New Normal
Part II

Photography Series, New Normal

And also, it is somehow part of the geographical and visual anthropological method. The record of visual anthropology without a human object is a new thing and also relates itself to ‘deadpan photography’, an artistic style beginning from the 1950s, revolving around the creation of images that are entirely lacking in emotion. It is, therefore, a detached form of art, in which the artist merely captures something exactly as it is, even if it appears to be flat uninteresting at first glance. Although it may seem that capturing urban senses devoid of human inhabitants corresponds to the ideas behind deadpan photography, for me, there is nevertheless a problem in this association. Deadpan photography is a definition of an artistic style. The photography as an object and the position of the photographer relates itself to the tradition which is taking us back to the pictorialism, which is a photographic approach that emphasizes the charm of subject matter, tonality, and composition rather than the factual documentation. These pictures, such as Andreas Gursky’s work of the 1990s for example, manifest themselves as they have been produced for a museum wall because of their sizes and technical perfection. (Stallabrass, 2011: 95)

I could somehow never conceptualize my work on the wall of a museum, instead I am preparing a book for the project presentation. Lewis Hine of 1930s or Roger Fenton of the 1850s seems more convenient to my approach.

My photography series ‘New Normal’, discusses the urban transformation from the local perspective. These photos were taken in several cities of Turkey and consist of waste materials, construction sites, in-between spaces and awkward confrontations in streets. It is a practice of walking, and taking pictures as working in a laboratory while experiencing the suburbs, outskirts and the other sides of the city. I feel the need of telling the stories of unseen and make them exposed in the urban context.

As a result of policies of urban transformation laws in Turkey, a certain type of urban landscape is created. The project investigates the grammar of this new urban visual language. New Normal is an ironic name for the project, addresses the other side of normality, rather than the abnormal, but refers to the acquaintance for the new state of mind in the city, which is very hectic and cynical.

This acquaintance is evident in one of the earliest photographs from the project, which is ‘New Normal #582. A piece of a column found during the excavation of the ancient city of Agora. İzmir. (2014)’. The photograph is about looking for the parallel histories of urban excavation by spotting the encounter at a column piece found from an ancient city in a modern-day metropolitan city. The image consists of a piece in the middle, which is one of the primary forms in the ancient Greek construction system with the background of a slum neighborhood. The relationship between the spotted column and background is an analogy for the proximity of the archeological and the urban status.

‘New Normal #1552. Fencing of a skyscraper construction on Islam Karimov Street. İzmir. (2015)’ is an image from the project that may be a good example to show my strategy. It was taken during an urban exploration in İzmir and it shows the barely visible actual reality of the construction site when the vinyl print on top of it shows a 3D render of the building which is planned. It also shows the photographer’s position that is bumping into an obstacle and has a feeling of the excluded from the planned zone. It generates an impact of confusion about being in-between in the capitalist desire of possession and the actually being in that construction moment.