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YILDIZ V. MORAN, SELF-PORTRAIT, Istanbul, Turkey 1955

YILDIZ V. MORAN, SELF-PORTRAIT, Istanbul, Turkey 1955


Yıldız (Vahid) Moran Arun was born on 24 July 1932, in Istanbul. She is the youngest of three children born to Nemide - Ahmet Vahid Moran. Her father, Ahmet Vahid Moran, was a military officer who served in important positions both at home and abroad. He was the writer of Turkey’s very first English-Turkish dictionary printed in Latin script in 1924.


In 1950, Yıldız Moran quit her high school education during her final year at Robert College and, following the guidance of her uncle, the art historian Mazhar Şevket İpşiroğlu, went to Great Britain to study photography. After completing her education at Bloomsbury Technical College (1950-52) and Ealing Broadway Technical College, she began to work for John Vickers, the acclaimed photographer of The Old Vic.


Moran combined her technical and theoretical knowledge with the practical experience she gained at the studio and stage shoots. She had the opportunity to meet famous artists of the times. The exhibitions and works she saw during her time in Great Britain helped her develop her photographic vision. Following her internship period, she began to make a living taking portrait and lobby photographs.


She opened her first exhibition in 1953 in Cambridge. In 1954, she held four more exhibitions in London. All these shows attracted much attention. In her first exhibition, her entire collection was sold. She went traveling in Europe. After making a photo-book on Spain and Portugal, she returned to Turkey in 1954. Between 1955 and 1962, she held five solo exhibitions.


In 1963, she married Özdemir Asaf (Halit Özdemir Arun) and gave birth to three children in four years. She dedicated the rest of her life to her children. She opened her last exhibition in 1970, in Istanbul. After that, she only took part in retrospective exhibitions. She quit her professional photography career and began to work as a translator and dictionary writer.


Between 1981 and 1987, she prepared the complete works of Özdemir Asaf for publication and translated some of his poetry and prose into English.


In 1982, the Istanbul State Academy of Fine Arts Photography Institute awarded her with the honorary membership on account of her contributions to the art of photography. Lyrically conveying a universal language through her own perspective, Moran became a school in herself with her “timeless” photographs.


Turkey’s first academically-trained photographer, Yıldız Moran is renowned for the new vision and aesthetic she introduced into photography and considered to be one of the best photographers of all times. Masterfully combining the tradition of the East with the aesthetic of the West, she left behind a legacy of black and white photographs beautifully composed to capture the world of light and shadow reflecting on people and lands.


Considering the conditions in the world of photography in the 1950’s and 1960’s, it is a great achievement that she defined at the age of 20 her passion for photography as the foundation of her life, became the first academically-trained woman photographer in her country, acquired in-depth knowledge of the discipline and combined this knowledge with her talent and hard work.


“The camera must be like an extension of your being so that it doesn’t create an obstruction between you and your subjects. Anything that has poetry in it is the subject of photography. My only intention has always been to photograph what was universal while staying true to the concept embodied by my subject.” Besides her portraits, landscapes, and abstract details, she is also known for her photographs reflecting the lives of Anatolian people.


As a woman photographer traveling in Anatolia, she accessed otherwise inaccessible environments, moments and perspectives; and, with profound respect, she conveyed the purity of the people she met there and allowed us to see the daily lives of Anatolian women. An endeavor of this kind was unprecedented at the time. And no one else dared repeat it after her.


Yıldız Moran passed away on 15 April 1995, leaving behind a legacy of unforgettable photographs. Even though her active career actually spanned a period of 12 years, she still continues to influence future generations and is still very much a part of the world of photography, with all her works in museums, books and exhibitions.


Biography by Merih Akoğul


2022: “Kindness of the Shadow” Galeri Nev, Ankara, Turkey

2022: “Another Round” Kendi & Galeri Nev, Istanbul, Turkey

2022: “O!” Galeri Nev, Ankara, Turkey

2021-22: “I-You-They: A Century of Artist Women” Meşher, Istanbul, Turkey
2021-22: “My Eyes Are On You Istanbul” İBB Mecidiyeköy Sanat, Istanbul, Turkey
2021: “Respect for Masters” Luca Fine Art, Istanbul, Turkey
2020-21: “Presentation Room – I” Pilevneli Dolapdere, Istanbul, Turkey

2018-19: “Yıldız Moran: A Mountain Tale” The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Turkey

2018: “Yıldız Moran Photographies” Turkish Consulate-General in Geneva, Switzerland

2018: “Timeless Photographs” AKS, Antalya, Turkey

2017: “Find Me” Aksanat, Istanbul, Turkey

2016: “Timeless Photographs” FotoIstanbul 2016, Istanbul, Turkey

2016: “People Attract People” The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Istanbul, Turkey

2015: “Artist in Their Time” Collection Exhibition, The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Istanbul, Turkey

2014: “Focus: Turkey” Landskrona Center for Contemporary Art, Landskrona, Sweden

2014: “Timeless Photographs” City Museum, Eskişehir, Turkey

2013: “Timeless Photographs” Pera Museum, Istanbul, Turkey

2012: “In what language shall I tell you my story” Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Hollanda

2011: “Untitled” – “Solo” 12th İstanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey

