communication style matters a lot. I learned how to ask questions to people, and how to create a story in that world. To this end, actually I have a bit of everything that you think of.
Could you tell us a bit about your exhibition Eternity of Nature and Soul which will be held in April?
It shows the photographs and films from my roadmap and binary oppositions. My exhibited works are examining human and nature as two separate realities and in the meanwhile focusing on their interaction and their dialogues. It records the modifications of people who are in touch with nature.
As I was always in touch with nature, I came up with that same emotion for this exhibition. My fellow friend Zeynep Bolat stood as the curator. The exhibition is consisting of the photographs and films that I took in Austria. It will be held in the last week of April in Consulate General of Austria and it will also exhibit the series of a social responsibility project that I undertook for the children suffering from Progeria disease. We will support the fund with the sales from this series. To raise awareness with the power of art was one of my dreams and I think it will become true. Our readers are all welcome!
Even though humankind exceeded the limits of nature, currently it is in trouble with the borders that it itself drew. As a wanderer, what was the most troubled human-made thing that you encountered as you were travelling?
Ego and prejudice. They are human-made and one of the things that everyone has. I always encountered egos and prejudices of people in different places. It is in our nature. It was the most challenging thing for me; instead of leaving their ego at a side and trying to do something perfectly, they are trying to denigrate or separate each other. It happened a lot of times to me as well; but I’m not a quitter. Someone looking down on me, it is not a problem for me at all; it is their own problem… But I had times that these egos tried to get the things that I had. Then you become a warrior. The best answer I give to ego is success. Easily and quickly, those people go back to their cores when they see success and your relationship becomes a normal one. I learned to be patient in these ego wars.
Surf Project #N2 from Elif Koyuturk on Vimeo.
You believe that travelling changes things in people’s lives. What do you think about the technologies that changes people’s lives without travelling? For example VR technology? Because researches have shown that people want to see places they have never been and to travel the world with VR technology.
VR is an amazing thing… But I don’t count it as travel if I don’t touch! My sense of travel is a bit different. When I travel, I don’t stay less than two months in that place. First of all, I contact the locals and I ask them to take me to the ghettos, to the most dangerous places. Usually they ask me “Are you crazy?”, but I see the reality there, I talk to people, I take their photos or I just listen to them and look around. For instance if I didn’t get in contact with people in those streets of Brazil, I wouldn’t count myself as I travelled. I don’t know, maybe if they contact VR with Skype or something… Joking aside, you need to be in the field and in dialogue to reach and understand the real people of a city. For that reason, it wouldn’t make a difference for me if I travel the world with VR since what change me aren’t buildings or streets, it’s the people.
Would you say “Okay I need to stop here” someday? Or what point would that be?
No, never! I don’t like to stop! I think I am not at the age to answer this question yet; as a 23 year old woman, the word “stop” scares me a lot! Now it is time to move fast; countries are changing, I am changing, I am improving myself.
Everything is developing too fast around me; even if I exhaust, even if I fall down, I get up and move on and it will be like this for a long time. It has to be.
Author: Oktay Tutuş
SONY : EXTREME SPORTS STORYTELLING WITH ELİF KOYUTÜRK [photograph] 16.09.2017 @ Sony Concept Store – Sirkeci
Director, photographer, and adventurer
Young adventurer Elif Koyutürk, is a BİLGİ graduate director and photographer. We recognized her with her movies that she filmed about motorsports. Even though she is pretty young, she is being talked about globally by virtue of the global firms that she has worked with, and she is taking photos constantly and everywhere. Elif Koyutürk, who was awarded with many prizes at her young age, is going to hold an exhibition in April in Consulate General Austria.
Let’s start to know you with your education…
After studying at TED College for 12 years, I continued my education at BİLGİ, I am a Television Reporting and Programming graduate. I think that BİLGİ is the only education institution that educates freely in communication sector. In the meanwhile, I studied cinematography in Spain for 1 year and I was invited to a certificate program in Norway. I had an entertaining education life.
How was your transition to professional life after your graduation?
I was always working while I was studying. I started working when I was 17. Waiter, receptionist, social responsibility projects, camera assistant… I did everything that you can imagine. These improved me a lot; for me, it is impossible for a director, a story teller to reflect a character without knowing and understanding it. My professional life which started really early provided convenience for me when I was graduated from the university. My daily working hours were around 15-17 hours. Start to enjoy working when you’re young. Go be a grocery boy, whatever it is. When you put your ego aside and emphasize more, you will be successful.
