With an architectural background, Murat Germen captures the details that make up the ancient city of Sagalassos, in the Turkish province of Burdur, in a photo exhibition whose sales will fund archaeological excavations at the site.
The exhibition “Tracing Sagalassos” is the work of the academic, photographer and artist Murat Germen, currently presented at Bozlu Art Project.
Germen says he learned about the existence of Sagalassos, an ancient city in the Turkish province of Burdur some time ago, maybe eight or ten years ago, through a friend who knew about the excavations there. down.
Sagalassos is set amongst fountains and trees, near the lush village of Aglasun. It is different from other former colonies in Anatolia, as it is a destination point. Germen says the town was not established along a trade route, but is out of the way and must be reached after hiking.
“And when you reach Sagalassos, you cannot continue your journey from there. You have to go back to where you came from,” he explains.
Germen adds that the city is also different because it is at a higher altitude than other ancient cities in Türkiye. Populated by Pisidians, a people who find it difficult to obey, according to the late Marc Waelkens, who had conducted excavations at Sagalassos for years, the city was well protected against others who wanted to take over. “Thanks to its geography and its people,” says Germen.
In the preliminary text of the exhibition, Germen quotes Waelkens, professor emeritus of archeology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium: “The people of Sagalassos, who showed their stubbornness by resisting the Macedonian king, are one of the few towns from Asia Minor which did not lose this reputation until the 6th century AD.
“Our knowledge of the Pisidians comes only from Latin and Greek sources. According to these sources, many Pisidians served as mercenaries for the great Persian kings or their enemies since the beginning of the 5th century BCE. This was due to the Pisidians’ failure to be obedient, as is often pointed out by Greek writers in the late 5th century and later.
Germen himself writes of the Pisidians and the Sagalassos that “If this attitude is perceived as tenacity – a questioning approach that I have adopted in my own life to this day – I suppose that the people of Sagalassos incorporated this character in the formation of their city… While on the one hand, the inhabitants of Sagalassos were able to defend themselves better against attacks; on the other hand, after the city was entirely abandoned and the harmful traces of time began to appear, it was able to remain better preserved as a ruined site.
Germen was part of the “For Sagalassos” exhibition in 2019, also at the Bozlu Art Project, an exhibition that aimed to raise funds for the excavations of the ancient city. Just like “For Sagalassos”, “Tracing of Sagalassosalso aims to raise funds for the excavations of the ancient city through the sale of Germen’s detailed and exquisite photographs.
He says World TRT that he was in Sagalassos for three and a half days for filming at the end of June, having visited the site and had an idea of what it would represent earlier. He says that although he brought a lot of heavy equipment with him, weighing perhaps 25 kilograms, he ended up using only two lenses, a high-resolution medium-format digital camera that produced crystal-clear images. and a tripod – as well as a drone for which he had received a filming permit.
The resulting images offer the viewer a glimpse of what it would be like to visit the site and really focus on the details. He says there are a few headings under which he has collected the images:
Resilient, named after classic shapes that never go out of style and are always pleasing to the eye.
Beacon, for a vertical point of reference in the middle of the city, like a bell tower in Europe or a minaret in Islamic geographies, showing the way to travelers in search of a landmark towards which to to manage.
Sure, for an ancient city that relies on nature – “the mountains have its back”, Germen points out, “the whole city is safe”.
Then there is the Footprint series. These drone photos “show urbanism in nature, how everything is interconnected, compact and easily accessible”.
“Tracing Sagalassos”, Murat Germen’s solo photography exhibition for the benefit of the ancient city’s archaeological excavation projects, can be visited at the Bozlu Art Project in Istanbul’s Sisli district until August 27, 2022.
Source: World TRT