2008: “Turkish Realities” Fotografie Forum, Frankfurt, Germany

2004: “In Memory of Yıldız Moran – Vintage Prints” 4th Ankara Photography Days, Ankara, Turkey

1998: “Retrospective – Vintage Prints” Adam Arthouse, Istanbul, Turkey

1970: “Lands and People of Anatolia” Beyoğlu Art Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey

1962: “The Life, People and Landscapes of Turkey” British Council Center, Edinburgh, Scotland

1960: “Retrospective” Türkisch-Deutsche Zusammenarbeit (Turkish-German Culture Society), Istanbul, Turkey

1957: “Retrospective” Moderno, Istanbul, Turkey

1956: “Retrospective” Hilton Hotel, Istanbul, Turkey

1955: “Landscape: Europe & Turkey” Sanatsevenler Kulübü, Ankara, Turkey

1955: “Retrospective” Studio, Istanbul, Turkey

1954: “Lands and Peoples of Europe” The Camera Club, London, England

1954: “Lands and Peoples of Europe” The Camera Club, London, England

1954: “Solo Exhibition” The YWCA Central Club, London, England

1953: “Lands and Peoples of Europe” The Camera Club, London, England

1953: “Lands and Peoples of Europe” The Camera Club, London, England

1953: “Solo Exhibition” Trinity College, Cambridge, England



2018: “Yıldız Moran” Photographers Series, Eczacıbaşı

2017: “Find Me” Exhibition Catalogue, Aksanat

2016: “Timeless Photographs” FotoIstanbul 2016 Exhibition Catalogue, Beşiktaş Municipality

2016: “People Attract People” Exhibition Catalogue, The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

2015: “Artist in Their Time” Collection Exhibition Catalogue, The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

2014: “Focus: Turkey - The Lady Who Touches The Light” Exhibition Catalogue, Landskrona Foto

2013: “Timeless Photographs” Exhibition Catalogue, Pera Museum Publication

2012: “In what language shall I tell you my story” Exhibition Catalogue, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam Catalogue

2011: “Untitled” – “Solo” Exhibition Catalogue, 12th Istanbul Biennial, IKSV

2008: “Turkish Realities” Exhibition Catalogue, Fotografie Forum Frankfurt Catalogue, Kehrer

1998: “Yıldız Moran Photographer” Exhibition Catalogue, Adam Publishers

1953: “Spain and Portugal Travel Guide” Nicolas Kaye Publishers



1994-95: “Music Dictionary” (not completed)

1992-95: “Moran An English-Turkish Dictionary” (not completed)

1988-89: “A. Vahid Moran A Turkish-English Dictionary” Updated 4th Edition, Adam Publishers

1987-92: “Synonyms Thesaurus with Antonyms & Opposite Meanings Dictionary” Spatyom Publishing

1984-87: “Advertising Dictionary” Cenajans/Grey Advertising

1982-85: “A. Vahid Moran A Turkish-English Dictionary” Expanded 3rd Edition, Adam Publishers

1969-71: “A. Vahid Moran A Turkish-English Dictionary” Updated 2nd Edition, Turkish Ministry of National Education


Editorial Works:

1995: Study: Reading Zindanı Balladı, Oscar Wilde, Çeviren: Özdemir Asaf, 6 45 Yayınları

1988: Unpublished Essays: ’Ça, Özdemir Asaf, Adam Publishers

1987: Unpublished Stories: Dün Yağmur Yağacak, Özdemir Asaf, Prepared by: Olgun Arun, Adam Publishers

1986: Complete & Unpublished Aphorisms: Yuvarlağın Köşeleri, Özdemir Asaf, Prepared by: Gün Arun, Adam Publishers

1983: Unpublished Poems: Benden Sonra Mutluluk, Özdemir Asaf, Prepared by: Doğan Hızlan, Adam Publishers

1982: Complete Poems 1: Bir Kapı Önünde, Özdemir Asaf, Adam Publishers

1982: Complete Poems 2: Yalnızlık Paylaşılmaz, Özdemir Asaf, Adam Publishers



1973: “Moran College 1972-73”

1972: “Moran College 1971-72”

1971: “Robert College 1970-71”

1971: “Moran College 1970-71”

1970: “Moran College 1969-70”



1986: “Lands and People, Volume I, Volume 6, Grolier, Medya Holding

1984-87: Cenajans/Grey, Advertising Translations

1983: “Export Financing” TSKB (Industrial Development Bank of Turkey)

1982: “One Minute Manager” Kenneth Blanchard & Spenser Johnson, Cenajans/Grey

1979: “Pre-Ottoman Turkey” Claud Cohen, E Publishing

1974-81: Rolls-Royce Diesel Engines Turkish Distributor Tarmo Tarım – Technical Translations

1970: “A Study of History” – Chapter I - Arnold Toynbee, Milliyet Publishing

1964: “Corners of the Round” Özdemir Asaf Aphorisms, (not published yet)

1964: “To Go To” Özdemir Asaf Poems, Yuvarlak Masa Publishing

Nisvan | Women Who Write Their Names into the History | Short | 07:48

Sous-Titres Français

TRT Documentary
Published in September 2011. 


Nisvan, representatives of the profession in Turkey as the first woman to life starting with successful women is the subject of a biographical documentary series.

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