Do you have an interesting memory?
I have a lot! I think my shooting with the Mayor of Sicily which I did at the opening of Unicef at Sicily would be in the top 5. I was 18 years old and I was present at that opening with a stroke of luck. Suddenly I saw the Mayor Leonardo, he was surrounded with a group of journalists. I sneaked quietly behind him and said “Caio!”. When he asked me who I was, I told him that I was a student and I wanted to interview him at that moment at the parliament. At 11 o’clock in the evening, I was invited to the parliament with my scooter among five guards and Leonardo opened the building for the interview. It was weird. We accomplished a perfect shooting.
What are your future plans?
I like to shoot stories that affect people’s lives. My future plan is to enlarge my human bank more and to grow with them. To meet more characters, to touch more lives and to film movies.
Do you have an advice for the young adventurers?
In your career way, you will frequently find yourself saying I can’t do it. But you will do it. Always wonder, ask lots of questions. Your self-belief will take you where you deserve, don’t quit exploring and learning.
Why being both a director and a photographer?
Because these are the things that I like to do the most. I can express myself the best with these. I can create my own world and get lost in it. It is such different and beautiful; I play the role of different characters when I am writing. One moment I am in Asia, one moment I am in Africa. I set up a world where there are no limits. Since I was a kid I always had a thing with characters, and now it is my job as an expression art.
We recognized you with motorsports and human story films, how did this process improve?
I love extreme sports. I intersect with motorsports because of its fast, high concentrated and adrenalized structure. I enjoyed taking photos and shooting films for all of my life. I used to shoot nature in general; the reason for this is that I grew up in a farm. My motorsports adventure started when I meet off-road; and then I shot films on motorsports. I reached global brands, my movies were admired. On the other hand, I was always listening to stories of different people, and this led me to write scenarios and to shoot these people. I worked voluntarily at eventide homes when I was in high school and the stories there inspired me a lot. Now I keep on doing this in different places on earth.
You worked with global brands as a young Turkish woman, this must have been hard, and did you ever encounter any obstacle because you were a woman? Or did you ever were marginalized because you were a women at the motorsports world?
Of course, if there is a sector that probably no woman is in, it is motorsports sector. It takes time for them to accept you. I generally get the acceptance I seek by means of the quality of my work. At first no one cares about you, but then they watch the films and you earn a prestige. Different… I was marginalized a lot but I didn’t let people do it. Be successful, do such good work that the people who are trying to marginalize you would have to think twice.
You have global achievements, what are those?
I got the chance to work with big global brands by now. Red Bull Media House, KTM, Husqvarna, KISKA, Carl Zeiss etc. I am living in different countries for 3 years since my productions are always abroad. I am gaining excellent experience. I’m in love with my work. So I don’t feel like working when I’m producing- this is a great factor for success-. I was chosen as Commended Photographer in Sony World Photography Awards, with my shootings I did when I was in Sicily. I was featured in Travel&Leisure’s “100 Stunning Photos of the World” list with my wolf photo. My film was awarded the best film of the week by Awardeo. The rest is coming.
What’s next? What are your new projects?
I am working hard. In April I will be holding a solo exhibition in Consulate General of Austria, everyone is welcome. Apart from this, I am working on a scenario. For the last 3 years I am living like a nomad, I changed 4 countries. I guess my next stop will be America, my dream was always to make a movie there.
Exhibition: Eternity of Nature and Soul
Elif Koyutürk’s nature and human journal, gathered from her Austria map and reflected through her camera will be exhibited at Austria Culture Office as of 27 April.
Young artist Elif Koyutürk’s exhibition consisting of the photographs and films she took in Austria will be exhibited at Austria Culture Office at 27 April, 19:30. The exhibition curated by Zeynep Bolat is focusing on the intimacy and distance between nature and human. The exhibition is examining these two concepts as two separate realities and it can be said that this exhibition recorded the ebbs and flows with interactions and dialogues. It seems that the ALMA concert after the exhibition will take the frequencies to several senses.
Tags: Elif Koyutürk, Exhibition, Austria Culture Office, Photography, Art
Author: Öykü Akdaş
ETERNITY OF NATURE AND SOUL
The exhibition “Eternity of Nature and Soul” curated by Zeynep Bolat emerges as journal of the young artist Elif Koyutürk. Snapshots drawing attention to contrasts, taken by a traveler woman artist. Exhibited photographs are examining human and nature as two separate realities and in the meanwhile focusing on the interaction and the dialogue problematic between human and nature- by remarking the transformation of human intertwined with nature.
