compagnon for inspiration – Part 13:
Jan Kaya

Our guest this month boasts the portfolio of swiss photographer. He's making such great use of the preconditions the Alps offer, you would never guess that his roots are in Turkey and the Philippines. An awesome snapshot of his compagnon backpack brought him to our attention and we were sure this young guy might have more visual surprises in stock. Great reason to take some of our time to sit down for a chat with:


"compagnon for inspiration" - part 13

Jan Kaya


Jan is 23 years old, lives in Basel, just a few minutes away from the great outdoors, and is currently in community service. Due to his own origin, he carries a significant extraversion inside while also having acquired a proverbial swiss modesty. As he's telling us how meticulously he goes about post processing his work while listening to Scandinavian music by artists, we've never heard about before and asking us for an Indian Chai tea, we're certain our small town just got as international as it could ever get. On his shoulders we spot a rather familiar piece of craftsmanship. Time to check out the photos he's brought along and find out about his story.


compagnon: Hi Jan, great you made it. You just told us you'd like to study social work besides already being a trained care worker. How did this social path lead you towards photography? Or is the one just work and the other is off-time and passion?

Jan Kaya: I was about 16 when me and my mates got into skateboarding. All the others always were significantly better than myself. For that reason I figured getting myself a used EOS 400D might be the way to go for me. So I started taking photos of my friends skating. Back in those days I was using manual mode on the camera but besides the shutter speed I didn't really know what I was doing. That started changing about 5 years later when I saw the first landscape or milky way shots by the big guys. From that point on I set my mind on learning how to do that.

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compagnon: Funny how life goes sometimes. Obviously we're more driven to get better in photography than in skating. But it's paying off, looking at those images you brought along. The Canon 400D is a reasonable camera than can produce good images but your results don't look like 400D shots. What camera are you using for them?

Jan Kaya: Yes, that's obviously right. I've been using the Canon 6D for about 6 months now. I'm very happy with it. To be honest I almost always carry all the lenses I own. I'm going on well planned trips rather frequently but great motifs come up every day and I want to have the right kind of focal length with me for the shot I want to achieve. So always with me is the Canon 16-35mm f4, Canon 70-200mm f2.8, the Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art and the Samyang 14mm f2.8. Besides that there's a tripod and filter for long exposures and usually a flashlight and spare batteries. I know that's a lot of stuff but my trusty compagnon backpack keeps everything in check and always comfortable for me.



compagnon: You just mentioned your planned trips. Are there any destinations that attract you the most? What are your favorites or places next on your to-go list?

Jan Kaya: Photography got my passion for traveling and appreciation for the beauty of nature going again. But sometimes you don't have to travel far to see amazing spots. I'm privileged by my home country, Switzerland and its nature. Therefore I spend a lot of time in the Alps or in their surroundings, having a great time with friends and capturing these precious moments on my sensor.



compagnon: Considering your international roots we didn't expect you being a rather local guy. But for your highly coveted astro photography images the Alps are ideal surroundings for you, of course. Is Switzerland itself crucial for your own style? What would you say?

Jan Kaya: If you ask me, I'd say my style is somewhat dreamy and mystic. But it took some time for me developing a golden thread running through my work. Inspired by Michael Shainblum and Hannes Becker it tried creating something that was all mine, my perception visualized in an artistic way. I can be rather critical with myself because I usually have a detailed, perfect image in my head I want to create. In my portfolio nighttime shots, waterfalls and portraits are the signature elements.

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compagnon: Do you see chances for progress inside the scope of your portfolio? New directions or extensions of genres you have worked with already?

Jan Kaya: I want to see more of the globe in the future. Use different surroundings to improve on my ability and progressing personally. I'm not grounded in Switzerland after all. Also I'm interested in filmmaking and editing film. I'd love to put some time and effort into that, too. Eventually it's all about enjoying life and enjoying photography, staying healthy and having a family at one point in the future.



compagnon: Those goals will most certainly fill a year or two. Especially considering alpine weather you can hardly use every spare minute taking photos in the Alps. Especially as one needs to get away from apertures and shutter speeds, don't you think?

Jan Kaya: Of course. I'm spending a lot of time enjoying music when I'm not on my camera. I can play the guitar and percussions. It's great to jam with friends or even alone. Music is a creative medium for me, allowing me to share emotions and thoughts. During winter season I'm on my snowboard. Just recently Monopoly and Poker have been growing on me again.



compagnon: In that case let's hope you can go All-in with your artistic work and put your creative visions on Boardwalk, if you know what we mean. You already have the right compagnon for your travels and hikes always by your side. All the best for you, Jan and thanks again for stopping by and sharing your work.




All images in this feature were provided by Jan Kaya. All images are protected by copyright. All rights reserved by Jan Kaya. More of Jan on Instagram and Facebook

This interview has been translated from German.

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