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Daily Inspiration: Meet Elif Karakoc

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elif Karakoc.

Hi Elif, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I was born in 1990 in Istanbul, Turkey.

I started photography around when I was 14 years old. My cameras were a tiny digital HP (2,4 megapixels was pretty impressive at the time!) and my mom’s old Fuji SLR. I started skipping classes to take photos with my friends in high school, constantly scouting for locations, shooting self-portraits. That HP was glued to me and I was documenting everything. I remember shooting in our apartment’s backyard while our neighbors trying to figure out why I’m all wrapped in yarn and acting eerie to a camera that’s sitting on top of a tower of books.

Sharing was a huge part of creating and I was consistently putting my works onto the websites Flickr and Deviantart. Those days before Instagram and all this scrolling where you actually go through pages one by one!

I was able to open my first solo exhibition in Underground Photo Gallery in Finland when I was 16, commission my works for book covers, and joined photography festivals in the following years.

In 2017, I moved to the U.S to further pursue my career as an artist.

Currently, I’m creating my fine art photography work and edition prints at my home studio, also shooting commercial projects as the photography duo ‘iki.works’ I founded four years ago in Los Angeles, CA.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
After moving to Los Angeles from Istanbul (about 6800 miles away-with one suitcase), not only the scenery change but the whole culture I was familiar with was shifted. From the Sea to the Ocean, everything got bigger, expanded immensely. Exciting, challenging, and a bit frightening! It is a journey of constant learning and building everything back from scratch. Meeting new people, forming teams, and reaching out to new clients, all these challenges also have their wonderful moments.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I take fine art and conceptual photos in portraiture, fashion, and still-life genres. I love working in different mediums from darkroom printing, medium format, film photography to digital painting, abstract to scanner photography.

I find that moment of photographing something hypnotizing, peaceful and intimate. I love creating scenes that are surreal, dreamy. I create conceptual series based on a character or a story I come up with. Some of my inspiration is from fine art paintings in history. I enjoy symbolism, referencing the great masters with light, colors, and sometimes brushstrokes. I play with the concepts such as mental health, stillness, neglect and find my ways of telling through composition, melancholy, and emotions.

I create lots of self-portraiture and I find the process therapeutic and there are lots of emotions I reflect into my work through them. I find it similar to keeping a journal, with the exception of sharing it with everyone who wants to see.

I’m proud that my self-portraits were made onto book covers in Europe and in The States. Some US novels included Texas Gothic by Clement Moore, Sleepers Wake by Alistair Morgan, After The Darkness by Honey Brown, See What I See by Gloria Whelan.

All I see around are photographs that are waiting to be shot. Everything on this planet and everybody is beautiful and I enjoy bringing that out for others to see. I thrive with a good body of work and I’m disciplined to give myself fully to create art that is unique, subtle, and esthetically pleasing.

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
I learned to trust in my personality and to not hide but embrace and show it openly. Be consistent in sharing and learning every day.

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

Elif Sanem Karakoc

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