[photograph, Koyutürk is also interested in motorsports]
Great Success of the Young Director
23 year old director and photographer Elif Koyutürk is drawing attention with her success. Koyutürk, who studied cinematography in Spain for 1 year was invited to a certificate program in Norway. Last year, she shot a short movie titled “Günaydın Louise” [“Good Morning Louise”]. The film is telling the story of a 91 year old woman who went to Austria during World War 2 and it attracted great attention. Elif Koyutürk, who was awarded with several international awards, is currently working on a new film project.
ELİF KOYUTÜRK, WHO INSPIRITS FILMS AND SPORTS COMMUNITIES WITH HER POSITIVE SOUL!
Elif Koyutürk is a 23 year old, highly talented and ambitious photographer, director and camerawoman who won lots of prizes. Despite her young age, she accomplished very much liked productions such as Transanatolia racing film, KTM pilot Serkan Özdemir’s “Dakar Promosyon” film, Hard Enduro series with Red Bull Media House, her favorite short movie “Günaydın Louise [Good Morning Louise]” and “Details in Nature”. Let’s get to know her and her future plans better together…
Interview: Özlem Köseoğlu
Motoron: Elif, to start with, can you introduce yourself?
Elif Koyutürk: I was born in January 1993 in Istanbul. I was raised in a farm at Kurtköy. I grew up in nature, so I always had lots of animals around me. I have an incredible animal love inside me and I especially adore my dogs. As for my education life; after studying at TED College for 12 years, I continued my education at Bilgi University, after that I studied cinematography for 1 year at UEM Madrid University. Then, I kept on my education at the certificate program in Norway that I was invited to.
When I was a student, I worked in several jobs such as a receptionist, a waitress etc. My aim was to know as much people as possible. Apart from this, getting to know different lives while working was fun for me. I was working in small businesses at the places I live to earn the money to maintain my life. What I was doing in different countries was seeking characters and stories. This is a journey from Spain to Brazil and it is still continuing. Most people think that lessons tough in schools are enough but I think they are missing a point. Our valuable teachers are teaching us how to potentially find the stories, but after learning it, it is up to your skills and success to go out and to reach the characters you want. Indeed I got to meet lots of people since I worked as a waitress in my twenties and I had pretty good experiences. Most of them inspired me; one only just lost someone he loves, the other one celebrating his birthday at the table next. Look, there are perfect details in bars and cafes when you go deep. I was observing for long hours when I was working as a waitress too. Shortly, you can’t understand the top unless you start at the bottom of the ladder. Effort and observation, always! Telling some esthetical things over these beautiful and different scenarios became my life and it seems like it will continue like this.
[photograph, Sicily Mount Etna]
M: Let’s talk about the productions that you participated in throughout your career?
E.K.: I participated in lots of productions about motorsports, extreme sports, and human stories. I usually worked in Italy, Spain, Austria and Germany. Among these, the productions that I liked the most were the ones about strong human stories and portraits. I try to carry out social responsibility projects as much as I can. I believe that art and peace are the two things above and stronger than anything. At my latest production, I worked with a child with a genetic disorder called “Progeria”, after that I shot a documentary with a veteran soldier who lost his legs in Austria. These are among the productions that I directed and arranged entirely. In my social responsibility projects, everybody is helping me voluntarily and we altogether catch a synergy. Let me explain this way; I include everyone into the project; starting from the tradesman in Eminönü who sells birds, to the textile supplier in Topkapı, and that way I create an incredibly collective atmosphere. Apart from these social projects, I am also very active in sports. My extreme sports passion started with my fast entrance to the world of Red Bull. I met the brand Red Bull with their advertisements and video contexts when I was around 14 years old. After that I got the chance to work with them when I was studying in the university, and last year I became closely acquainted with Media House in Austria and I participated in their productions. I usually shot motorcycle and air sports. We shot all advertisements of KTM with KISKA. It was very nice and very fast! I don’t like using a single color; I always keep my palette colorful. The subjects I work on feed each other and they all become different. The biggest factor in this is surely my family. Definitely, they always raised my bilateral.
M: Among these productions, which one would you define as the milestone of your career?
E.K.: My acquaintance with Red Bull Media House and my inclusion to their shooting team. I experienced a distinctive work environment and it really helped me drawing a road map for my career. When I met Red Bull Media House, I was working on the promotion film that I wrote for Serkan Özdemir. I shared my idea with them and they motivated me incredibly. 2 weeks after, we shot this promotion film with my valuable sportsman friend Serkan Özdemir, at a fabulous place called Fethiye.
