Ahmet Ertug studied architecture at the Architectural Association
School of Architecture in London, graduated in 1974 and practiced
architecture in England, Iran and Turkey. He started photography
during 1972, in London and took photographs of Caribbean festivals and
street life in West End and East End of London. While working in Iran
as an architect during 1974-76, he photographed indigenous settlements
and ancient Persian monuments. His commitment to photography started
when he was awarded the Japan Foundation Fellowship to do research on
the traditional architecture of Japan in 1979. For one year he
traveled extensively in Japan and photographed the ancient temples,
Zen gardens and festivals.
After Japan he returned to Istanbul and worked as an architect for the
conservation planning of the historical city. His knowledge of the
historical quarters of the city encouraged him to photograph the
architecture and art of Byzantine, Ottoman, Roman heritage of this
ancient city. His photographic exhibition on the monuments of Istanbul
was shown in Paris, Madrid, Toronto under the auspices of UNESCO.
During 1980s he established his own publishing house and published
about 25 exquisite art books on subjects in Byzantine, Ottoman,
Hellenistic-Roman and Asian art. He uses a 20x25 cm / 8x10 inch
large-format camera in his photography of architecture and sculpture.
His books are printed under his personal supervision, by some of the
best printing and binding institutions in Switzerland and Italy. These
exquisite art books became a major achievement and innovation in
Ahmet Ertug has held important solo exhibitions of his photographic
work on Byzantine architecture in Paris at Couvent des Cordelier and
also Ottoman and Byzantine architecture at La Conciergerie.
His photographs of Hellenic and Roman sculptures were exhibited at the
Tuilleries Gardens adjacent to the Louvre. His photographs of Buddhist
sculptures from the Musée Guimet collections became an exquisite book
and were also exhibited at that museum. This book was selected among
the best publications of 2004 by Le Monde, which also called it the
most beautiful book of the year.
Ahmet Ertug's photography has a deep meditative energy and it
withdraws the observer into the intellectual content of his subjects,
ranging from the vast interior of monumental buildings to the silent
gazes of ancient sculptures.
A permanent exhibition of Ahmet Ertug's Hagia Sophia photographs is on
display in the upper gallery of Hagia Sophia, in Istanbul.
In October 2008, an exhibition of his 35 large format photographs
about Ephesos antique city has been launched, in the Ephesos Museum,
which is a part of the Kunst Historiche Museum in Vienna. This
exhibition became a permanent collection of the Museum.
A major exhibition of his large format photography on historical
libraries of Europe was exhibited at the Bibliotheque Nationale de
France, during May-June 2009. A limited edition book 'Temples of Knowledge:Libraries of the Western
World' was also published during this exhibition.
" ...Ahmet Ertug reveals himself as a photographer who is capable of
more than just capturing..."
from the essay "Grand Opera Through the Grand Lens" by Rolf Sachsse