Taking a second look at our environment


It's been a huge year for 2019 SEPA winner Cihan Bektas. Sunroom spoke to him about his new solo exhibition Uncommon Nature, opening at Skylight Gallery on March 5 - until the 27th. 

In 2019 you won the SUNSTUDIOS Emerging Photographer Award (SEPA) – what have you been up to in your career since then?

This is one of my favourite questions. Winning SEPA started a lot of invitations and conversations on social media and with galleries.

I started four new different projects, won two other national awards and self-published a limited-edition book of my series HER.

I'm now working to find support and strategy for distribution with publishers and book stores.

The book has eight extra images and stories that are the sequel to HER, which has never been published until now, and the series will end there. However, I think I have accomplished something very different with the book's cover design and content.

Image by Cihan Bektas

You've previously worked on series about people, surrealism and the subconscious. What led you to switch gears and examine the wider perspective on human nature and our environment?

Actually, there was no gear change in this project. Brassai, Goya, Breton, Ernst and Miro are still the most inspiring artists for me. But nature has always been a constant inspiration to me also.

Nature was built by mathematic laws and it contains endless beauty.

As humans it is easy to take our behaviour and daily environment for granted. How did you begin the process of stepping back to look with fresh eyes, and what were you looking for?


Everything has a reason, especially in nature. Nature rewards us day by day but also punishes us for what we do eventually.

We have global warming, earthquakes, floods and natural disasters almost everywhere in the world.

If we make the right moves, the number of these disasters will decrease day by day. Basically, I wanted to give back what I have bought from nature in this exhibition.

Image by Cihan Bektas

What is an example of finding what you were looking for in one of your images?

There will be many details that our eyes cannot see in each photograph.

Although each location has fascinated thousands of people on earth, it will show us the destruction and disorder also.

And most importantly, people will see these places, some which they may have spent days and weeks in and perhaps even took a souvenir photo there, from an extraordinary angle, and maybe they will not even realise where it is.

In short, what I do is just mediation.

Image by Cihan Bektas

Any future plans you'd like to share about what's next for you following a few big years of photography projects and success?

First of all, I feel very lucky to live in this beautiful country and my biggest plan is to successfully complete this project.

Then, as I mentioned above, the second series, which is the continuation of the HER project, will be launched in B-Side Gallery, Melbourne, and at the Head On Photo Festival in Sydney during May.

I am exhibiting in France with different works in ImageNation Paris in May and Instant Art20 exhibition in June. Another work named Sacrifice has been approved in July under the London Photo Fair event to be exhibited at Beaux Art London.