This film that I shot with Serkan, who is a sportsman of KTM was actually my ticket for the KTM world. The most interesting thing for KTM was me doing everything all alone and being very young. After, I moved to Austria and then I started to work for KTM’s big and international projects.
M: As we all know, these organizations are happening in pretty hard and tuff circumstances. As a woman did you encounter any difficulty or did you face weird reactions?
E.K.: Of course. You need to constantly prove yourself for them to accept your existence. As I am pretty stubborn and I fight for what I want, this was never a problem for me. Because even if they didn’t accept me at first time, they did at the second. Generally shooting settings are very different from studios. There is a scale going from freezing cold to Amazon hot. You need to be physically strong; you definitely need that power when carrying cameras and equipment! It doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or a man.
[photograph, Elif Koyutürk and her team mate Juan after the shootings in Amazon]
M: We are sure that all of your works are special for you, but which production did you enjoy the most at the shooting stage?
E.K.: I can say all of the shootings I did in Italy. I get along with Italians, and especially Sicilians. As I have lived there for a while, I face a perfect atmosphere when I go there for a production. Nice food, motorcycles, old buildings… But if I must tell my most unforgettable shooting, it is Brazil. Because there was a really different ambience in Brazil. I was there for the Hard Enduro series undertaken by Red Bull Media House and I stayed there a little longer after the shootings. The reason for it being unforgettable is that I faced a snake there. We were walking in Amazon with Juan, with our cameras. I couldn’t realize the snake passing right by me and as I was just about to step on it, Juan pulled me screaming “Oiiii, ñaña take care!” (Take care!), I still can’t forget that moment. Then, we laughed to this all of the climbing. Actually Juan had saved my life there and it was an unforgettable moment.
M: As someone this close to motorsports, do you have a passion for motorcycles and do you ride one?
E.K.: I don’t ride a motorcycle or an automobile much. I travel with my bicycle as much as possible. My passion is mostly about the esthetic and design. I take motorcycles and classic cars as a type of artwork. I hope I will stop looking and start riding them soon.
M: As talking about nature sports and motorsports, we can feel that “nature” is very important for you. What do you want to say about this?
E.K.: I feel myself very good in nature. There are lots of things to explore. Wherever I turn, I see something that inspires me. Animals, bugs, everything! It is priceless to be “me” in nature and to be involved in a circle.
[photograph, Mayor of Sicily]
M: If you were to measure your portrait stories which occupy an important place in your career with the motorsports projects which you participated in different roles such as a producer, a director or a camerawoman, what would you say?
E.K.: They actually are two different worlds but they always interact with each other. You can mix two completely different subjects and add different perspectives. Such as making a puzzle. I shoot motorsports with the vision I get from my art works. I shoot portraits with the vision I get from extreme sports. There is always an interaction. Right now, they have a fifty-fifty balance. In the future, I will probably be more interested in films.
M: Is there anyone that you see as an idol or anyone who inspires you?
E.K.: There are quite a few people. I think one should always have mentors in life. In your hard times, you can look at their work, be inspired and keep going. They empower you in a good way. As a matter of fact, you don’t even need to know that mentor in person.
M: Let’s talk about your awards and exhibitions.
E.K.: I was awarded with Sony Photography Awards’ “Low Light Commended Photographer” award and Travel and Leisure’s “100 Stunning Photos of the World” award. Up until now, I have held two exhibitions; both of them were social thematic exhibitions held for seniors’ centers. We helped elderly people with the fund.
M: What are your international future plans and projects?
E.K.: At the end of April, I’m going to hold an exhibition at Consulate General of Austria. My solo exhibition is titled “Eternity of Nature and Soul”, my films and photographs are examining human and nature as two separate realities and in the meanwhile focusing on their interaction and their dialogues. Apart from this, currently I am at the writing stage of a film. It will be a nice woman portrait film. I am writing about a strong woman living in 1940s, we will be watching it at the end of 2017, and I want to continue my film career in America for a while, let’s see!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am Elif Koyutürk, I was born in Istanbul in 1993 as a daughter to a family from Antep, and thus food matters as much as my work in my life. I’ve been busy with films and photography for a long time. I am a happy person! I believe everything depends on being positive.
Why did you want to be a director/photographer/adventurer?
