Savaş Onur Şen

Van, Turkey

Savaş Onur Şen is a Turkish photographer based in Van. He has graduated from Ankara University Faculty of Communication, Department of Journalism.

He has taken his master degree about photography and PhD degree about photojournalism. Now he is working in Van Yuzuncu Yil University as an Assistant Professor.

Savaş Onur Şen is try to use photography to tell stories. These days he focused on the stories of the animals who lives in the urban life style.

This practices pushes him to understand to relationship between human and animals. This highly complicated issue needs new viewpoints and that viewpoints direct him to new ways to tell stories.

Tell us a little about your work and the projects you undertake?

“Participation Mystique” is a devastating diary of night, darkness, magic, selfness, and primeval, which I form in the framework of my relationship, especially with dogs living on the streets. It is written trembling in fear and anxiety, using the technical weaknesses of photography.

I am conducting this work while we feed our dogs that we take care of with a group of my friends. Nowadays, we are trying to look after over 100 dogs from more than ten herds, feed them, solve their health problems, keep the number steady, and, most importantly, protect them from humans.

These photographs, which are exhibited in the Siilk Gallery, are a small part of a long-term work. I maintain a large part of my photographic productions with my works on animals. Apart from Participation Mystique, I have been conducting a number of ongoing works aimed at making animals, their living conditions, and their existence in this world visible. I am trying to create the web site, to gather my animal works under a single roof. It is still under construction.

What are your long term goals as a photographer?

I’m thinking of improving, to turn it into a  platform that works for animal welfare.

Do you have any projects lined up in the future as a photographer you would like to share with us?

Participation Mystique, as I mentioned above, is a study that reveals the night of dogs, the inauspiciousness and uneasiness of that life, but also its mystical and social dimensions as well.  Another work of mine on dogs is (”Entzauberung der Welt” as Max Weber says), the ”Disenchantment of the World”.

In fact, this work is, in many ways, the opposite of Participation Mystique. In Entzauberung der Welt, I present the dogs in a particular hierarchical relationship, under the subjugation of humans in daylight and more “right!” aesthetic patterns, without using technical defects or non-perfectionist approach.

These two works are aimed at reflecting the life that humankind deems proper to himself and other species. In the years to come, I plan to present them in a way that reflects the conflict and tension that they have.

What makes a good photo?

Reality; free from emotion exploitation and clichés.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I’ll probably be feeding the dogs on the streets and again striving to find food for them. Perhaps in addition to the present situation, I may have created a platform for them, organized an exhibition of their photographs, and published a book about them.

How would you describe your photography style?

I try to stay away from stereotypes and perfectionist aesthetics, both when choosing the subject to work on and in determining my working method.

I do not produce every project with the same approach. However, I rather like my works, which I present with a non-perfectionist attitude and consist of photographs that can be seen as defective by many others.

IG: @savasonursen