Half German, half Turkish I grew up in a small city in Germany. My Turkish part of the family is from the heart of Turkey, Istanbul. At the age of 13 I installed Photoshop and started submitting my work to graphic competitions. Spending hours in front of the computer, I blended and altered other people’s photography into my own graphic images and learned everything I could about Photoshop.
At the age of 14, I made plans to move away. I felt a great urge to see other places, meet different people, make new experiences, live through new adventures and learn a new language. These plans took form in my moving to a school in London two years later (where I would finish my high-school degree). It was there that I got my first camera in art class and fell in love with it immediately.
Photography gave me the power of creating something in an instant. Initially I worked exclusively with analog cameras, developing my images for hours on end in the darkroom. At school they exhibited my portraits of goats and strangers. At that time digital photography didn't even exist to me. So I had to feed my love for Photoshop with something else. I learned about advertising and the rules of graphic design.
At 18 I did my first internship at an ad agency in Berlin, which focused on "beauty and social clients”. The work there included ads for the WWF, and celebrity perfumes, leaving me caught between saving the rainforest and vanilla scents.
At 19 I moved to Hamburg and started studying at the Miami Ad School, taking courses in Art Direction and Advertising Photography. It was here that I was first formally introduced to digital photography and everything fell into place - I started using Photoshop for my own images, making it my new darkroom.
At 21 I moved to South Beach, Miami, to continue studying at the flagship school. I loved the sun, the people and the beautiful beach shootings. After 6 months, I needed a change and moved to the Big Apple, New York. This city allowed me to focus on photography to a whole new level and I started organizing my own test shootings. Here is a little anecdote from that time: I remember waking up at 3am for a shooting. My team prepped Ashley, our model, and at 6am we drove to Wall Street. It was freezing and the model was shivering with cold while I was setting up the lights. At around 6:30am Ashley got on top of the famous Wall Street bull and I started snapping away. 10 minutes later, the police arrived and that was a wrap. I loved everything about photographing in New York.
At 23, I had moved back to Germany to be closer to friends and family, I became an art director at an advertising agency and started working for Absolut Vodka, Ramazzotti and Ballantine's.
At 25 I decided that I wanted to be self employed and have been working as a freelance photographer and art director ever since.