If Photography Didn't Find Me, It's Hard to Imagine What I'd Be Doing

This week we release the seventh episode of Trope Stories, a video conversation with our network of photographers and an examination of their work. In this episode, get to know South London-based photographer Eren Sarigul as he shares how his photography journey began, the influence that travel has had on his photography, the full-time creative pursuit he has embarked on and the inspiration for his debut solo book Across Japan
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Please check out our YouTube Channel to see Eren's podcast and all future videos from Trope. If you prefer to listen, the audio version is available on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play, and Spotify

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Eren Sarigul, Trope Publishing Co

How did you find shooting in Japan? Any plans to revisit? For me, shooting in Japan is where I began my photography and it’s actually where I feel most comfortable shooting. I love shooting in Tokyo and busy cities so for me, Tokyo is almost home when it comes to photography and it’s definitely somewhere where I’m looking to revisit. In the near future, I’m hoping to go to the very northern tip of Japan and do a trip all the way down to Okinawa which is an island in the south. 

Do you think that with photography and filmmaking, the only way to succeed in this sometimes elusive, creative pursuit, is the only way to be successful is just to be all in? That’s a question I’ve been asking myself this last year because I was very much working full time on the sports side of things, whereas photography was a hobby. But over the last year, maybe the last 18 months, as photography has become more of my main job, I’ve been earning more and doing more projects. I was at a point where I had to go full time and commit all of my energy to photography. Out of the two subjects, I do prefer photography and making films and making art. So it’s something that I feel, in order to fully excel and push myself to that next step, I’ll have to go 100% and over the last 12 months, I have done that. I’m working less on the sports side of things and really focusing on my photography and improving myself, my art, and learning new skills as well. Of all these things, it does come to a point where if you really want to excel and really learn about a subject, you’re going to have to be all in.  

Eren Sarigul, Trope Publishing Co

I’ve heard you say before, “photography found me.” What do you mean by that? When I first went to Japan, I had never taken a photo. I was not even remotely interested in photography or in video. So the only reason I picked up a camera before going to Japan for the first time was because I felt like the camera on my phone wasn’t that good and since I was going so far, I wanted to share some snaps with my family. There really wasn’t that much thought put into it, it was a spur of the moment thing. I picked up a point and shoot camera, headed out to Japan and while I was out there, I really enjoyed shooting people, capturing the architecture. And when I brought them back home, I was able to tell my story through the shots to my family. I’m at a stage now where pretty much everything I do is photography - most of my friends are in the photography world. So I sit and sometimes think, if photography didn’t find me, if I didn’t get into photography, what would I be doing right now? It’s hard to even imagine.   

How did you develop your style and what made you say, this is how I want to shoot? I always like to think that my style is constantly evolving. I never want to put myself into a box and say, “I only shoot street” or “I only shoot architecture.” I go where my passion leads me. At the moment, I’m really enjoying street. But there wasn’t a moment where I consciously thought, “I’m going to go and do this.” I just fell into it. Previously I was shooting more architectural stuff so I’d go around London and shoot cool landmarks with a wide angle lens. Where in the last year or so, I’ve really made a focus to do more street photography. The main thing I want to do and the things I like in art is tell stories or convey some sort of emotion. I want to do more of that in my own photography and through the shots I’m taking, tell more stories. 

Eren Sarigul, Trope Publishing Co