Volume 1 Issue 4
Visual Gallery
Sculptured Photos from Istanbul
Julie Upmeyer
A collection of low-relief, layered photographs of the Karaköy neighborhood

To create these layered photographs, I print a single photograph eight to ten times and cut out each layer individually, recreating the scene in three dimensions. This work is an investigation into my environment—its physical construct and its social structures. We live in a three-dimensional world, yet we understand much of it through only two dimensions (photos, video, texts).

Taking inspiration from the rare Turkish craft of low-relief layered photographs, I use photographs I’ve taken in the hardware district of Karaköy in Istanbul, where I have my studio. I focus more on the chaotic, crumbling ancient storehouses, art nouveau workplaces, and less inspiring 1980s-style office buildings.

This area is normally chaos: carts, cars, people, the contents of the stores spilling out onto the streets in elaborate displays. Yet it is presented at peace—a quiet moment for the viewer to observe the construct of the area—form followed the function of this neighborhood for the past 40 years. While standing in these narrow streets, the scale is both constrained and exaggerated, and the depth and perspective is skewed. These photo sculptures simultaneously replicate as well as alter one’s experience of the neighborhood, apertures into a full-scale, walk-in scene.

As a sculptor, I think and create in three dimensions, though more often than not my work is seen through photos or at julieupmeyer.com. This project attempted to take a 3D environment, flatten it by photographing it, and then recreate the dimensions in my studio. Ironically, in order to share these works with you, they are again reduced to two dimensions.

Banka Sokak
from window
Makaracılar Sokak
exhibition view 2
exhibition view 3
exhibition view
Kardeşim Sokak
Omerağa Sokak
with moving car
Yelkenciler Sokak
Zincirli Han Sokak