Because these are the things that I like to do the most in my life. I can express myself the best with these. I have a job that I can create a different world with, and in that world there are no boundaries to creativity. Isn’t that perfect? I travel a lot by virtue of my job; I get to meet various cultures. I listen to different human stories, very important stories for me. I’m paying my respects again to the people who deemed me worthy of telling their stories to and let me shoot them.
We recognized you with your motorsports and human stories films; can you tell us how did these courses of events happen?
I always loved taking photos. I used to take nature photos in general, and the reason to this was that I was raised in a farm. My motorsports adventure started when I met off-road, and it led me to shooting my motorsports films. On the other hand, I was always listening to people’s stories, and this encouraged me to write scenarios and shoot people.
I was working voluntarily at seniors’ centers when I was in high school; I was always inspired by those stories. Right now I am keeping on doing the same thing in different countries.
Let’s talk about your education life…
I studied 12 years at TED College, after that I continued my education at Bilgi University, in the meanwhile, I studied cinematography in Spain for 1 year and I was invited to a certificate program in Norway. I had a really entertaining education life. While I was studying, I always worked; as a receptionist, waitress, set attendant, camerawoman... I managed to create a different world for myself as I was working in various sectors and various countries. I learned how humanism is important and how EGO is unnecessary.
As a young Turkish woman you have worked with big global brands. How did you reach those brands?
I value belief above all. Nothing was a coincidence for me; I was learning the shooting dates and places of the people I wanted to meet and I was going to them. I was saying “Hello this is Elif!” and showing them my work, lucky me they always liked them! They invited me to their giant productions. When I was 21, I was literally the only woman at all of the productions I was in. To be the only woman and the youngest person in a male-dominated community was both challenging and fun.
After the shootings I did with Red Bull and KTM, I met KISKA, KTM’s production company, and I moved to Austria. In my 7 months long journey, I filmed big budget movies. I achieved beautiful memories and great experience.
How do you want to be mentioned about your career?
I want to be mentioned as someone who created a difference. It would be priceless to be mentioned as a person who raised awareness and excited feelings in people with especially my social responsibility projects.
Do you criticize yourself? Usually who criticizes you first about your work?
I guess I criticize my own work a lot more than other people. I have this habit to prove myself my better in my next work. Usually the first critic comes from my mother. I trust her the most. After I shoot my films, I always go directly to my mother with an excitement, she watches them and we revise them together. Receiving nice critics is amusing. I love receiving critics; it shows the value that people give to my work.
You did a great number of things for your goals; hence you succeeded really good works. What will you do next to accomplish your supreme objective?
I will work hard. I love my job so much that it became my life. When it’s like this, you become active always. I prepare myself a “Goals” list every month. I prepare a table about the things I need to do, hence I proceed in the way to my supreme goal more decisive. For now, my biggest goal is to do successful works in America and to shoot my first feature-length movie with my scenario. As long as you are determined and your goal is clear, there is no room for words such as “I can’t do, impossible”.
As a rising young director and photographer, what would you give up on your career road?
I guess the first thing that I gave up for a while was my social life. I was always thinking about films. Film sector literally becomes your life and you need to dedicate your life to it. Even so if you ask me, I would say that I don’t want to give up anything.
What is your biggest dream?
Of course Oscar! Maybe this is something that would make the readers say “come on!”. But I believe that your dreams are not real unless they scare you. I always live with the question “Why not?”, even though people use the words “impossible, too hard”. I proved many people many times that there is nothing as “impossible”. Nobody said it would be easy but if you work, everything is possible!
Would you tell us about your most enjoyable and the hardest production memories?
Generally they all have one thing in common: hard circumstances. I don’t work in studios; I always work outside, on mountains, in nature. Thus, circumstances change constantly; you become durable for temperatures from -20 degrees to 46 degrees, you climb with heavy equipment, you sleep and edit in your tent instead of a hotel. I enjoy these difficulties; I gain more physical and mental experience in every shooting. Nature is a luxury being served to me; I try to make use of it the most I can and to protect it as well. One of my best memories is from the shooting that I was face to face with a wolf.
Up until now you won international prizes from Sony Photography Awards and Travel Leisure, could you tell us about these?
The award I won from Sony was for a photo of a woman that I took when I was living in Sicily. I was researching about the lives on islands. On the other hand, the award I won from Travel and Leisure was for a photo of a wolf that I took when I was living in Austria. Both of them are from two different shootings that I really enjoyed.
What’s next on your calendar?
