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Streets Ahead Interview: Tuba Korhan – Mobile Street Photography

This week, the Women’s Mobile Street Photography Collective (Streets Ahead) is pleased and honored to feature Tuba Korhan in our interview segment. 

Although relatively new to the genre, Tuba has a wonderful sense of timing when it comes to street photography, which enables her to capture those fleeting moments on the street. Her sense of composition is strong – we recommend a visit to her galleries where you can also see some of her other work.

You can find her under @Tuba on Flickr and @to_be on Instagram and EyeEm.

Tuba Korhan


©Tuba Korhan


‘Bubble Maker’ – ©Tuba Korhan – Image Captured With – ProCamera, edited with Snapseed, Big Lens and Mextures

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. Have you always been interested in photography?

I graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts and I am an interior architect. I was always a fine art photography enthusiast but more of a viewer and until the day I downloaded Instagram.


‘Far and Away’ – ©Tuba Korhan – image captured with Oggl (JohnS Lens, C-Type Plate Film)

Where do you currently live? Is this a place that gives you energy and inspiration for your street photography or do you have to travel to find it?

I live in Ankara, the capital of Turkey where I was born and raised. Ankara is not a very colorful or lively city but I think the most exciting side of the street photography is the possibility of catching an unusual moment in a familiar surrounding. And of course I love shooting when I travel.


‘Framed’ – ©Tuba Korhan – image captured with Oggl (Lowy Lens, C-Type Plate Film)

Does your location, be it a big city, a small town, or the countryside, heavily inform all your photographs in general, not just your street photographs? How do you choose the places that you go to photograph?

I mostly do surreal composites rather than street photography so I cannot say my photographs reflect my surrounding. I shoot all the time and do not choose the places unless I plan a photo walk with friends.


Laundry Day – ©Tuba Korhan – image captured with Hipstamatic (Tinto 1884 Lens, Blanko Noir film, no flash)

What first drew you to street photography and how did you discover it? What is it about street photography that compels you go out to shoot on the street? What are the subjects that are of the greatest interest to you?

I am new to street photography. TheAppwhisperer Streets Ahead community is one of the reasons that drew me to focus on this genre. The more I involved I am, the more I like it and I have attended a few workshops. To be honest, I am timid about shooting in public places and I really find it hard to communicate with strangers but I like to challenge myself. While shooting in the streets you have to keep it simple yet the image must be striking – this is what attracts me most about street photography. 


Out for a Cigarette ©Tuba Korhan – image captured with KitCam and edited with Snapseed

Do you sometimes secretly pose or direct the subjects in your shots or do you always shoot spontaneously? Do you think there is a “right” way to take a street photograph? There are those who feel that a photograph is only good if it follows certain guidelines and fundamentals such as “the decisive moment” or that street photography should never be posed. How do you feel about this?

The best part of street photography is to capture the moment and not to have any strict rules. I mostly prefer shooting spontaneously but of course when you find a place with a good light or a striking backdrop, you can get ready and wait for the right moment.


Praying –©Tuba Korhan – image captured with Oggl (James M Lens, Claunch 72 Film)

How do you feel about shooting from the hip as opposed to looking though the viewfinder?

I like surprises. Different angles may end up with striking results. I mostly use this technique while shooting on the beach. As all mobile photographers know it is hard to shoot in bright light. I think the reflection on the phone’s screen is the biggest handicap of mobile devices. In that case I prefer shooting from the hip using my earphones as a trigger.


Shoe Shop – ©Tuba Korhan – image captured with native cam and edited with Snapseed

These days, the genre raises many questions with regards to the morals and ethics of taking photographs of strangers in a public environment. It is becoming increasingly difficult to shoot freely as a street photographer. What are your thoughts on this?

I find this situation very ironic because especially in this social media frenzy, everyone seems to be very much into shooting him/her self and his/her private life.


Synchronized – ©Tuba Korhan – image captured with Oggl (Yuri 61 Lens, Rasputin Film)

How do you feel about using model release forms and re-publication of images of the public? Are we morally, if not legally responsible?

I have never used a model release form but I think we all have a moral obligation towards people whom we shoot. If I shoot a portrait of someone whom I do not know, I always ask permission verbally but in a crowd it is not possible as I try to capture the moment. Artistically, it is very restrictive.


Man and Birds – ©Tuba Korhan – image captured with Oggl, edited with Snapseed and After Focus

Do you have any personal rules when it comes to street photography? For instance, are there any situations that you feel are morally unacceptable?

Yes, I do. I would like to feel empathy towards the situation or people and I never shoot people in inhumane conditions.


Accordion Player – ©Tuba Korhan – image captured with ProCamera, edited with Snapseed, Big Lens and Mextures

Do you think women street photographers share a different perspective to men? If so, can you elaborate on your thoughts?

Yes I think so, but just by looking a photograph can we tell the gender of the photographer? I think besides gender even our cultural identities effects and enriches our perspective.


Nowhere to be Found – ©Tuba Korhan – image captured with ProCamera, edited with Snapseed, and Photocopier

As a woman street photographer, do you find yourself drawn to shooting other women and children or do you prefer to shoot men or is this irrelevant? Would you feel uncomfortable if a male street photographer were to take a photograph of you?

I do not have a gender preference when I shoot but communicating with children is easier for me so this gives me an advantage while shooting portraits.

If a street photographer – male or female asked my permission, it would be alright with me.


