Retro Kolkata Exclusive : Interview with the Award winning Portrait Photographer Sefa Yamak


© Sefa Yamak
Sefa Yamak ,born in Turkey, Rize (19.02.1982) . He had spent his childhood in Rize. While studying at Yeditepe University in the department of International Relations,his interest on Photography has grown up. After his graduation, he had started to travel most of the Anatolian cities to sustain his father’s construction company business. During those travels, he began to capture that ‘moment’s of various cultures and appearances, which Turkey has a lot.
In 2011, he had gained popularity on social media after his first project, Samsung ‘’Durdur Zamanı’’. In the same year, he had launched ‘’Sefa Yamak Photography ’’ agency. In this boundless digital world, he creates marketing strategies for the corporate trademarks from all around the world with managing all the communication process from the very beginning .In 2015, he bundled all the social networking trends together in the name of #instart and he brought something new to our lives with holding the Turkey’s first concept Instagram competition.
In 2018 & 2019, he also composed two exhibitions under the name of “ U N T I T L E D P O R T R A I T S “ with Bioderma Turkey.
While he is running his personal projects with the motto of ‘’ Photography is the only language, that can be understood in every corner of the world’’ , in the same time, he continues to share his technique and aesthetic based experiences with his followers through giving instructions and organizing workshops.

RK : First of all, thank you for accepting our invitation for an interview. How would you define your style? How did you set about developing your own style?

Sefa Yamak :I am a portrait photographer. I like to travel all over the world and like to see the portraits from different angles. I have tried a lot of perspectives and choose the best one.


RK : How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph or series of photographs? Do you have any preferences regarding cameras and format?

SefaYamak :I don’t like to make a predation before shooting. I always use my camera in manual mode and when I see a specific face, my mind starts to work. Seeing him or her in different angles and I like to play with aperture.Because in photography, depth of field is very important. Sometimes it shows only eyes, sometimes only a noise or a clean face in full.

© Sefa Yamak

RK : How has travel photography enabled you to connect with locals and their cultures on your travels?

Sefa Yamak :On my travel, I don’t like to be at the center of the city. Because it’s not local, it’s more like tourist area and this life doesn’t emotionally effects me. But when I was in a town, the condition seems more emotional. People invite me to their houses and we can spend more times there and I can see them more naturally, also my mind starts to work on how to take them more naturally. Also during that time, I can learn their culture and try to showcase their culture in front of my followers.

© Sefa Yamak

RK : Can you tell us about the gear you use for your photography?

SefaYamak :I always use DSLR camera and only using prime lenses for portraits like 50MM 1,2F or 85MM 1,2F.


RK : Your photography portfolio includes quite a lot of portraiture. what is your favorite kind of portrait photography, and what is it that interests you so much?

Sefa Yamak :I like to take portraits in India, because I like to be there and always looks for people’s life. Also the sadhus are more enjoyable in front of the camera and I like to see the people happy. As all we know the condition of life of all over the world is hard and people are unhappy and we need a SMILE. For that, may be in my photos people can smile.

© Sefa Yamak

RK : Your portraits and human interest photos convey lots of depth and often reveal deeper stories. How do you decide which moments to capture?

Sefa Yamak :I think this is the hardest question. I have been taking photos more than 18 years and still I can’t describe my behaving, while taking photos. I just know that I have to touch the heart of my models. May be this comes from my own lifestyle. Always try to touch their heart.

© Sefa Yamak

RK : When you’re approaching subjects to shoot, how do you set about it? Do you chat and explain what you’re doing? Or shoot first, ask questions later?

Sefa Yamak :In India its impossible for me to describe. “NO INDIAN” ,but there is one special language - your eyes can describe what you want to take and this energy passes to my model . For that I don’t need to describe and also I don’t like to shoot in first. The permissions are very much important for me .


RK : You recently got back from a trip to India— tell us about where you went and how you planned your itinerary. Looking back, is there anything you would change about your trip? How was your experience.

Sefa Yamak :I had been in India for the 4th time and really want to go again & again. Incredible India. It’s like my home and I easily live there. I had been in Varanasi, Pushkar, Jaipur, Mumbai, Agra, Jodphur.

By the years I have learned how to travel in India. For that I am opening maps, Instagram and searching where the more locals are living and making my travel directly to these places.

© Sefa Yamak

RK : Do you believe the phrase ‘A picture is worth a thousand words?’

Sefa Yamak :Yes. As I said Photography is the only language that can be understood in every corner of the world.


RK : What are a few tips you would give someone who wants to pursue photography professionally?

Sefa Yamak :They have to know the differences between look & see. And also they have to travel, research a lot. Photography is not sleeping, for that we always have to be awake and capture the moments.

© Sefa Yamak

RK : We (Retro Kolkata) are trying to build one single stage for all the artists, because we believe that artists are the most beautiful creation of God and geographical boundary can never break their unity and harmony. Please say something about our initiative and any special message for your followers.

Sefa Yamak :While you are taking portrait photos try to capture the eyes. The eyes show always his/her reality.

© Sefa Yamak

© Sefa Yamak

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