I will be holding an exhibition in Consulate General of Austria in April, all readers are welcome!
We interviewed Elif Koyutürk, a young and talented woman who has important film and photography works in motorsports sector.
Hello Elif, could you tell us about yourself and your education?
Hello! I was born in January 1993 in Istanbul. I was raised as a nature-farm person. I studied 12 years at TED College, after that I continued my education at Bilgi University, in the meanwhile, I studied cinematography in Spain for 1 year and I was invited to a certificate program in Norway. I had a really entertaining education life. While I was studying, I always worked; as a receptionist, waitress, set attendant, camerawoman… I managed to create a different world for myself as I was working in various sectors and various countries. I learned how humanism is important and how EGO is unnecessary. I like dogs a lot, I looked after and adopted lots of dogs.
How did you start to be interested in motorsports?
I was always into it. I find motorcycles and automobiles very esthetical since I was a kid! So it was not awkward for me to start shooting automobile and motorcycle films and advertisements when I grow up. Actually I like everything fast and risky. Apart from motorsports, I shoot extreme sports too. The adrenaline in the air is worth doing everything.
We track you at productions in Brazil, Italy, and Spain. You have become an international young pride for us! How did your international adventure become?
Thank you! Working at international productions was always on my mind. My first international experience was in Madrid, after that it continued in Sicily. There, I shot 2 different documentaries on my own. After, meeting with Red Bull Media House and Throttle Entertainment took me to Brazil with Hard-Enduro series. And my work in Brazil took me to Austria, and that took me to other countries. I mean all of them are connected to each other. The starting point for everything is to continue on your own way without listening to anyone except for successful people. A lot of people found what I did impossible, but for me nothing is impossible; if you have enough self-belief and patience.
Do you have unforgettable shooting memories?
Yes, quiversful. I can’t forget the moment when I was shooting a wolf in Austria; it was the first time that I was face to face with a wolf in wild nature, it was unusual. Another one; we entered into Amazon with my friend Juan in Brazil for the Hard Enduro series shooting with Red Bull Media House and we needed to complete a tough climbing which lasts for 1 hour. The problem was not the climbing; our route in Amazon was going through a marsh lake. A giant snake passed right by me when I was walking in the reeds! I guess I couldn’t be talking with you if my friend from Ecuador didn’t save me J
We congratulate you for your awards from Sony World Photography Awards and Travel&Leisure; are you planning on holding new exhibitions soon?
Yes, I will be holding an exhibition in Consulate General of Austria in April. It is all about nature and human, all readers are welcome!
How does it feel to be a woman in motorsports productions?
Enchanting. Usually I am the only woman and the youngest person at the shootings. It makes me really happy to be in this sector as a woman. The beautiful relationship between women and details makes a difference in our films. I think we should be in this sector more. It will create a difference if women participate more in sports films sector.
Do you have a favorite automobile/motorcycle model that you want to have?
I am mad about classic automobiles/motorcycles. Porsche 911 Targa 4.0. And a 70 model Ford pick-up that I would modify the back, and of course a BMW R50. Multifarious J
Young Adventurer Elif Koyutürk
11 January 2017
Elif Koyutürk, born in 1993 in Istanbul, is a young adventurer, and a globally awarded rising director and photographer … We made a short interview with Elif, who makes everyone smile and who impresses us with the sincerity of her work.
How was your education life?
After studying at TED College for 12 years, I continued my education at Bilgi University. In the meantime I took cinematography classes in Spain for one year and I was invited to a certificate program in Norway. But of course, I can say that education is 20% of this. The important thing is to be out in the streets working, and I gained heaps of experience as I was working.
We recognized you with your beautiful movies that you filmed with Transanatolia and Serkan Özdemir. How did this adventure become in motorsports community?
When I was 17, my childhood friend Kaan Sayın started to take me to offroad meetings every weekend. Besides I was raised in a farm and I always loved nature. I started to have a nice relationship with motorsports every weekend by virtue of nature and all wheels and in 2015 I filmed a race movie for Transanatolia. Audience loved it, I received loads of nice feedbacks and one of these feedbacks was from Serkan Özdemir. I directed and shot Serkan’s “Dakar Promosyon” film. We grabbed a nice audience and we had nice displays. It is a community that I truly respect; you can’t do this without liking it. After the shootings we were always covered in mud, I remember a day kilograms of sand pouring out of my shoes when I returned to my hotel! And of course there are those times that you strand at nighttime, then you have to set up a tent, light a fire and wait for the morning to come. I remember several times editing or writing in the tent, it is well said that great things always come from out of your comfort zone.
