Halifax-based actor, musician and photographer Hal Tatlidil remains at the forefront of creativity in Atlantic Canada. Recently we spoke with him about his passion for the visual arts.
What is your own heritage?
I'm Turkish. I was born in Istanbul, Turkey and grew up in Canada.
Where do you currently reside, and how old are you now?
I've been working between Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax for the past several years.
What first inspired you to take up photography?
Photography was never really a thought for me…I mean I've always been moved by images but I started as a musician and had found fair success in that, which turned me on to film and TV where I still work as an actor. I suppose I've always been a visual thinker and the fact that my great grandfather was a photographer, I'm sure that had something to do with it. One day, between gigs, I had a thought; that I would do headshots for other actors and friends and it all started with that…
Are they the same reasons you do it today?
Not exactly; I started because I thought I would enjoy doing it more than working in a restaurant. But now, and I think with anything, our thoughts about a thing become more refined. I'm more keenly aware of what is in my minds’ eye and am able to go after it more deliberately - focused. It satisfies a part of my artistic curiosity and makes the other parts more fluent and so I keep going because of that.
What are the challenges involved?
For a while I was feeling like things in the world of photography had become too saturated. Making a nice picture is probably easier than ever. And so that gives the impression that an image is maybe a little more disposable. But I realize now that while there are millions of images being made everyday -, it makes working photographs be at their best and find ways of showing their most unique work.
What are the rewards?
Being my own boss is really great! Standing back and taking in a new print is incredibly satisfying because it is the image that was only in my imagination and then to be able to recount the process of what it was before taking the shot, all the way through to final print and then have it turn out with that surprise only a well made print can have - its deeply satisfying and humbling.
What have been some career highlights?
Standing at Joshua Tree was transformational for sure. I think the deep connection when working one on one with clients, is always humbling - that recognition of trust and something very pure. For me it is always been about the experience and not really any single goal.
What makes a good photograph?
Soul. It is there or it isn't and no amount of technical work will make a difference! I've taken enough flat images to know, LOL.
Is your creative process more "inspirational" or "perspirational"?
Inspirational - 100%! It’s always obvious when it’s not 'happening' - I just have to stop and take a step back…
How has the internet helped, or hurt, what you do?
The internet is the greatest thing ever! Sure there's everything is coming at us all of the time, but it is selective. We can turn it off at will. We live in a time where its 'show me first' and people are smart. They really are. They can tell if something is good or not and I trust that. Having a website, actually three, has been incredibly valuable in 'showing' people and is a big part what I do.
What's next on your creative agenda?
I'm shooting a film this year. Yep, with all of the technical knowledge I've gained as a photographer; combining it with my work in Film/TV made sense, a good natural progression I think.