Ayhan M. DUMAN
Profile & Statement
was born in Turkey but since my father was an M.D. in the Air Force, the family soon
moved out to Naples/Italy and further on to Frankfurt/Germany
where I received my basic
since my childhood I was drawn to fine arts of all kinds,
played the accordion as a ten year old, moved on to
the piano and finally decided the electric guitar was
more my cup of a tea.
Ayhan M. Duman, selfportrait and during one of his photography
I started to draw and paint in the High-School, so I
guess it was quite natural that I carried on to London/UK
to study Art & Interior Design at the Institute
Designers which was followed by the Gesamthochschule
Kassel/Germany, where I received my Master of Arts in
Industrial Design & Photo-Design.
But I guess the main support came from my parents
and sister, who is a graduate of Fine Arts Academy
and my art teacher in the senior-high. We were lucky
to have very good art teacher who took us to different
museums in and around the Frankfurt area, showing
us how the old masters painted and gave
insights on the lighting techniques these masters
Whilst in London, where I was primarily to study art
& design, I ran into Steve Wadey, a young composer
& producer and we started making music and recording
to dislike of my parents!... ( Maybe some will remember
the title Black is Black? )
Although my father loved and practiced photography and supported me in doing so, (giving
me tips and allowing me to use his Contaflex camera,
which was considered to be a jewel under the cameras
then and even in our present days and every photographer's
dream) It was during this period that my attention was
drawn more and more to serious photography.
The photographers would photograph the group and produce great images for the LP covers.
What they shot at the studio and delivered later on
the proofs were totally different,
I was really fascinated
and I guess this was the reason why I got into
professional photography later in Germany, despite all
the education I had received in a completely different
So a few months after graduating I went into commercial
photography & filming and founded the AMD Photo-Design
Studio in Munich/Germany, first shooting fashion &
for companies such as Burda and Avon, later moving into
product photography and special effects, creating conceptual
designs for the print and TV.
This was the late 70's and there were no super computers
and graphic softwares at that time, so creating eye-catchers
as a pro and a free-lance artist meant being innovative
and knowing how to get there, (= guessing, experimenting
etc...) creating the new and the unusual, may it be
by use of filters, lighting, camera movements or unusual
camera angles, collages, sandwiching the transparencies
or applying the various photo-compositing techniques
in or out of the camera.
And this meant starting off with " I WONDER IF...", then figuring out if that " IF " could be made possible
at all, first sketching on paper then trying to expose
the idea onto film. Some ideas could be applied without
any difficulties but others took as long as six to seven
months of pre-planning, sketching, testing on and on
until all ideas could be exposed
on film perfectly.
titled "Sample.jpg" is such an example,
created back in 1983. The second one is "Deep".
At first I hated myself for coming up with such an idea
since I really had no idea how to execute the whole
thing. But since I'd already announced to public that
I was up to a new and fantastic effect (stupid me, I
just couldn't keep my mouth shut),
I had no other choice but to carry on and hopefully
come out with something useful after all!
So the model (who was a friend of mine) and I spent
the next six months shooting tests, most of the time
she sat there totally bored and me testing out various
After several weeks we both nearly went mad since we
got nowhere, at times we got really close but that was
just about the best achieved, nothing to show-off with
It was nearly six months later that I finally figured
out a way, much by trial and error and it finally came
off well and once published in The Art Director's Index
and The Black Book , the image really aroused quite
a turbulence world-wide since these publications are
for the pros. This one is a 5x7" camera original,
meaning there is no additional collage or montage applied,
no image post-manipulation may it be conventional or
digital, all tricks were applied
Today this image would cause no sensational reactions
due to the availability of far superior digital imaging
and other image post-manipulation techniques but back
in those days this wasn't the case and I kept on receiving
calls worldwide from other photographers and designers
asking me how it was achieved!
It was ever so easy though once we knew how to, the
trick was using french-flags (these are black light
blockers or shaders used in the filming community) and
Should someone still be interested in this technique,
I'll be happy to explain.
