American Photographer Cemhan Biricik

A couple of weeks ago, I was looking for inspiration in Instagram, and I discovered a super cool account from an American photographer, he is an artistic visionary who is truly gifted in evoking emotion through his work. His passion is capturing what is usually hidden from the naked eye in normal perception.

Born in Istanbul, Turkey, at the age of four, Cemhan traveled with his family, who were designers, to Paris and then ultimately to the U.S.   Even as a child, he was drawn to images and photography.

We make his interview to discover more about his starting in the world of photography.

Can you tell us about yourself and how you got started in photography?

Becoming a photographer was completely an accident. I actually started as an IT geek following the footsteps of Dell and Microsoft I dropped out of college and started my own computer company. 10 years later I felt the need to be creative and went on to expand my family’s high fashion clothing business in Soho. I don’t know the rhyme or reason but I purchased a camera. I shot mostly landscapes and family just as a hobby. I hired some models for events we do at the store. I figured it would be nice to have some shots of the models for our website and ads. Then it really clicked. Something deeply moving about directing the model, creating the moment and feel of the woman I envisioned her to be, and what her story was. I amazed myself at the images I was getting; much better than anything I had shot before. It was the perfect combination of everything I loved from the fashion industry and everything I loved from the IT (post-editing) it was a very odd and roundabout way of finding my passion for photography.

How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?

Emotional and cinematic in a way that it’s the defining moment in a movie, that split second where everything changes for the character. The climax of the story!

At what point did you realize that photography is what you wanted to do as a career?

Another incidental path. As I was at the climax of my story in the fashion world I had strengthened the Soho flagship store and began to open in the top luxury malls. I had a tragic accident. I had a hard fall in the ice and fractured my skull and suffered from a severe concussion. I had issues with memory loss and the ability to speak. This was extremely difficult for me since those were my two biggest strengths. This was the first time in my life I stopped everything I was doing and then I realized I hated what I was doing, I wasn’t happy with where I lived, I didn’t see my kids or my wife enough. So I decided to make a change. A huge one as those is the only kind that makes a real difference. I sold my company packed our bags and moved to South Florida. I had nothing waiting for me here I just felt this is where I would heal and everything would be right. I went fishing for a couple of months. Reconnected with my children and my wife. Everything seemed right but my wife looked at me and said what are you going to do (for a living she meant. The money we had would not last forever) the first thing that popped in my head was what I loved, photography, so there came my new career…

What kind of impact do you hope to make in the fashion world in the next 10-15 years?

I hope to make an impact that outlives me. a legacy for my family to be known by and proud of. Imagery that outlasts the test of time and defines powerful moments of the lives of our generation and inspired the generations to come.

What projects are you working on now?

I’m just about to do a high fashion editorial shoot in a luxury waterfront house that we will be destroyed according to our vision. Sledgehammers, spray paint, broken glass. A sort of broken dreams meets the Phoenix story with a deep contrast of edge and glitz.

How much equipment do you typically bring to a photo-shoot?

Very minimal a strobe or two with a reflector. I like to work quick (that’s the New Yorker in me) I feel life is a series of moments and the faster I go the more moments I’ll be able to capture and experience.

What photographers from the past or present have influenced you the most?

Annie (her image of Cindy Crawford and the snake really moved me), Mario ( his work inspired me to better myself once I became a fashion photographer), and  Steve McCurry ( my father would get me Nat geo I always loved the images and adventures I found in these, especially his afghan girl)

What makes a great photograph?

An image that not just moves the viewer but changes them in a way that every time they feel a certain way they get flashes of that image as the embodiment of that emotion.

If you want to know more about this amazing photographer, please visit: Cemhan Biricik

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