Gönüllü Emek / Amatör Foto-Graf

LABOR OF A VOLUNTEER /Amateur Photography -  Uğur Okçu

Uğur Okçu, a former sailor, Marine Chief Engineer, Marine Engineer and a former photographer.

One of the most notable masters  who is  curious, thinking, researching ,with a skill to redesign and bring technical innovations and changes to the existing equipment so as to create the photographs he has formed in his mind.  We’ve already witnessed the changes brought by Uğur Okçu, who is one of the significant names of “Experimental Photography”, on analog equipment in the 90s and the very special photographs he composed afterward. These “original” works which are realized with redesigned, reconditioned, modified analog equipment and mostly slides cannot be reviewed anywhere other than the “experimental photography” field. There aren’t any surprise outcomes for the master photographer, since he makes the preliminary preparations calculating the ensuing atmosphere of the image.  Acquired images always meet his expectations.

There is a notion in the background of each of these very distinctive photographs, which stand far from the average, which are unique and which exhibit a very high level. Each photograph and/or each portfolio is crafted to tell something.  We at all times avoid precise statements, but since we’ve followed the underlying ideas, witnessed the preparation stage and the ongoing process one-on-one, we can use certain affirmation clauses without hesitation. We know the background of this exceptional work done by Okcu in the analog photography period.  He was never unwilling in sharing his ideas and explaining what he did at every stage of the process.

Many people have observed that the master, who always gives a thought on things that are wild, different, and new and overstep the boundaries, is never reluctant in sharing them during his conversations.


We need to acknowledge that such works presented to the ‘art world’ are invaluable contributions to the cultural and artistic life of our country.   As the subject of his photo-graphic performance, Uğur Okçu uses what he thinks, not what he sees. It is very clear that he went beyond the usual photographic image and created new unusual images. He is one of the rare masters who tries  to reveal his view of life, his handling of events and facts, his experiences, observations, analysis, predictions, to be brief his emotional and  intellectual world through the photographic language. He achieves this in high standards through his experimental studies. He is an art person.  Without a doubt his work confirms our determination of him.


On top of all his works, this piece by Mr. Okçu, which he introduced to the terminology of photography as “Scanograph” proves that he has an exceptional place in our country’s photography. Our only concern is that such important and valuable studies unfortunately have not been published yet. Furthermore, Uğur Okçu founded the first virtual photography magazine (www.fotografya.gen.tr) in Turkey and strives to manage it. Although the editorial board and the people involved have been replaced over time, the magazine is still active and continues to cover important file topics.     


Both with his experimental studies and the magazine he founded, it’s easy to comprehend to what extend he is related to the intellectual dimension of photography.  However, his article titled “Draw Light (Photography-Drawing- Successive-Light)” in the 14th issue of the magazine (Fotografya) which he is the founder, indicates he approaches the issues from a much broader perspective. A further step was reorganizing the house he inherited as an exhibition hall so that amateur photographers of all levels can hold exhibitions at ease. It is admirable that he offers his property as assistance to the photographic community. Many exhibitions were held in that place, until the pandemic, which almost stopped life and imprisoned everyone in their homes.


And nowadays, as a pioneer again, he organized the first virtual exhibition hall (http://x-hall.ada.net.tr).  The master, whose creativity is never limited with the production of photographic images, also made a long video on life at sea before ending his nautical career. After his adventures at sea have ended, he served on several construction sites, mostly in Asian countries. Even where the internet possibilities were underdeveloped, he managed to communicate and held various photo-graphic activities over the internet.  In recent years he organizes photography tours and does the African Safari tour almost every year. Uğur Okçu has close ties to the photographical institutions and the professional photographic community, furthermore follows the amateur circles closely and provides support when needed.

All these activities surely grant him a significant role in the intellectual circles of photography. No doubt, there are new and other photographic acts in the inventory of the respected master and artist Uğur Okçu that will amaze us all. There will be a day when we will gaze at them and give a standing ovation.

Tekin Ertuğ