Feyza Ceylan, an architect from Turkey, shares her fascinating ideas and opinions about derelict spaces in a conversation with Ambarin Afsar.
Often, passersby have asked me this question, “Why do you like shooting dilapidation, rubbish and decay? What is so fascinating about that pile of garbage? Why are you shooting that fruit peel on the road?”
People find it very hard to fathom that anyone would be drawn to such things. It is only when they look at the images that they realise there can be beauty in what is considered ugly and undesirable by the majority. Feyza Ceylan, an architect from Izmit, Turkey has a similar fascination.
The Corrosive Effect of Time
Feyza is drawn to abandoned buildings partly due to her profession as well. She is involved with the renovation of historic buildings. “These places are more attractive to me than newly renovated ones. I love the corrosive effect of time on the structures. The resistance ratio and the aging of the buildings depend on geography, the climate conditions and the culture of the people of that region.”
A Little Surgical Intervention
She takes her renovation work really seriously. “We need to determine the extent to which we can renovate and preserve. It is important for historical places to survive and be transmitted to the next generation.” However, in some cases, instead of renovating, she ends up ‘freezing’ the place, where she touches up the building only a little. “Too much renovation can make a building look as unnatural as a person who has taken cosmetic surgery to the extreme. However, nobody objects to a little, unnoticeable surgical intervention.”
The Watercolour Effect
She likens her photographs to watercolour paintings by using a very interesting analogy. “Watercolours dry quickly, and are a lot like abandoned houses. I have to hurry or move quickly or the artwork is spoilt.”
Shoot and Run
Most of the abandoned places house homeless people or animals. Feyza feels that some of them even echo the atmosphere of the movie I am Legend. “I feel that one day I am going to come across a ferocious otherworldly creature instead of a human or animal. Compared to this, the prospect of an encounter with a malicious human starts to seem pleasant.” She believes that she can act quickly because of fear. “Shoot and run,” she says, “Adrenalin also adds pleasure to making photos.”
Why Speed is of The Essence
Feyza makes these pictures with her iPhone and she recently bought an AGPtek Circular Clip 180° fisheye lens. “When shooting with DSLRs, you need to be in a place you already know. Often, I have very little time to be in a structure because it may be flimsy. Therefore, a simple, lightweight cellphone is my best bet.” Often, when it isn’t possible for her to enter a place, she simply sticks her arm into the building and tries to make a photograph.
Ultimately, I must say that is heartening to hear Feyza talk about derelict sites with such passion. There’s very little love lost for anything that is decrepit. While we may hoard keepsakes, very often, abandoned structures are things of intrigue, and often, outright fear. Structures that have outlived their usefulness simply await a death sentence, while their walls still speak volumes about the many lives that have resided within them. “I follow the grime. We need to document these places before their identities are lost or before they are torn down.”
Feyza does pilates twice a week, and goes jogging thrice a week. She loves watercolour paintings and visiting museums and galleries. Since she is an architect, she is close to industrial design and is an avid follower of the news, trends and materials in the field.Tags: Profile, abandoned, structures, instagram, Buildings, Turkey, Architect, feyza ceylan, izmit, dereliction, decay, derelict, old, empty, vacant, presence, absence