Yiğithan Özden on photography, instagram and his day job

In the first of a new series of interviews, we spoke to #telegramtakeover veteran Yiğithan Özden about his love for photography and how instagram has helped him share his work. 

You first collaborated with us back in 2015 I believe, do you remember how you first came across Telegram Gallery and the #telegramtakeover series? 

I think it was at the beginning of 2015 that I had seen some of the people I followed post for #telegramtakeover and I decided to give it a go and get in touch with you. When I received an affirmative response I was pretty psyched because I had just recently begun taking random photos and it would be my first takeover. To be quite frank I was receiving mixed signals from my immediate surroundings about posting content on social media. Starting off anything new seems to always be a struggle and I think Telegram Gallery has helped me get the ball rolling insofar as establishing some credibility into my photographic aspirations.

Ever since my initial takeover we've had quite a nice relationship which includes more takeovers and especially taking part in a group exhibition. Being able to say I've been able to send photos to an exhibition in London further motivates me to stick to this means of expression. Of course I also participated in the first #telegramtakeover zine which was a new experience and being on the cover made it ever more joyous. I hope that our relationship can deepen in the future and we contribute to each other's prosperity whatever it may be.

Likewise! What do you like most about sharing your work on this particular platform? 

Honestly when people ask me what these images are I just simply tell them they're random photos. I still consider myself new in the field and lacking in-depth theoretical knowledge about it. I've also taken a long time off to focus on other personal objectives but now I feel like I can work to deepen my understanding and hone my skills by investing more time and effort. 

As far as sharing work on digital platforms go, I really enjoy the feedback I get. The internet offers many opportunities and connecting with people worldwide, sharing my experiences grants me some time off from reality.

Indeed – you have quite an unusual day job, can you tell us a bit about it? 

I'd like to say I was some sort of James Bond but frankly I'm just a civil servant at the very beginning of my career. My father has also worked in many different parts of the world so my upbringing isn't all that different from the journey ahead. Seemingly the future of global politics is in rapid transition I hope that as a diplomatic witness I'll be able to see and take interesting photos on the side and lead a fulfilling life. 

How did you first get into photography?

I met a photographer in London who seemed to be having a blast taking random photos. In fact this was @joeearleyjournal and he had such a good attitude towards the whole process that it made me want to take it up as well, starting up simply with my phone. Then as I began to explore options I transferred towards using film as my medium and am enjoying the ride ever since. Thanks Joe!

To me your work picks up on the quiet details of urban life, moments of stillness caught while everybody else’s back is turned, but how do you see these moments, do you seek them out or are they the product of chance? 

Yeah I guess you can say that I try to find interesting frames in ordinary things. My sense of aesthetics always transforms with different environments. Being constantly nomadic makes it difficult for me to focus on any specific subject but hopefully in the future I'll have more meaningful projects to share. My eyes are always sort of scouting for worthwhile frames. While this can get tiring at times it's always good exercise to stay alert and attentive to details that are otherwise missed.

Friends and family aside, who are some of your go to accounts on instagram?

Let me see... Like everyone I enjoy animal videos so @animalsdoingthings is always a laugh. @nusr_et who is arguably the most famous Turk because I respect his work ethic and discipline which he constantly displays through his instagram. @alielmaci is a Turkish artist/painter who I really enjoy the work of. He presents colorfully grim contrasting notions effortlessly.  @ishitani_furniture creates amazing furniture. They have a pretty epic youtube account which everyone should check out. Lastly, let me mention @didemkendik an artist based in Istanbul who I believe gracefully brings out the beauty in the people and places she visits through her lens.

You can follow the #telegramtakeover on instagram. Contact maria@telegramgallery.com for more information.