Q&A with Travers Smith's CSR Art Programme artist Gökhan Tanriöver

Q&A with Travers Smith's CSR Art Programme artist Gökhan Tanriöver

Tell us a little about yourself

I am London-based photographic artist born in Izmir, Turkey. I moved to London with my family for my father's job and since then I've lived between Turkey and the UK.

My interest in photography began when I was a medical student and eventually my hobby became my vocation after working in the NHS for two years. It was a difficult decision to change careers but I never regretted it.

Tell us more about Confessionals

I am a very introspective person by nature. As way to gain a deeper self-knowledge, I began to recollect my childhood memories to link my current thoughts and behaviours. My identity is informed by these memories: those that are recalled and those that remain hidden below the surface.

Confessionals is a series of analogue still-life photographs rooted in my autobiographical memory. The studio and the darkroom serve as the physical space where a meditative state facilitates a form of auto-therapy. The childhood memories, first voiced as a textual confession, are used to construct an image as a method of enriching my understanding of the self.

How did it feel to be selected to take part in this year's CSR Art Programme?

I heard about the programme over a year ago and it was motivating to know that there is a concrete opportunity linked to our degree show. I had no expectation of being selected, as there were so many strong projects in the show. During judging I watched the committee like a hawk whilst telepathically whispering "pick me". I was very excited to receive the news and immediately went back to the darkroom to continue working.

How do you think being featured will help you in your emerging career?

I have taken part in several group shows in the past but this is a unique opportunity where my work will be displayed for a year in a very different setting, for a different audience.  I am particularly looking forward to the seminars and workshops on topics that have become increasingly relevant to me as a graduate starting out.

I am aware that Travers Smith has a very active diversity and inclusion programme and as an immigrant LGBT artist I am honoured to take part. 

What's next on the horizon for you?

Since being selected for the CSR programme, I've been asked to participate in GFEST 2017, an annual LGBTQI Art Festival opening in November which will feature a visual arts exhibition, live performances and movies.

I applied for several competitions following the degree show. Whilst most resulted in a rejection, I've have been shortlisted for the Peaches and Cream Photography Competition which will result in a group show in Photofusion, London at the end of October. I have also been shortlisted for Royal Photographic Society International Print Exhibition 160, which opens in mid-October. As a result, two pieces from Confessionals will be exhibited around the UK for a year and be featured in their print publication.

October will be a busy month for me as it is also marks the start of my Photography Master's Degree at the Royal College of Art, an institution that I am proud to be a part of.


Gokhan was one of our 2017-18 artists. Read about more of our Art Programme artists here.

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