Nude & Stork
There are some some critics (and even some photographers
!...) who feel that photography shouldn't be considered
art since photographers are just aiming the camera
at some object
(whatever it may be) and simply reproducing the moment
of the action.
This may be the case in reportage or news photography
but even then there are "reproducers" and
others who bring in the news in a very different shade
of light and point of view!
Some critic studying my photographs once remarked "
...seems he is not just photographing the object but
planning the whole scene before pressing the shutter".
is absolutely correct. But really, don't all do so?
Unless I'm photographing an object out in the field
where you can't do much to alter the appearance except
controlling the mood and shading of light, I prefer
to pre-plan and sketch
as much as possible in the studio, planning the mood
I'm after and go even as far as laying out the image
for a right-handed or left-handed audience.
It really makes a big difference!
Besides laying the image out precisely, color and light
is the most important factors in my photography. As
mentioned before, one really can't control the light
much out in the nature but in the studio things are
Some use as many lights as they can get their hands
on to illuminate the object,
simply making the scene bright enough so that
the camera has enough light for a proper exposure.
Yet others try to make it look interesting by flooding
the scene with coloured pools of light and adding tons of props and other useless junk!
I prefer to keep my photographs or digital creations
as simple as possible, much like the simplicity of Japanese
Art. Even the digital creations are mostly straight-forward,
no typical digital effects or very little. Most of the
time it's not possible to tell if the images are conventional
(straight out of the camera, photographed on normal
film) or digitally post-manipulated.
Many times my straight-forward conventional shots were
mistaken for the digitally manipulated and vice-versa.
Image titled "Edison's" is yet another example
of pure conventional photography, no digital imaging
at all, this image consists of nearly 40 different components
photographed seperately on film and composited on a
single sheet of 4x5" film by means of masked multi-exposures.
And for the part of the lighting, I prefer to imitate
the natural light, keep it soft and directional. Most
of the time I work with a single light and add another
one only if there's no other way out.
Works "Deep" , "La Guardia"
or "The Mill" are perfect samples of
the use of lights and general simplicity of the images,
even though these are partially computer generated,
so called Mongrels.
Image title "Exhibition" is yet another example
of simplicity, this one was created with help of Painter
software, the Butterfly was digitally photographed and
So in 1996 I was once again "wondering if..."
some other lighting techniques could offer other effects
and came up with a new lighting tool and called it "Magical
Mystery Torch®" due to the really magical light
it shed on the objects being photographed in the studio.
(I must admit that I'm a Beatles fan and their album
Magical Mystery Tour!...)
This really wasn't a new light tool, just a mongrel
of the filming technique "slit scan" used
in the Stanley Kubrick film "2001- A Space Odyssey" and
the good old light painting.
But instead of creating streaks of light on film, my
new formula produced one-of-a-kind moody/dreamy images.
These images are indeed one-of-a-kind since due to
this lighting technique, no two photographs are identical,
every photograph is indeed unique!
is really very hard to describe and one has to see
the big originals ( Fine-art prints at around 28x40").
The result of this time consuming "motion controlled
light painting" are images which are Hamilton'ish
blurry/soft and tend to melt together yet very crisp
and sharp at the same time. No, I'm not putting anybody
Imagine putting an old and blurry image onto a sharp
one and just move them around slightly, letting the
soft shadows arise. This is indeed Magic!
These images were also published in various periodicals
and professional photography related books, were often
copied by other photographers and used in the advertising,
style has become somewhat out-dated, although I'm really
fond of it and still create images using this lighting
tool. I'd have loved it if only this technique could
be reproduced digitally, it'd save me some sleepless
nights but this is not yet possible, no computer or
software can imitate this effect. Maybe better so....
images "Cevze", "Wood"
and "Pot" are just few exampes of the
images created with this magical tool.
Today, most of my conventional equipment has been replaced
by hi-tech digital equipment with very high resolution
and most likely these too will be replaced by even better
ones very soon . Yet no matter how supreme the equipment
can get, the pictures are made by the artist and his/her imagination is all that counts.
just hope my imagination won't get clogged and that I'll be creative until the very last day
of my life.
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