First engine runs then wind starts to blow. You have left the home. An infitnity in front of you, and there is a father at the wheel when you look at your back. You understand what is to be apart, what is moving away. A group of seagulls or a shadow of a cloud shows you the way. You decide where to stop. No boundaries, no hedge for you to leap over. Suddenly quiteness comes over. Father whips, right after you do. New world, different order. It’s like I’m the first man on the moon. You name the adventure. Because in anyways you’ll be going back home have your hands full.
While I was fishing with my father and living in Rize age of 12-13, in Gurun –a town in Sivas- another child’s only wish was to see the sea. He was fishing with his father as well. The only difference, he was whiping in to a river. Sea was his biggest dream. Because in Hemingway’s book “The Old Man and The Sea”, that he borrowed from his mother’s libary who was a literature teacher, was whispering the infinite sea. Life was not the view from your bedroom window, it was the opened doors by the authors that you think as your friends. In the beginning of 2000’s, we were in a home with no television. In a time period that keeps to sit after a deep breathe. Furkan Temir is on the focus of my questions. And in his frame, there is a huge world from the seven ground bottom of the floor to the sky.
Furkan moved to the city from the town with his childhood best friend Hemingway and confidants Dostoyevski and Tolstoy, he was ready for his first test with settling which will prepare him to unconditional production. Even if he is so far away from the Zion city that is built from Wachowski brothers in Matrix, which is the first movie he watched, now at least he had computer and internet. “Tarkovkski mentions the importance and the impact of photography on cinema in one of his books. I found the Tarkovski’s polaroid on the internet, and then other directors’…”. His mother stipulated him to write a scenario to make a film, and he improved this by reading lots of books, the next thing for Furkan was to discover the photographs and the photography. After he spent his 3 years by looking to archives of Magnum, Seven magazines and the photos of his favorite photographers, he was ready. The story which is started with borrowing the local photographer’s camera, is very indeterminate. He met with Jason Eskenazi who was the curator at the Fotofest competition in Burda and who is stated by Furkan as “I think, he is on top 5 in alive photographers.”, and he decided the direction that he will lean as documentary.
I was so cheerful when I woke up on the exam day. Because I was at the threshold. There was one thing I had to do, just to follow my dreams. It was the same for Furkan. ‘My parents’ authorization on me was technically over after I finished the high school. Even if the thing that Furkan, who said “I took the exam for university and I bought a ticket to Urfa. In this period, the Syrian War had just begun. I went to Syria border.”, Eventhoug the thing he went after was photography, the real thing he wanted to do is to face with the truth and to cross the limits that had been drawn for him until he is 17. “I understood that. Camera is a very special tool. Not because it takes photos. Just because it can change something in the atmosphere by just being there…”. He created his first identities in this journey. A journalist and a photographer. People shared their food with him in their most mournful moments. He says “Each time that you press the shutter, reality is being broken. It’s like a tool which has always a power to bend the reality. The sense difference in between the in front of the camera and the environment of it, makes it to be aggrandized by people. It can command something to people, it can push them. Even if I’m 17, it ensured my actions to be approved.” and he adds that: “When you take a place behind the camera, there is something in between the reality and yourself and it effects you as much as it effects what goes infront of you.”
Furkan went to Istanbul with a connected flight from Syria and met with Engin Önder and Cem Aydoğdu who are his coworkers in 140 Journals now. Furkan sent his photos to magazines, and managed to sell some of them. He, who just became the photographer lives in the borders of Middle East, attracted attention in a short period with his mature style and European aesthetic. “A 17 year old kid is sending an e-mail from Turkey. Then he is chasing this after. 1 month later, he is sending another e-mail. He is keeping to stay in touch. Publishers loved this.” statements enlights Furkan’s running wheel and productions which always come up with a result. In the next couple of years, Furkan whose works at “Gezi Parkı”, Syria and etc are published on New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and lots of newspapers and magazines, became a photographer who has regular clients and makes out his invoices when he was 20.
