3 Aralık 2009 Perşembe
Studio Osep at Best Books of 2009 ARTFORUM / BANU CENNETOĞLU
Stüdyo Osep (Aras) was published this past fall to coincide with the opening of a retrospective exhibition of the work of Osep Minasoğlu at Istanbul’s Galeri Non. One of Turkey’s oldest living professional photographers, now age eighty, Minasoğlu was born into an Armenian family and worked for six decades as a show-business and set photographer even as he lived through many dark episodes in Turkey’s recent past. The project grew out of his ten-year friendship with the twenty-seven-year-old artist, writer, and social scientist Tayfun Serttaş, who organized the exhibition and is the author of the book, which he describes as “almost a photographic encyclopedia . . . of Turkish history.” Much more than a catalogue, it is divided into three parts: a biographical introduction, reproductions of Minasoğlu’s photographs with narratives detailing various aspects of his work, and an oral history.
That the content is composed from many interviews with Serttaş is further evidence of what makes this book special compared with many other biographies: It is enlivened by an extremely personal approach. While Stüdyo Osep offers a paradigmatic example of a life story that is at once ordinary and extraordinary—what microhistorians call a “normal exception”—it is also a thoughtful and important effort by Serttaş to introduce a great friend to a larger public.
Banu Cennetoğlu is an artist and the founder of BAS, a project space in Istanbul dedicated to artists’ books and printed matter.