Oman, an architectural beauty

MUSCAT: Turkish professional shutterbug is amazed at what the Sultanate has to offer in terms of architecture photography.

An interior architect and environmental designer, Şafak Yavuzlar recalls that the Sultanate is one of the few countries that makes one feel at home. “Whether you have lived in Oman for years or days, the friendly nature of the citizens, the magical atmosphere and generous culture makes you feel like you belong originally to the place,” reveals Safak.

Having worked in Oman for three years as an architect allowed him to be a part of one of its biggest projects – the new Muscat International Airport.

“I focused on architecture, landscape and aerial photography. Whenever I find time, I escaped to vast landscapes, ancient cities, lost civilisations, canyons and valleys. ‘Straight out of the camera’ is a concept which I am not familiar with. I try to fill the gap between what human eye sees and what camera can see,” he explains.

 

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Safak was part of various roles during the implementation of many iconic architectural structures in Turkey, his home country, and abroad.

“The issue that makes me love Oman like my home is its architectural gorgeousness, ancient forts, stunning mountains, enchanting beaches, scent of frankincense and its natural beauty.”

In most of Safak’s photographs, the architectural beauty stands out.

 

Born in 1970 in Kütahya, Turkey, his photographic journey started with a ZENIT 7 camera which his dad Erdogan found at the entrance of primary school. Time flew so fast that while he was thinking and trying to understand how the world can fit in this small box!

 

He says the unique Omani culture and heritage is also reflected in its spectacular architecture. This is clearly seen in its wonderful forts and castles, its great mosques, and even in the simplicity of its houses. From the Arabic calligraphy engraved on walls, to the unique Islamic and Arabic decorations, Omani architecture is one of a kind.

This propelled him to travel the length and breadth of the Sultanate and take pictures of which he has an impressive and vast collection.

Born in 1970 in Kütahya, Turkey, his photographic journey started with a ZENIT 7 camera which his dad Erdogan found at the entrance of primary school. Time flew so fast that while he was thinking and trying to understand how the world can fit in this small box!

While attending Bilkent University, Ankara, with interior architecture as major, he chose ‘photography’ as an elective. There was no looking back from here as his way of seeing from different angles started to draw attention of people.

“It is true my architectural education, knowledge of light and lighting, experience gained in these mega projects over the years, the miter, plumb, scales habit and experience is very supportive on the visuals I created,” he explains.

Safak says that when your job is to photograph an architectural structure, it is a great advantage to realise it as an architect.

“It is a great advantage in my work to enter the subject to be photographed, analyse the relationship between space, occupancy, light and darkness, determine the mass ratios and effects, see the angles that will create an impressive perspective with professional knowledge and experience, and take photos in the light of this information.”

He explains the features that make a photograph a ‘piece of art.’ The primary factor that makes architectural photography interesting and challenging; shooting in an environment dominated by variables outside one’s control and many factors appear as variables that one needs to adapt.

Many of his photographs reflect his feelings, excitement and imagination. “In the feedback I received from my exhibitions, I observe that these items are largely transferred to the audience. This makes me happy to see that my work has entered the art class,” he mentions.

As one who is prompt in using developing technology in his works, Safak mentions that some of the equipments used when creating the photographs needs an update in 2-3 years, some in 5-6 years or even longer.

“This already forces you to follow technology, beyond that I have a serious tendency to use emerging technologies. New and developing software applications like Planit Pro, Ephemeris, together with new hardware, adds values to workflow, allowing to create more effective photos.”

Finally, Safak says he feels a sense of happiness and excitement, similar to feelings while solving a riddle or wandering the streets of a city left behind by an ancient civilization while taking architectural photographs.

“In every step I take, in every corner I turn, in every new place I enter, I see the space with the eyes of the designer, who designed the structure. I put myself in the place of people who will use that space and will spend time there, and this kind of perspective is reflected in my photographs,” he concludes.