Dreams were not something to be consumed for Furkan who meets with the sea of his dreams from the car window while he was on the road to their summer house with his parrents, at those ages. It was different when he became the photographer of Seven magazine which he based during his highschool period, after 3 years. He explains his experience as “Photographers who is in this area for 20-30 years keep capturing the similar shots and keep doing that just because of the status quo and economical reasons even if it doesn’t change anything felt me strange from the sector.” and keep explaning “I’ve always considered myself as an artist, not a journalist. I don’t like to hide who I am.”. Camera is a power for him and the way to use it is to aestheticise the truth. To reach the feelings of no return, from a 1-2 sec moment.
I would like to talk about war. To be there, inside of it. The first thing he says is; “You have to live a normal life wherever you are.”. He adds to support this: “People can not destroy the cities that they built with their own hands, just like the order that they prescribed…”. The survivor system ensures Furkan to adapt different conditions and to be insensitive like the machine in his hands. He is trying to educate himself on this and he curtsies to his town days by saying “I believe one of the reasons that I’ve chosen to be at war is Hemingway.”. Also he adds that the motivation of survival triggers something in him and he is thinking faster and working more productive. It’s like the magical elixir of his… Beautiful photographs that he shot after he take a sip from this elixir, created “What Makes War” series. The aim is to reflect the beauty that Furkan saws in the chaos. And this was his style.
We are heading to a cafe in Kasimpasa which is very special to him to catch today, from “Şimdi Cafe” in Asmalımescit that he likes a lot. This is a place which embraces the Haliç view at the end of an underpass which I would not have the guts to go if I was alone. The charm of who achieve to accross the borders.
I’m turning the sandglass around in 2019. Now there is a person right in front of me who is a painter for somebody, for somebody he’s a journalist, a publicist or for somebody else he is just an artist. He is someone who creates new characters and bury them as anonymously with power of the internet. In 140 Journals that he calls as the 90% of his life where he transfered to video from photograps, he mentions that the slogan of this year is “We are going tribal”. He explains the reason as “Now we have 27 workers. Our aim is to anonymize them and to ensure them act as one person in 140 Journals. To gather lots of people in one name provides you act like a one person with too many arms.”. Each secondary character which is coming from the main character’s body is like the holy tree of modern life. Not to be the subject of production all the time. Sometimes only continues to complete one small piece. All of those moving Furkan away from the spiral which would slow him down. The statement “I’m having the most happiest days of my life for the past two years. Because I’m not a toxic. I’m a part of a huge production, yet I’m still so small. I’ve adapted to my place. I’m trying to do smaller things, be more niche and taking baby steps over there.” explains the movements of him in the system. Parallel to all this, he makes a note of that 140 Journals has crossed the limits of jounalism and leaned into the speculative documentaries.
I’m asking him, what Istanbul -the city that you may confront with the sea if you walk randomly- means to him. He starts his words with “I love Istanbul so much just because the most beautiful version of the sea is here.” and ends his words with “The energy, chaos and the unpredictability of this city are good for me. I would like to live in Istanbul as long as I can.”. He scares from the crowded and excess like anybody else who is individual and who has created his/her home, room, bed and bedside in an order. There are two ways of moving away from this; “Either surround myself with a little crowd who understands me, or if I do a job which should be understandable by everyone to hide myself in it.”. On this exact moment Radiohead’s “III Wind” song is started to play in my mind, the entry of the song is “Keep your distance, then no harm will come”. Not a coincidence.
We are in the middle of a fight in between humanity, visuality and the sociological layers that visuality created. I handed the microfon to him instead of a camera. His “Being in the cave when the first cave picture is drawn, drawing that picture and knowing that you’ll be playing a part in the initials.” statement show us his perspective to video very clearly. But he wants to underline something, “I don’t want to live a life which is refined and prepared for me. I believe that to reproduce with unlikely encounters and to create different combinations will give birth to new ideas.”
After 4 hours that we spent together, Furkan explains his one and only dream as “Film making. This will be the only dream till the rest of my life. If I make my first movie one day, the second thing that I would like to do most will make the second one.”. It’s not up to him, he is aware of this situation. Maybe that’s why while he’s speaking about this he just put his head down and started to look at his fingers. This is an unkown. The sandglass is up. It got dark. We paid the check and took the subway. We were going in the same path but different directions.