We admired you through both your creativity and the quality of your videos at the shootings you did with Red Bull for Turkey Rally Championship in 2015… How did your rally adventure that you tracked for 8 months in Turkey begin in the first place?
My enterprise with Red Bull started in 2012, it has always been one of the 5 brands that I like the most, and shooting rallies for them for 8 months has been tiring but definitely priceless for me. We were filming every race, editing them and we were producing 2 videos at a day. I had another team-mate with me and as a result, 2015 Turkey Rally Championship has been an unforgettable memory for me.
You made a short movie about the championship of Yağız Avcı at Turkey Rally Championship, and we really liked that video. Are you thinking about making the long version of that?
I think Yağız Avcı is one of the most respectable sportsmen racing at Turkey Rally Championship. He is respectful and he was my friend at the rally shootings for 8 months. I edited a video about his championship battle in an hour and that video was liked a lot. .But for now, we don’t have any plan to make the feature-length version of it. Maybe in the future! Why not…
We also know you from the abroad productions that you participate in, how did you start to work abroad?
I worked as a cameraman at Hard-Enduro series which Red Bull Media House and Throttle Entertainment, two companies I joined in Brazil, undertook. I got the chance to meet the team at the Red Bull Sea to Sky enduro race in Kemer, I was there as a director and producer for KTM. In short, they watched my films and they enjoyed them. 2 months later, I was in Brazil, and 1 month later I started to work with KISKA, KTM’s production company. I started to film big budget motorcycle advertisements, and brand stories. It had been a 7 month long adventure, and I gained perfect experience and people. Everything was connected, what is important is the right people to watch the right things at the right places…
You caught pretty good achievements at this young age of yours. Recently, you won recognition with your last solo short movie “Good Morning Louise” (“Günaydın Lousie”). Congratulations, with this film you expressed the other side of your work other than motorsports. How did this course of events happen?
Thank you very much! For me, human stories are very important; I always seek for a story. Louise is a 97 year old woman who went to Austria during World War II. She was always an inspiration for me. When I was living in Austria, Louise used to live downstairs. One day I went downstairs and we shot the film in 2 hours. It became a nice portrait film. Currently I can’t tell you the exact names because they are not certain yet but we will be watching Louise in some festivals this summer.
What is the most important thing in life for you?
Family, and self-belief. Nothing can stop a person who has self-belief, that’s why it is so important. And my family gave me my vision; they are very much valuable people…
We also admired your photographs which awarded you “Sony Photography Commended Photographer” award and Travel Leisure’s “100 Stunning Photos of the World” award. What are your plans for 2017, will you be holding new photograph exhibitions?
Yes, I will be holding several exhibitions. One of them will be at Consulate General of Austria, it will be in April, and all readers are welcome!
What are your plans for the future?
Currently I am working on a movie, surprise! For the future, I am planning to continue on producing in America. Let’s see… Everything is depending on hard work and chance.
Thank you Elif, I wish you a continued success; keep on making us proud…
For Good Morning Louise: www.vimeo.com/193306686
Details in Nature: www.vimeo.com/189763745
Mohammed is a seven year-old boy. He escaped from the war in Syria and came to Turkey along with his family. The family is presently living in Batman.
Mohammed faced two giant struggles throughout his seven year lifetime. One struggle leaved him no choice but to escape from the war in his motherland, his country, where he was born. The other one made him physically look much older even though he is only seven years old. Cutis Laxa! Cutis Laxa is a congenital connective tissue disorder in which the skin becomes inelastic and hangs loosely in folds. Researches concerning the treatment of such disease are in progress. Nevertheless what is important at this point is to make a difference!
It is crucial to raise awareness to this disease and to all children who were born with it. Thus, photograph artist Elif Koyutürk started pursuing ways to make a difference in Mohammed’s life as of the moment she came across his story. As a photographer, the best way to affect Mohammed was to take his photographs. Therefore Elif planned a scene; we met Mohammed for a photo-shoot and we accomplished a splendid one!
These photographs will be exhibited in Elif Koyutürk’s exhibition titled “Eternity of the Nature and Soul” in Culture Office of Consulate General of Austria as of 27th April 2017. These portraits will be contributed to the people who make a difference in Mohammed’s life by donating the found established to support him.
A tiny glitter in a child’s eyes is foremost precious to all of us! Follow our project to learn more about Cutis Laxa disease and to enter the world of these children.
