Photographers who have succeeded in establishing their name in contemporary photography today are Mehmet Günyeli, Ahmet Ertuğ, Ahmet Elhan and Bennu Gerede. Some of them have also found an audience outside the borders of the country. Murat Germen, and Orhan Cem Çetin are also examples. However even amongst the internationally reputed ones, some are still struggling to stabilize their careers as photographers in Turkey, and they usually have to teach, work in advertising, or work as product photographers to make a living.
Another important group in contemporary photography is REC Collective (www.reccollective.org) formed by four young photographers; Serkan Taycan, Sevim Sancaktar, Melisa Önel, and Selim Süme who have been endeavoring to build their own international photography network and publish their own manifesto as well as support each other’s national and international creative work.
Two names that stand out in Turkish photography today due to their escalating fame in the international arena are Ahmet Polat and Ali Taptık. Ahmet Polat is of Dutch origin but the core of his work is centered on Turkish people and Turkey. He has exhibited in various countries over the last decade. He traveled extensively around Turkey and travels around the world photographing for both international and Turkish media such as Paris Match, New York Times, Vogue France and Vogue Turkey. He has also won the Infinity award as the world’s best young photographer in 2006. In Wikipedia, his work is described as “meticulous in composition, enigmatic in content, and expressing an overall warm-hearted curiosity for human relations”. Born in 1981, Ali Taptık is a newcomer who made his debut with his autobiographical work in his exhibition “Remembering Me”. His distinct autobiographical style which presents a view of a young Turkish man’s life intrigued many European viewers. Self-narration and autobiographical themes are popular themes on the rise for the majority of young Turkish photographers which symbolizes the transformation of the Turkish identity from the community based one to an individual one of people from the current generation.