Ruin Aesthetic

 

Feyza Ceylan, an architect from Turkey, shares her fascinating ideas and opinions about derelict spaces in a conversation with Ambarin Afsar.

One Door, Four Windows: Feyza describes herself as an urban explorer. She is naturally drawn towards abandoned structures and rusty objects. Photograph/Feyza Ceylan

One Door, Four Windows: Feyza describes herself as an urban explorer. She is naturally drawn towards abandoned structures and rusty objects. Photograph/Feyza Ceylan

Feyza Ceylan

Feyza Ceylan

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.

Startstop: She does not believe in interfering with the place or touching the objects before photographing them. Photograph/Feyza Ceylan

Startstop: She does not believe in interfering with the place or touching the objects before photographing them. Photograph/Feyza Ceylan

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.”

Peeled Dream: Not all her photographs come from professional excursions. She just pays great attention to her surroundings and chance upon these places. Photograph/Feyza Ceylan

Peeled Dream: Not all her photographs come from professional excursions. She just pays great attention to her surroundings and chance upon these places. Photograph/Feyza Ceylan

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.”

Orange Matte: She loves dimly lit, dark environments and the light that filters from windows and doors. There are traces of lives lived, old peeled paint, rust, decay and grime. Photograph/Feyza Ceylan

Orange Matte: She loves dimly lit, dark environments and the light that filters from windows and doors. There are traces of lives lived, old peeled paint, rust, decay and grime. Photograph/Feyza Ceylan

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.”

Christmas Decorations: While she enjoys her excursions to these places and is fascinated by the marks left by the ravages of time, she is also saddened by the decay. Photograph/Feyza Ceylan

Christmas Decorations: While she enjoys her excursions to these places and is fascinated by the marks left by the ravages of time, she is also saddened by the decay. Photograph/Feyza Ceylan

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.”

Stickman: Cultural differences have an enormous impact on the status of abandoned buildings. Also, she is less likely to find furnishings and equipment in impoverished localities. Photograph/Feyza Ceylan

Stickman: Cultural differences have an enormous impact on the status of abandoned buildings. Also, she is less likely to find furnishings and equipment in impoverished localities. Photograph/Feyza Ceylan

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.

White Door: Feyza mentions how pictures of women with skinny legs or outrageous shoes receive the most number of likes. However, she does not always think that these are the best photographs. Photograph/Feyza Ceylan

White Door: Feyza mentions how pictures of women with skinny legs or outrageous shoes receive the most number of likes. However, she does not always think that these are the best photographs. Photograph/Feyza Ceylan

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.”

Knotted: She is especially drawn towards windows with curtains and drapes, and shafts of light filtering through them. Photograph/Feyza Ceylan

Knotted: She is especially drawn towards windows with curtains and drapes, and shafts of light filtering through them. Photograph/Feyza Ceylan

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: abandoned, absence, Architect, Buildings, decay, derelict, dereliction, empty, feyza ceylan, instagram, izmit, old, presence, Profile, structures, Turkey, vacant