Şinasi Barutçu was born in 1906. He has been a dominant role model for the development in the education field of photography. His first encounter with the field has been in the Bediz Resne Photography House in his early ages. Following his graduation from İstanbul Muallim Mektebi, he began teaching as an art teacher in the same institute. He also continued his education at Fine Arts Academy at the same time. His deeper pursuit in photography has been in his post-graduate study period in Germany by 1928 when he also became a member of various photography clubs. On his way back to his homeland, he began to work as a founding professor in Gazi Education Institute. In this institution, he became the pioneer of photography education to be institutionalized in Turkey, to prepare educative books of the field, and to establish the penetration of amateur photography courses in different cities of the country.

Refik Akyüz and Serdar Darendeliler mention on Barutçu's photography career, and his production as follows: In fact, taking a general look at Barutçu’s photographs, it is possible to say that what stands out is an interest in beautiful and aesthetic subjects in line with the spirit of amateur photography and technical matters such as adherence to classical composition rules and a wealth of tone, rather than content. Elements we could just as well describe as romantic, such as reverse light, reflections, the presence of clouds creating dramatic effect bring Barutçu’s photography into the territory of Pictorialism. Even though Pictorialism had given way to different approaches by the time Barutçu started working actively, what we see in Barutçu – as is still common in amateur photography today – is the never-ending desire to capture an aesthetics and beauty. However, taking into account his photograms indicating his interest in experimentation or his graphically oriented close-ups, it would be equally possible to place him amongst the period’s Dadaist or Constructivist artists.

Or with his various urban photos as well as photos of nature and mountains – particularly those he took at Mount Cilo – he may easily be thought of as ascribing to a more documentary approach far from this all.

The main text of the exhibition book is written by Refik Akyüz and Serdar Darendeliler. The text, in the light of the artist's possibly reached archive, focuses on both his artistic production and also his life experiences.

The preface of the book is written by Marcus Graf, who is also the curator of this exhibition. By this preface, spectators had the chance to find a logical follow up of the curation mentality of the show.

Attempting to fit the works of an artist as open to innovation, interested in experimentation, and committed to preserving his amateur spirit as Barutçu into a single genre would be a grievous error. A figure constantly trying out and working to internalize the new due both to his character and the spirit of the time, whom we may deem a veritable polymath with his photographs in many different styles as well as his amalgamation of the identities of a photographer, educator, manager and traveler, Barutçu clearly deserves wider acclaim beyond photography circles and a more in-depth analysis of his art. We hope for ‘Şinasi Barutçu: Tracing Photography’ to be a new step in this direction, and that – with the resolving of archive troubles – it paves the way for many more comprehensive retrospective exhibitions and publications featuring both him and other prominent artists of their time now threatening to fade into oblivion.

The exhibition has been on show between 13 October to 25 December 2021 at Milli Re Art Gallery.



Publisher Millî Reasürans T.A.Ş

1st Edition, 1000 copies

ISBN 978-605-2391-15-0

Organization Milli Reasürans Sanat Galerisi

Curator Marcus Graft

Assistant Curators Öykü Demirci, Beyza Nur Demircioğlu

Exhibition Installation Assistant Deniz Özgültekin

Text Refik Akyüz, Serdar Darendeliler

Translation Feride Eralp

Exhibition Photography Studio Majo/Engin Gerçek

Graphic Design Timuçin Unan

Exhibition Installation Fiksatif

Color Separation and Printing Mas Matbaacılık San. ve Tic. A.Ş.


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