The photographs that Aydin Buyuktas, a photographer from Ankara, presents in the fields of visual effect, 3D, animation and video, tell us an unfamiliar story of Istanbul. Buyuktas’ photograph series titled “Flatland” allows us to see the places we are familiar with from different perspectives and to commit the city to our memories all over again in simplicity we haven’t experienced before.
Buyuktas, who created his photographic work “Flatland” inspired by Edwin Abbott’s book “Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions”, underlines that reality is not limited to our perceptions and prompts the audience to think through different perspectives. The artist, who managed to show the existing things in a different way through manipulation in perception while avoiding the manipulation in photography, started to focus on freelance works after his 3D designs gained international reputation in 2008. We talked to Buyuktas, who continues to increase his international fame with his works that combine technology and art, about the digital art works that we encounter more frequently with each passing day and how technology interacts with art.
Can you briefly tell our readers about yourself?
I was born in 1972 in Ankara. I spent my childhood in Ankara, but we moved to Alanya when I started primary school. I returned to Ankara during my university years. I left Bilkent University Department of Tourism Management because it was not among my dreams. In 2000, I moved to Istanbul to work on fine arts such as graphics, cinema, animation, which was my childhood dream.
You have many works in visual effect, 3D, animation and video. When and how did you begin to have interest in this field?
I spent my childhood and youth reading science fiction series by science fiction writers such as Isaac Asimov and H.G. Wells and Science and Technology magazines. These books allowed me to question issues like wormholes, black holes, parallel universes, gravitation, bending of space and time. I think it was in 2006 when I read Michio Kaku’s book “Hyperspace”. Kaku used examples from Edwin Abbott’s book “Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions” when he wrote about the fourth dimension. I was very impressed by the way in which the book, written in 1884, depicts in simple examples how dimensions are interconnected and the difficulties in perceiving the transition between dimensions. My questioning about the third dimension matched up with the book’s effort to explain the transition between dimensions and the third dimension in the second dimension. Since the childhood, I have been interested in visual effects and animation in the 2000s on the idea of realizing the surreal spaces I dreamed and dreamed of. Following the idea of realizing the surreal spaces I have dreamed since my childhood, I began to engage with visual effects and animation in the 2000s. I started to focus on freelance works after the 3D characters I designed gained international reputation in 2008.
Your works inspired by Edwin Abbott’s “Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions” draws great interest in the international arena. Could you create the effect that you have desired?
I’ve succeeded more than I thought. I try to present the spaces we live in, which mostly do not even catch our attention and which form our memories, by transforming them and adding different dimensions.
You provide us with a bird’s eye view of cities. What effect does it have on you?
I think this perspective provides a different perception and questioning for the spaces in our daily lives. In this way; I target a more romantic point of view by destroying the general perceptions of space in our memory that often do not even draw our attention. Rather than creating space in space, my aim is to present the existing things in a different way with some Dadaist and some Cubist logic.
Aside from the romantic part, there is also a technical aspect of the work. You combine the normal shots of the photos you take with drone in the same frame. What would you like to say in more detail?
I worked on planning for about two months before I started photo shooting. I created cities in 3D. I’ve rendered thousands of frames by placing virtual cameras. The points where the photos will be taken, the slope I want and the points I would connect were all planned to the finest detail before the photo shooting. In this way, everything is solved during photo shooting and there is no need for manipulation. I calculated everything in such a depth that I can shoot with the film and print it in the dark room.
We can easily reach your work through social media. What kind of feedbacks you get?
I think social media creates a democratic environment. At least you don’t make yourself dependent only on people coming to a gallery. You have the opportunity to show your work worldwide. I can say that beyond gaining people’s appreciation, social media has a great benefit to my career.
Istanbul In Different Levels
Among your works that allow us to see Istanbul from a different point of view, which place has affected you most?
The “Grand Bazaar”, its architectural structure that is articulated and expands as a living organism, the sense of perspective, the color of the roofs and its composition impressed me as an artist. My work, which is composed of photographs of the world-known places such as Eminonu-New Mosque, Kadıkoy-Tuesday Market and Grand Bazaar, taken from different heights and angles with the help of drone (Flycam), invites to reconsider Istanbul. In fact, my aim in this series is related to the places where I dream about and the perception of texture and perspective I want to create, rather than a sensibility related to the city I live in.
Is there any information about the projects you plan to realize in the coming period?
There are a lot of projects I plan to carry out. There are so many series in my head that I am having trouble in which order I should realize them. First, I want to complete 180 degrees and 360 degrees in this series. I will continue my dreams with different series about photography, video and 3D supported science fiction.
Edwin Abbott’s Flatland
Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott, a British cleric, educator, and Shakespeare scholar, is a science and mathematics fiction that has been able to impress readers for more than 100 years, an entertaining satire… Through a Square’s daily life in two-dimensional Flatland, we first learn how life is in two dimensions. This is a world with women, men, classes and rulers. Then we discover the line country, the space country, and the point country. Abbott realizes social classification via geometry while establishing the mathematics of life in Flatland. With this aspect, it shows the meaning it attributes to mathematics and also provides a formal classification of roles in the system.
By: Dilara Gülşah Azaplar / Photos: Aydın Büyüktaş
*This article was published in the July– August issue of Marmara Life.