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An Artist’s Detailed Process of Turning the Concept of ‘Writing’ into a Photo
November 9, 2020 at 1:00 PM
by Mustafa Abubaker
an artist’s detailed process of turning the concept of ‘writing’ into a photo mustafa abubaker blog.png

Photographer Alper Yesiltas has shared a detailed breakdown of how he came up with and executed a photo idea that embodied the idea of both “to read” and “to write.” While “to read” came to him quickly, “to write” took more time and effort. You may remember Yesiltas as the Turkish photographer who PetaPixel featured in 2018 for photo project that captured the same window for 12 years. This time, he challenged himself to make visible the idea of reading and writing.

His first image titled “To Read,” Yesiltas interpreted the idea through a burning newspaper, and the “facial expression behind burning lines” of words.

To complete his project of dual images though, Yesiltas next needed to put the idea of writing into an image.

“Reading is one of the simplest actions because you always read what others wrote,” he said. “I wanted to interpret ‘Writing,’ but it wasn’t that easy.”

Yesiltas decided that making this second image would be a lot more complicated. “In order to explain how to write, I decided that I had to create some mechanisms and use them.”

He decided that the photo he envisioned would require both light and darkness.

“In order to emphasize the illumination of writers to its surroundings in historical scale is the most important initiative in the process that leads people from darkness to light, I thought of placing black and white, that is dark and light, as a main symbol to the photograph,” he said.

To do this, Yesiltas used a friend’s studio. This photo is the first test images he shot to see if the space would work for his idea:

To convey the “writing” aspect of the image, Yesiltas decided that he would need a table, a typewriter, and a large number of books.

“The problem was that in order to capture the image in my mind, the frame of the photograph had to be kept a little wide, so the table had to be preferably larger than the size of the frame,” Yesiltas said.

“The outside of the frame in the photograph I was going to shoot would be as busy as the interior. I was fortunate to find a proper piece wood that I could use as a tabletop in the clutter of a carpenter in the same street.”

The next step was to acquire an iron pip frame setup that would have the most important role in the image he was creating, which Yesiltas cut and put together in a workshop.

“The task of the giant iron setup was to create a ceiling with a depth that could be used to hang a lot of books in several places, so they could be suspended in the air,” he explained.

“The photograph would be the depiction of an abstract moment in the author’s mind.”

To create this illusion, Yesiltas used a mixture of fishing line, safety pins, and buttons to hang the books from the iron and mesh frame down over the table. The final photo also hung an exploded view of the typewriter on the right side of the frame, also suspended from the frame. The final result, titled “To Write,” was certainly worth the work:

You can see more of Yesiltas’s work on his Behance and Instagram.