Cyclist – ©Tuba Korhan – image captured with the native camera and edited with Snapseed

Do you think women street photographers are more accepted by the public when taking photographs or do you think they are more likely to be challenged? Do you have any experience of this?

I think women street photographers are accepted because people may feel less threatened by a woman photographer. On the other hand, this situation may differ depending on the community or the country one may shoot.


Tanning Man – ©Tuba Korhan – image captured with the native camera and edited with Snapseed

Which street photographers have influenced you?

I am influenced by many well-known street photographers such as Ara Güler, Inge Morath, Vivian Maier, Elliott Erwitt and I would like tell you about one Turkish photo journalist and street photographer, Engin Güneysu – I have attended one of his workshops and I found it to be very impressive and informative.


Runner, Sailor, Swimmer – ©Tuba Korhan – image captured with the native camera and edited with VSCO Cam

Which mobile device do you use to take your photographs? Do you post-process your photographs? If so, what are your favorite post-processing techniques/apps? If you post-process on your mobile device, do you usually transfer the images as soon as they have been processed to social sites (in other words, capturing and editing the image while in situ) or do you prefer to have more time to work on your images? Please share some examples of your workflow process.

I use an iPhone 5 to take photographs. Mostly, I use Hipstamatic/Oggl, ProCamera and VSCO Cam apps for street photography. These days, I prefer not to edit but in order to decide which combo I would like to use later, I take a few experimental shots with the Oggl app which I find very useful.

If I want to edit, Snapseed is my favorite tool, and sometimes I use After Focus or the Big Lens app to create the depth of field. I usually prefer to edit images on my iPad.


Two Girls and Minie – ©Tuba Korhan – image captured with Oggl (JohnS Lens, C-Type Plate Film)

Do you pre-mediate the capture of your images? Do you have a plan or structure in place or do you prefer to act spontaneously? Please share your thoughts about some of your images – what you were thinking, or felt when you shot those photographs.

No, I do not pre-mediate the capture of my images – I prefer to act spontaneously. What I learnt and benefited most from the workshops I have attended is to have a target subject before being in the field for shooting. I believe that having a target subject beforehand is helpful for one to improve his/her selective perception so that one’s eye is trained to be creative to shoot better photos.

Some of my target subjects are pairs, doors, windows, people with mobile phones etc.


Kızılay – ©Tuba Korhan – image captured with Oggl (Yoona Lens, Blanko BL4 Film)

What is the importance of street photography within the entire body of your work? To what extent is street photography a major focus for you?

The street photographs that I perceive and try to shoot these days are not many, but at the end of last year, I decided to try to spend more time shooting in the streets. Since then, street photography has become a major focus for me.


Umbrella Sellers – ©Tuba Korhan – image captured with Hipstamatic (Loftus Lens, Blackeys B+W film, no flash)

Who do you think is the audience for your work? Is this who you want your audience to be? What is it you hope to achieve, either on a personal or professional level, with your body of work?

My composite works have been seen by different audiences in many exhibitions and print media such as magazines, exhibition catalogues etc. I would like to reach an audience as wide as possible. Where street photography is concerned, I have not thought of a target audience.


Is it Safe Now?©Tuba Korhan – image captured with Oggl (JohnS Lens, Blanko C16 Film)

What do you think distinguishes your street photography from others in the group?

In our “Streets Ahead” group there are many talented mobile photographers whom I admire and feel lucky to know their work. In due time, when I find my own visual language, I may talk about my unique style. But I hope that one day, viewers will be able to distinguish my style without knowing who the photograph belongs to.


Best Friends Forever – ©Tuba Korhan – Image captured with Oggl (JohnS Lens, Claunch 72 Film)

Where do you show your work? How has social media played a role in your photography? Which platforms are you most active on?

I share my work mostly on Instagram, Flickr and Oggl. Instagram has had a huge effect on my mobile photography. Because of Instagram, I realised what I could achieve with a mobile device.


Swing – ©Tuba Korhan – image captured with Oggl (JohnS Lens, D-Type Plate Film)

Do you have any tips that you would like to share with us? Is there anything else you would like to add?

I prefer rainy days because people are always in a rush so it is easier to shoot candid photos as they do not notice what is going around them.

If you go for a planned photo shoot, it is better for you to have a target subject in mind and shoot in the same format (4:3, square format, color, black and white, etc).

The AppWhisperer’s Streets Ahead showcases are very encouraging and motivating for me. I am glad to be a part of this group, I appreciate the effort everyone has put in to the group, and I would like to thank The AppWhisperer for asking me to participate.

Please include any publications, exhibitions or biography information that you would like us to include in our introduction.

I am a member of iPhoneographyTR mobile photography group and have been a part of many group exhibitions with them since 2011.

My work has received prizes from the most prestigious mobile photography competitions and has also been exhibited in many group shows such as LA Mobile Arts Festival, Syracuse Phoneography Show, Soho Art House October Moon Group Show and MPLS Photo Centre Juried Exhibit.

One of my photos was in’s “A Day in the World” Book which is published in nine different countries.

My latest project, “A digital approach to Rorschach Test” was published in Snap Magazine’s #BW March issue.


Cara is a Graphic Designer and amateur photographer with a passion for mobile photography. Born in Hong Kong to Filipino parents who moved there in the early 60s to work in publishing, her early life was spent in Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines. She studied graphic design in London and spent more than 20 years here before returning to Hong Kong, where she currently resides. Cara brings to her street photography a wonderful international and cultural perspective.