compagnon of inspiration - Part 13: Jan Kaya

compagnon der Inspiration – Teil 13:  Jan Kaya

Our guest of the month takes the photos of a true Swiss thoroughbred. He uses the conditions offered by the Alps so skillfully for his photographic art that you would never guess his roots in Turkey and the Philippines. When we noticed his first snapshot of his backpack, we were sure that this young guy had even more sensational surprises up his sleeve. Reason enough for us to take the time to talk to him:

"compagnon of inspiration" - Part 13

Brief portrait

Jan is 23 years young, is currently doing his community service and lives in Basel, just a few minutes away from undisturbed nature. His own background has given him a great openness (to the world), but he has acquired a striking, typically Swiss modesty. As he tells us how meticulously he carries out the post-processing for his recordings, listening to Scandinavian music by artists we've never heard of before and asking us for a chai tea on the side, we're sure that it can't get any more international in Birkenfeld today. A well-known piece of European craftsmanship hangs on his shoulder in the form of a backpack. Time to look at his pictures and listen to his story.

compagnon: Hello Jan, nice that you were able to arrange it so spontaneously. You told us that you want to study social work and are already a trained curative education nurse. How did you get from this social branch to photography? Or is one strictly work and the other leisure?

Jan Kaya: My friends and I discovered skateboarding when we were about 16. But the others were always much better than me, which is why I bought a second-hand EOS 400D and started taking pictures of my friends skating. I was already taking manual photos back then, but apart from the shutter speed, I had no idea about the camera. That all came about 5 years later when I saw the first milk runs and landscape shots of the big boys. From then on I realized: I want to be able to do that too.

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compagnon: It's funny how life works sometimes. You obviously have more ambition for photography than for skating, if we look at your current shots. All due respect to your old cameras, but these examples really don't look like a 400D. What technology is at work with you?

Jan Kaya: Yes, that's true of course. I've been shooting with the Canon 6D for about a year now and I'm very happy with it. To be honest, I usually have all the lenses with me, because although I often go on planned trips, I always see subjects for which I prefer different focal lengths. I always take the Canon 16-35mm f4, Canon 70-200mm f2.8, Sigma 35mm f1.4 ART and the Samyang 14mm f2.8, a tripod and filter for long exposures and usually a flashlight or spare batteries. That's certainly a lot, but neatly packed in my beloved compagnon backpack, it's all manageable.


compagnon: You just mentioned the planned trips. Where are you particularly drawn to as an artist? What are your favorites or your next dream destinations?

Jan Kaya: Photography has reawakened my urge to travel and my awareness of the beauty of nature. Sometimes you don't have to travel far to see great spots. With Switzerland as my home, I consider myself quite privileged when it comes to nature. That's why I'm out and about in the Alps or the surrounding area as often as possible, enjoying time with friends and immortalizing these precious moments on my camera sensor.


compagnon: Considering your international roots, we didn't expect your answer to be like this. But of course the Alps make perfect sense for your highly regarded astrophotography. Is Switzerland as a whole decisive for your style? What do you think?

Jan Kaya: From my point of view, I would define my style as dreamy and mystical. It took me some time before I was able to develop a clear common thread. Inspired by Michael Shainblum or Hannes Becker, I then tried to create something of my own that visualizes my perception in an artistic way. I am quite critical of myself, as I often have precise ideas of what I consider to be the perfect photo. My portfolio is generally quite characterized by night shots, waterfalls and portraits.

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compagnon: Do you still see opportunities for development within this portfolio? A new direction or expansion of your art perhaps?

Jan Kaya: In the future, I would like to see and experience even more of the world with my camera and develop and improve in the process. After all, I'm not stuck in Switzerland. I'm also increasingly interested in filming and editing and would like to invest more time in this. Ultimately, it's about enjoying life and photography, staying healthy and the desire to start a family at some point.

compagnon: This plan should certainly fill a year or two and provide excitement. Especially when we think of the alpine high-altitude weather, you can't possibly use every free minute to take photos in the mountains. Precisely because you need to get away from apertures and shutter speeds, don't you?

Jan Kaya: Yes, of course. I also spend a lot of time with music when I'm not taking photos. I play guitar and percussion instruments myself, so whether I'm with friends or on my own, I can let it rip from time to time. Music is a creative medium for me to convey emotions and thoughts. Apart from that, I spend a lot of time snowboarding in the Alps in winter. And recently I've been really into Monopoly and poker again.

compagnon: Then we hope that you can continue to go all-in with your art and that your visions land on the Schlossallee time and time again, you know what we mean. You always have the right compagnon with you for your journey to new peaks and to the stars. All the best & thank you for your visit and the visual impressions.


The pictures in this article were provided to us by Jan Kaya. The images are protected by copyright. The sole rights are held by Jan Kaya. More from Jan on Instagram and on Facebook

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