Ara Güler, one of the legendary names of Turkish photography, is a world-renowned photographer, journalist and lover of Istanbul. This great artist, who was born in Istanbul on August 16, 1928 and passed away on October 17, 2018, is also known as the “Eye of Istanbul” and is known for his photographs that uniquely document the streets, people and history of Istanbul.

Ara Güler’s contributions to the art of photography are remembered with great admiration and respect all over the world. The photographs he turned his lens to and processed on photographic film; They are considered not only aesthetic but also historical documents. Ara Güler captured the changing face of Istanbul, especially in the second half of the 20th century. He recreated the memory of Istanbul in his photographs by flawlessly capturing the streets, bazaars, people and architectural structures. His black and white photographs are still etched in the minds of many people today as an iconic image. Moreover, the shots he takes are easily distinguished from the works of other photographers.

Güler’s photographs are not limited to Istanbul only. He also took portrait photographs of important personalities, artists, writers and politicians around the world, and these portraits created an important collection. The characteristic feature of Ara Güler’s portrait photographs is the emotional richness and depth of his human portraits. He is known for his ability to capture people’s inner worlds through the light reflected from their eyes. While tracing the faces and lives he photographs, the enthusiasm, excitement and breath of the times spent together and the conversations permeate Ara Güler’s portraits. “These are my friends, my friends. We spent penniless days with most of them. “So I didn’t sit idle and recorded their faces.” he says while talking about his portrait photographs.

Our famous photographer Ara Güler did not limit himself only to the field of photography, but also created many works as a journalist, writer and film director. His journalistic skills combined with photography reveal his unique ability to tell stories. Güler’s writings offer a historical and cultural perspective while telling the stories behind his photographs.
Ara Güler’s name is also identified with “Kafe Ara”, located at the intersection of Istiklal Street and the street named after Ara Güler. This cafe bears its name as a tribute to Ara Güler’s art and legacy. Ara Cafe is located on Istiklal Street and offers art lovers both a nice coffee break and the opportunity to examine Ara Güler’s photographs. The Cafe is known as a place where Güler’s works are exhibited and kept alive as a part of his art.

Another place created in memory of Ara Güler is the Ara Güler Museum in Şişli. It was built in 2016, as a result of a collaboration between Doğuş Group and the famous photographer, in order to preserve Güler’s archive and ensure its transfer to future generations, by transforming a building in the Historical Bomonti Beer Factory, and was opened to visitors in 2018.

Ara Güler, who exhibited Istanbul in its multidimensional form from past to present and engraved it in our memories in a unique way through his photographs, has taken his place in history as an unforgettable artist thanks to his photographs captured from a unique perspective and his journalistic skills. Ara Güler, one of Turkey’s sources of pride with his contributions to the art of photography, will always be remembered with respect.