H. Bengisu Kubra


Calligraphy meets Photography

hu.jpg - هو / Hu - interlaced with a macro photograph of a water drop... H. Bengisu Kubra

Flow is an important concept in many different fields of art. It is the road our eyes follow while gazing upon a piece of art – we follow the flow often without realising its existence nor are we able to differentiate it from other aspects of the piece often. Still, its existence is concrete: lack of it causes an artwork to be rather “dissolved” or “distracting” and our eyes and soul recognise this right away even if we can't really construct with our minds, “how” or “why.” Flow is not just a perfectly wavy stroke of a brush or harmonious layers of a subject (or subjects) in a photograph. It is more than that as a piece with a chaotic outlook might have an amazing flow that draws the viewer like a whirlpool.

While it is important and influential in every different kind of artistic creation, it is essential in calligraphy. Especially in modern, free-style calligraphy, flow defines not only aesthetics of the work but also its conceptual meaning and feeling. Flow is the plot of the story that a calligraphic work tells. Flow defines the rises and falls in feelings as one views the calligraphy; writing the same exact word with different flows can incite joy or sadness depending on each flow – it is not the word or a clause in calligraphy that dictates the overall mood of the work; it is the flow, amongst other things, that defined the mood and atmosphere.

We like to mix and match in arts; there are even different kinds of “mix and match.” If you think “mixed media” works are “mixed” only in terms of “media” then you are absolutely wrong; it is not only different media that mix; different manifestations of same basic concepts, like composition, flow or perceptions that mix. Unfortunately, calligraphy is rarely fully “mixed” in this aspect; it is often only “mixed” with respect to “media” but not concept; bodies brought together, souls are not.

It is an important and fascinating journey, as a result, to mix and match calligraphy with photography. “Writing” blends into “seeing.” No, you don't “see what you wrote” and “write what you saw” rather you “see” writing, and you write “seeing.” Flow is the crossroad; it is the very moment you see “writing” and you write “seeing.” It is where you can set free both calligraphy and photography and they meet – their flows, each distinctive with respect to their field of art, come together to form a third flow; this flow is not separate from the other two yet it is also composite, formed of the other two and present with them. This opens up a new page in both arts and in the artist: a new experience brings new ideas and dreams.

Do not “write” on a photograph or “take a photograph” to place underneath what you write – let two distinct works of art, one of calligraphy and one of photography meet. Even if the subjects are different and seem to not be connected, even if colours do not match – even if it “seems” they are not to be together their flow might match. It is hard to predict the plot of the stories calligraphy tells, as it is often a very abstract art, so it may not be obvious sometimes which visions belong to the plot that is the flow of a particular story. As visions blend into the plot – it will only make the plot a different also stronger plot that tells brings more to the story, that tells a better, more definitive story.

Yet, do not overestimate flow for it is just one point on the common ground. There are many other points where a work can intersect with another one; blend in your calligraphy with other forms of art in other points on the common ground, from forms to conceptual backgrounds, from styles to perspectives – there are many different places for calligraphy to meet with others and become “one.”