Our sixty fourth interview in this new series of intimate interviews is with talented mobile photographer and artist Serap Utaş from Istanbul, Turkey. This is a totally immersive interview with a wide range of tremendous mobile images. Enjoy!
To read the other published interviews in this series including artists, Adria Ellis, Rino Rossi, Mehmet Duyulmus, Alexis Rotella, Lou Ann Sanford Donahue, Irene Oleksiuk, Kerry Mitchell, Filiz Ak, Dale Botha, Lisa Mitchell, M. Cecilia Sao Thiago, Deborah McMillion, Rita Colantonio, Amy Ecenbarger, Jane Schultz, Anca Balaj, Joyce Harkin, Armineh Hovanesian, Kate Zari Roberts, Vicki Cooper, Peter Wilkin, Barbara Braman, Becky Menzies, Sukru Mehmet Omur, Sarah Bichachi, Michel Pretterklieber, Alon Goldsmith, Judy Lurie Whalberg, Andrea Bigiarni, Sean Hayes, Oola Cristina, Kathleen Magner-Rios, Linda Toki, Deb Field, Emilo Nadales, Lydia Cassatt, David Hayes, Jean Hutter, Frederic Deschênes, Mark Schnidman, Fatma Korkut, Fleur Schim, Rob Pearson-Wright, Dieter Gaebel, James Ellis, Marco P Prado, Jeronimo Sanz, Manuela Matos Monteiro, Bleu Chemiko, Manuela Basaldella, Stefania Piccioni, Luis Rodríguez, Marilisa Andriani (@mitrydate) Mayte Balcells (@artofmayte), Nicole Christophe, Jennifer Graham, Cathrine Halsør, Paul Toussaint, Carol Wiebe, Julie Denning, Kim Clayton (@berleyart), Karen Messick and myself, go here.
All images ©Serap Utaş
What was your childhood or earliest ambition?
From the earliest day I remember on, I wanted to be a medical doctor in terms of profession. The other profession I had interest in was architecture. In my childhood, I was good in drawing – but I cannot say that I was having an artistic ambition at that stage of my life; also, the families and public did not really give particular importance to the arts, contrary to today.
In the middle school (right before the high school), I was chosen in volleyball and athleticism teams; in the same years, I represented my school in algebra. Those were the first public recognitions I have received. In arts, after I have met Mehmet Sukru Omur, I have been introduced to the mobile arts and my works have started to be presented in exhibitions and that was important for me.
After graduation as a medical doctor, in order to complete professional compulsory service requirements, I started to work, as the responsible doctor in a small, cute and green town in the Black Sea coast named Kesap.
Private or State/(Public in US) school?
I have always been educated in state schools.
University or Work?
I graduated from the University of Ankara Faculty of Medicine and subsequently specialised in dermatology. I have spent long years in the university as a professor of dermatology in Erciyes University, located near the Cappadocia region. There, I have lectured students and taken care of patients for many years. Hence, university and work have been synonymous throughout my life. I was quite happy to be there; I was doing the thing I loved, I was enjoying teaching my students and I have experienced the constant satisfaction and fulfilment coming with providing cure to my patients. University was, at the same time, where my interest and exposure in photography has begun. As part of my job and for academic purposes, I have been regularly taking pictures of my patients’ skin lesions. I have kept the same interest when I moved to Istanbul, where I currently live and practice my profession. I have quite a large archive of photos of skin diseases.
Who was or still is your mentor?
In the arts, I actually do not have a mentor. I receive my inspirations from my inner self and the works of other mobile artists.
How physically fit are you?
I feel physically fit. I do jogging and pilates on a bi-weekly basis.
Ambition or talent: what matters more to success?
Talent without ambition or ambition without talent do not suffice by themselves. These two complement each other. It is though important to develop your talent through using the ambition.
How politically committed are you?
I support the political ideas or actions which may possibly make the world more peaceful, liveable, environmentally clean and serene place.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
Thankfully, I do not feel like I need anything further to possess.
What is your biggest extravagance?
I seriously do not know of any.
In what place are you happiest?
I am happiest in my own environment with my family. I feel happy to live in the city of Istanbul. However, I also feel happy whenever I am traveling, since I enjoy discovering new places, exploring historical towns, taking photographs, visiting museums, art exhibitions and galleries.
What ambitions do you still have?
I feel ambitious about developing myself and going further in the mobile art.
What drives you on?
My family, my work and the acts and feelings of helping people and my patients and mobile art drive me on. In terms of mobile art, mobile photography especially attracts my interest and I would like to improve my skills on this. Mobile art groups on the social media are also one of driving factors in respect to the mobile art. Also, being a moderator in Appsturc, a part of Turkish mobile arts community (Tumobart), is a motivating factor.
What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
My achievements are correlated with my motivations. Therefore, my response to this question would be the similar to the one above – my family, my work, being able to help people and mobile art.
What do you find most irritating in other people?
Dishonesty, deceitfulness, lack of love and care, lack of morality.
If your 20 year old self could see you now what would he think?
He would say: “You are doing fine; but you should have started being involved in arts when you were much younger
Which object that you’ve lost do you wish you still had?
Lost objects are not of a real concern for me, they are mostly replaceable. It is rather the lost people that are of concern to me.
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
Climate change, conflicts, immigration-related issues, upcoming limitation of food and clean water.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Yes, I believe in afterlife.
If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far out of 10 what would you score?
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