PROFILE

Emirkan Cörüt

A black and white image of two Muslim men wearing Ihram on top of a mountain above a city.

In this photograph taken by Canon Ambassador Emirkan Cörüt in Saudi Arabia in 2018, two Muslim men dressed in Ihram visit the Cave of Hira at the top of the Jabal al-Nour mountain, where the prophet Muhammad is believed to have received his first revelation. Taken on a Canon EOS 6D Mark II with a Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens at 1/4000 sec, f/2.8 and ISO400. © Emirkan Cörüt

Canon Ambassador and photojournalist Emirkan Cörüt has lived in Istanbul in Turkey since his birth, right in the heart of the city, in 2001. But it was only when he picked up a camera that he truly began to appreciate what a diverse and fascinating place it is. "Istanbul is a city where many cultures and ideologies mix, and this is exciting to me," he says. "I can see and learn many things by just wandering the streets – it's like browsing the pages of an encyclopaedia."

Emirkan has embarked on a career as a freelance photographer while still studying photography at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. Last year, he joined the Middle East Images photo agency, becoming its youngest member.
Emirkan has been able to cover a wide range of stories for the agency, including protests, natural disasters and the Covid-19 pandemic in his home city. Last year, the Turkey Photojournalist Association (TFMD) awarded him an Ara Güler Encouragement Award for a shot of a rally held by Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu prior to the mayoral election. He also received an honourable mention for his work covering balloon company employees in Cappadocia.
Canon Ambassador and photojournalist Emirkan Cörüt.
Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Specialist areas: Photojournalism, documentary

Favourite kit:

Canon EOS 6D Mark II

Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM
A pedestrian and two dogs at night in Istanbul, Turkey, lit up by street lights.

A pedestrian encounters two dogs while taking a shortcut through Istanbul, Turkey, during a night-time walk. Taken on a Canon EOS 6D Mark II with a Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens at 1/400 sec, f/2.8 and ISO8000. © Emirkan Cörüt

At first, Emirkan's interest in photography developed through another passion – sailing. As a young teenager, Emirkan would spend his spare time watching boat races on the Bosphorus strait in the Arnavutköy district, a spot favoured by professional sports photographers. Inspired, he borrowed a camera to document the races himself and then, at the age of 14, bought his own, a Canon EOS 650D (now succeeded by the Canon EOS 850D). Emirkan paired this with a EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens, adding a Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM lens three years later. He went full frame in 2018 with a Canon EOS 6D Mark II, alongside a Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens, a combination he continues to use to this day.

"I loved seeing and building a connection with what I photographed," Emirkan says. "When I realised that the time I spent with photography constantly gave me new things and saw how happy it made me, I wanted to put it at the centre of my life."
A figure in a white hazmat suit spraying an opulently decorated church with a statue of Mary and stained glass windows.

A municipal employee, wearing a hazmat suit to protect against infection, spraying the Saint Antuan Church in Istanbul, Turkey, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Taken on a Canon EOS 6D Mark II with a Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens at 1/1000 sec, f/2.8 and ISO5000. © Emirkan Cörüt

Emirkan was at school when he received his first commission, taking pictures on the theme of old age for Beyond Istanbul, a magazine published by an academic research institute, the Center for Spatial Justice. "I'd just turned 18 and hadn't thought much about old age before," he admits. "It made me empathise with older people, including the elderly around me and in my family, and the problems that they experience in the city."

This had a profound impact on the kind of photojournalist Emirkan wanted to be. "I realised that I had never noticed these problems before, and that I didn't need to look far to find important stories," he explains. "Now I generally photograph social problems in the city where I live. I want to raise awareness and to feel that the photographs I take benefit the people around me."
What have you learned from covering natural disasters, such as the aftermath of the Izmir earthquake and the drought in Istanbul?

It is up to us to minimise the damage natural disasters cause to human life. If the necessary measures are taken, we don't have to pay as high a price. I believe photography is a tool that can create social awareness and support change. The photos I took after the Izmir earthquake in 2020 and the most recent drought in Istanbul made people more aware of these events and helped me understand my environment better.


How do you choose the best perspective when you're shooting crowded scenes such as protests?

Istanbul is one of the best cities to gain experience in this: there are constant protests, big and small. First of all, I need to find out about the protest, whether it's authorised by the state and who has organised it, as that can determine where I'll be located. Another important thing to consider is the behaviour of the protestors. If it's a crowded scene, I sit on a high hill against the direction of movement. If I can't find a hill to climb, I walk around among the people. The places where the movement and sound are most intense give stronger images, but it's easier to shoot on the periphery.


How do photojournalistic ethics affect how you shoot and edit your images?

I try to get to know and understand the people I photograph. I don't feel comfortable when I think I'm bothering them or worrying them; ideally I want to be accepted first. I edit my images in a way that does not alter the subject.

One thing I know

Emirkan Cörüt



Since starting photography, my ideas about many things have changed, and they continue to change. I am still progressing in my photography and don't yet know where the process will take me. That curiosity pushes me forward. I'm sensitive to the world, passionate about learning and making a difference through my photography. I want to be able to take photographs that benefit the people in them. I try to follow my own instincts, instead of just shooting what is expected of me, and to capture photographs that have a unique character.

Instagram: @emirkan_corut

Website: https://meimages.com/photographers/emirkan-corut

Emirkan Cörüt's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Emirkan Cörüt's kitbag containing a Canon camera and lens.

Camera

Canon EOS 6D Mark II

Whether you want to shoot more ambitious projects, or you're turning professional with your photography, the EOS 6D Mark II gives you what you need to take those exciting next steps. "The rotating screen saves me a lot of effort at times and lets me easily try different perspectives," says Emirkan.

Lens

Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM

A versatile, compact pancake lens with a fast maximum aperture that enables low-light shooting and depth-of-field control. "Neither too close nor too far, the angle of this lens gives me exactly what I want," says Emirkan. "Another great advantage is that it's so compact it almost disappears."

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