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The stories of the people behind the art: Eliya Akbaş #6

With our new series “An artist´s life.” we want to share the stories of the people behind the art.

“An artist´s life.”
The stories of the people behind the art
#6 Eliya Akbaş

I was this kid, alone, with no one to play with, who couldn´t leave his home without his parents, and play with his friends. I had a happy childhood in terms of caring, fulfilling the needs of a young boy. But I always felt I grew up between walls where my creativity couldn’t express itself. I always felt I was not on the same page with the kids of my own age. Something was always missing, but what? I grew up in a big city (Paris) with a lovely family but I always felt lonely. Bored, I started watching movies. I knew how to use the TV and put a VHS at 4. I could watch the same movie over and over. I just love stories, images, following a character without knowing what will happen to her/him. I knew it, I found my purpose in life, storytelling and it has to be visual.

Deep down I was sad and the older I got the more conscious I was of my sadness. I promised myself I will never forget this inner kid, but I couldn’t wait to be an adult, to be free and do what I want. So when I finished high-school I said I want to study
films. I didn’t really like going to school but at least now I could study my passion. It was a big relief when my parents supported me and never tried to convince me to do anything else. Of course I didn’t take the easiest field, but what is easy nowadays?

You think you can bury your past, your pain but it will always comes back to your face and one day if you want to get better, you have to face it. “

But studying and working for my passion doesn’t mean it makes my life easier. I am not naive, I need to make money. I left Paris and lived in New York. I was mainly focusing my career in film-making. I worked in a documentary company, making movies about the
Holocaust, which is very important for me as a Jew. It has definitely influenced my work as an artist, teaching me that we all have a story, and behind each war, hides something even more important, the core of all things, human lives with their single and unique stories.
So from my teenage-hood I carried a pain, like a burden. I was deeply melancholic, and still am sometimes, but in a healthier way. You think you can bury your past, your pain but it will always comes back to your face and one day if you want to get better, you have to face it. New York was also years of struggles where I had to face many personal difficulties. Photography was a good cure. I realized that art was my way of expressing those feelings, to deal with them, to let them go and more importantly to be heard.

“In our daily lives we wear a mask, lying to our friends, our classmates, our colleagues, our family,…, ourselves.”

When I take a portrait, I want to catch the melancholy of the person in front of me. I don’t see melancholy as something sad but a state between sadness and happiness. In our daily lives we wear a mask, lying to our friends, our classmates, our colleagues, our family,…, ourselves.

This darkness part of each individual is far more interesting for me as I believe it will reveal the true-self. In front of my lens I don’t want to see a mask, I want the truth. I see how it can be hard for some people but at the same time, I feel a relief, a joy of sharing their inner self. I enjoy those moments with people, I love directing and seeing someone’s true soul. I will always be full of doubts but they help me to improve myself. My bad experiences inspired me and gave me the confidence that I could overcome difficult situations.

And so I moved to Barcelona a couple of years ago, I thought it was the right time to direct a music video. I did a short film in New York but I wanted to explore new things. I met a wonderful artist and we started to work on a music video. We did a crowdfunding campaign. It took a year to complete the project, and even though it was a tough road where I worried and I doubted a lot, I was also very creative, and in the end we did it. We have to think that nothing can stop us, it is in us, and if we don’t follow our dreams it will hurt us.

“I also learn that you can’t take nothing for granted, just like that things and people can disappear. “

I have faith and the pain I experienced few years ago strengthened my faith. I am not very religious, as I see my faith as a spiritual and personal journey, and photography is part of it. It has to take me somewhere higher in terms of finding peace. I want my work to be kind of spiritual, where I can express my faith, reveal someone’s true soul. From time to time I have to face my darkness. It can last a day or months. So I listen to music, especially contemporary classical music, or dream pop. Musics that later I will send to a model before a shooting or I will use during a shooting. I find inspiration though music, images are then rolling through my head.

“Art and life are a process, details are important but never forget the big picture.”

I always wonder what will remain of this very moment? Of this photo I took? Of me? I have the dreams from my childhood, since then I know what I want to pursue but will I succeed? Will I be able to live from it? I don’t mind doing corporate jobs as a a video editor or photographer, they pay the bill, but I want more. I also learn that you can’t take nothing for granted, just like that things and people can disappear. I follow a road, where will it take me? I am not sure. I know it will take me somewhere, I will discover new things, new tastes, new passions. Life is not linear. Art and life are a process, details are important but never forget the big picture. Art is a piece of eternity, the more you look, you hear, you feel a piece of an artist, more answers and questions will come. Our eyes are always new. So be true to yourself, even if it’s not easy. Take off this mask and feel your emotions. It is far more beautiful.

 

words and photography by Eliya Akbaş
eliyaakbas.com
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Eliya himself photorgraphed by Solene Milcent