She is displaying souls of countries through slow travel!
Elif Koyutürk is a photographer and director who carried out distinctive works. At the countries she visits, she stays not only for a week but for months, and she works there as well. Elif, who ultimately perpetuated the Alps’ unique nature and local people’s lives through short-movies and photographs, is currently filming nomads’ (Yörükler) lives in the Taurus Mountains with the support of a USA based production company who is known for its movies with Oscar awards.
Önder ÖNDEŞ / firstname.lastname@example.org
03.11.2017 – 08:00
[photograph of Elif Koyutürk with her camera and animals]
Let’s introduce you to a promising and wanderer photographer. Elif, who has lived in Austria, Sicily and Switzerland for a while, was ultimately visiting nomads’ (Yörükler) natural lives at the Taurus Mountains. She filmed the Taurus Mountains and the nomads’ (Yörükler) lives in touch with nature throughout 3 weeks. Elif Koyutürk’s works are praised globally and she is receiving offers from international production companies. We interviewed Elif, and she is introducing herself as a traveller trying to capture the soul of the countries she visit.
[photograph of Elif Koyutürk with athletes]
Why do you chase human stories in various countries?
I can make anywhere my home. I think this is the most important thing, after that, living in Brazil or Austria doesn´t feel like I´m far away. When a person gets out of its comfort zone, this brings new stories and characters into its art. I liked the character of the film industry in Austria and thus I wanted to work there.
[photograph of Elif Koyutürk with a Brazilian model]
[photograph of Elif Koyutürk with athletes]
I like mountains a lot. The Alps are inspiring. This is a emotion that I can´t find in city life. Therefore, I take films and photographs of people living in mountains mostly. I love the feeling of freedom that comes with living in the mountains and the culture this brings along. In places like these, I found people that resemble a lot with their society and that I can reflect the stories of. For instance, I reflected my neighbor Louse´s story in Austria Mürzzuschlag. She is currently 92 years old; she immigrated to Austria from Croatia together with her family during II. World War. She married to an Austrian soldier in her twenties and she settles there. I filmed and photographed her story and her daily life in one of my works.
[landscape photograph taken by Elif Koyutürk]
You are among “slow travel” lovers. But you have a difference. You work at the places you visit and you use the earnings for other projects. How does it feel to be sponsoring your own?
Perfect. This is what is hard! It is sad that your work is being valued in countries other than your own. I like travelling and exploring like everyone else but one-week quickie travels are not for me. One week is not enough for you to understand the place you visit. I have to live there for a while, only that way I can form my projects. Otherwise, I can´t reflect my feelings in my projects. Carrying out my art by exploring new places and knowing new people from country to country is foremost the biggest freedom for me.
[photograph of Elif Koyutürk with Yorükler]
[photograph of Elif Koyutürk with an athlete]
In Austria you carried out lots of short documentary and photography projects. What did you experience in the Taurus Mountains?
I worked at the Taurus Mountains for the first time. We filmed Taurus´s nomads (Yörükler) with a USA based and Oscar awarded production company. The team was my mother and my father. We lived in the mountains together for 3 weeks. Pervin ana, Seyhan, Durmuş abi, Adem, Emine abla, Seher…
[photograph of Elif Koyutürk with her mother]
I had the chance to live with truly different people. I always wanted to do a project in my motherland and this project really satisfied me. My mother drafted the scripts, did cooking; and my father worked as my camera assistant and my driver. I can´t forget that 3 weeks with Candan family in a special tent made out of goat hair. Immigration, snowy mountains, goat milk and brotherhood… We will start the post-production next month with the USA based company.
How do you find stories at the countries you visit?
At the countries I visit, I go to the places that local people go, not to the fancy places. I take my backpack and start exploring the mountains. I don´t beware establishing a dialogue with the people. I take their photographs; I spend time with them and listen to their stories. This way I got to meet a 93-year-old man making birdhouses. I tried to tell his life through a short movie and I captured him in his daily life.
In which countries do you feel better?
Any country with beautiful mountains. I was really impressed by Switzerland. There, I did a shooting from a helicopter and this was a unique experience. Salzburg as well. Apart from these, I can say that I can live in Sicily. They are alike us. There are different characters and artwork buildings everywhere. And there is also a heaven beneath the ground in this island. My photographs and articles have been published in Hurriyet Seyahat a lot of times. I also prepared a travel article about Sicily. In this article my photographs had a big place as well.