Ara Güler (b. 1928) is a Turkish Armenian photojournalist, nicknamed "the Eye of Istanbul" or "the Photographer of Istanbul". He is considered one of Turkey's few internationally known photographers.
In 1958, the American magazine company Time–Life opened a branch in Turkey, and Güler became its first correspondent for the Near East. Soon he received commissions from other international media, such as Paris Match, Stern and the London Sunday Times. After completing his military service in 1961, Güler was employed by the Turkish magazine Hayat as head of the photographic department. About this time, he met Henri Cartier-Bresson and Marc Riboud, who recruited him for the Magnum Photos agency, which he joined. (He is not currently a member.)
Güler traveled on assignment to such countries as Iran, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Kenya, New Guinea, Borneo, as well as all parts of Turkey. In the 1970s he held photographic interviews with such notable politicians and artists as Winston Churchill, Indira Gandhi, Maria Callas, John Berger, Bertrand Russell, Willy Brandt, Alfred Hitchcock, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso. Some critics consider his most renowned photographs to be his melancholic black-and-white pictures taken mostly with a Leica camera in Istanbul, mainly in the 1950s and 1960s, a golden age of photojournalism.
Below is a selection of wonderful colour photographs of daily life in Turkey from between the 1960s and 1970s by Ara Güler.
(Photos © Ara Güler, courtesy Magnum Photos)