In his series Dad and his Jordanian friends, Turkish photographer Olgaç Bozalp attempts to recreate a photo album from his youth. “The idea came about when I spontaneously remembered a trip to Jordan years ago. My dad photographed and filmed me and my sister for a period of 10 years while we were on holidays. I thought this series could be a good way of recreating these same memories of my father,” Olgaç tells It’s Nice That. The series is an affectionate tribute to his dad and the childhood memories Olgaç has of him.
The project follows the duo as they drive across Jordan. Unlike Olgaç’s other work, these images are neither stylised nor formal. Rather, it is as if the photographer impulsively took pictures whenever the opportunity arose. “When I travel with my dad, we decide the direction of our journey based on the people that we meet on the way. The people we encounter are integral to my memories of the trip,” Olgaç says. Images of local men going about their daily lives are contrasted with pictures of Olgaç’s dad as he swims and sunbathes in the Middle Eastern sun. By collating images of locals with shots of his father, Olgaç not only records his family but also tells the story of the overall experience. In this way, the series is not so much a character study of his father, as it is a collection of fond father-son moments.
Despite having now established himself as an accomplished photographer, this practice was not always on the cards for Olgaç: “I was studying acting in Cyprus when I started getting really interested in the characters my class mates would dress up as. I started taking photographs of their impressions and, soon after that, I was even dressing them up and creating new characters for me to shoot.” Capturing characters is clearly at the heart of Olgac’s work. In Dad and his Jordanian friends, the photographer’s father performs for the camera, dressing up in traditional wear or putting on a show in the sea.
“The series is very personal. It is really about remembering the time that I had with my dad,” Olgaç explains. The everyday interactions and silly jokes are what the photographer wishes to convey in this humorous but sensitive series. “The most important thing for me is that my photography encapsulates a moment that I experienced with another person. Something that is purely visual but has no soul is no good to me.”