Photojournalist Bulent Kilic

Interview: Nezih Tavlas / April 7, 2021

“I want to show what I felt”

(Credit: Haci Biskin/Gazete Duvar)

Photojournalism News: What drew you to photojournalism?

Bulent Kilic: I was in a high school searching for what kind of department of university i could go, I felt journalism is a kind of profession i could find myself. In university I started to work, writing my stories and shooting them and working in a darkroom. I found out that. Photography looks much more important than writing.

Photojournalism News: What equipment do you use? Do you have a favourite lens/camera?

Bulent Kilic: I am using Nikon, I started mirrorless technology. I don’t want to make their advertisement since they are not supporting me as enough. They should.

Photojournalism News: What social media platforms do you use?

Bulent Kilic:
Instagram -
Twitter -

Photojournalism News: How do you prepare yourself before any assignment? What would you put in your camera bag for a typical task?

Bulent Kilic: I am taking my daily cameras and also taking one or two back up cameras, just in case. Lenses, not much lenses; 35, 24mm. Tele lens just in case

Photojournalism News: How would you best describe your style of work? What are you trying to say with your photography?

Bulent Kilic: My style is to be pure, simple and with emotions. I want to show what I felt, what was my feeling when I was inside. I would like to find right picture to describe the story. To give pure emotions of an atmosphere I was in. Sometime you could do that with several pictures.

Photojournalism News: How many photos do you take for one story?

Bulent Kilic: I never count that but after some years I am selecting scenes and searching pictures till it satisfied me. Sometimes you getting pictures and thinking yes that’s the one could describe the story but no, suddenly something happening and all pictures you shot, means nothing.

Photojournalism News: What is the last trip you made?

Bulent Kilic: I went to eastern Turkey city, Van, to see health workers vaccination trip in mountains.

Photojournalism News: What projects will you be working on next?

Bulent Kilic: I can’t give information about that, sorry. Only I could say, I am searching questions in my mind and trying to find answers with my photography.

Photojournalism News: Which of your photographs would you describe as your favourite? What makes them so special to you?

Bulent Kilic: My favourite pictures, I could say, Syria and Ukraine and Gezi uprising. I have plenty, don’t know which one is the best.

Photojournalism News: What message do you want your photos to convey?

Bulent Kilic: I want to put right messages to the memory of humanity, we are shooting pictures for feature, sometimes I am losing my hope as all other people but we have no option, we have to look forward.

(Courtesy of Bulent Kilic)

Photojournalism News: What does a photo need to be great in your eyes?

Bulent Kilic: Great photo has 8 elements. 8 elements has to be in one picture:)) Timing art, chance etc. Great photo is the one which will survive forever and people will always remember.

Photojournalism News: In the digital age people consume billions of photos every single day, under the circumstances what could make a photo memorable?

Bulent Kilic: Everyone says in these days, photo died and video is much more important. That could be true but I don’t care about all these discussions when I see thousand and millions of people showing each other a single picture and says "Did you see that picture, it is incredible, How that could happen and all people stay silent"

Photojournalism News: What motivates you to continue taking pictures and what do you do to keep motivated?

Bulent Kilic: Don’t know I am trying to make sport as much as I can do and to be honest love is the biggest motivation in the world.

Photojournalism News: What was the biggest professional risk you have taken and what was the outcome?

Bulent Kilic: I had many professional risks I took, don’t remember a single risk. All pictures of me which staying for the future, believe me, there is single big risk behind.

Photojournalism News: What would be your dream assignment?

Bulent Kilic: My dream assignment, to spend an entire day with US president, no maybe with George Clooney. I am kidding, I have no idea about that.

Photojournalism News: What are the essential skills/ qualities a photojournalist should have?

Bulent Kilic: They should try to find hope in their pictures, not to humiliate people. Telling truth, staying with public and for their rights, not with any government, not any group.

Photojournalism News: What do you think about the digital manipulation of images?

Bulent Kilic: Manipulation is the changing realty in the picture. We have to except pictures we are shooting as an evidence. Changing of an evidence is a kind of crime. If there is no changing of reality there is no manipulation.

Photojournalism News: What does it mean to be an ethical photojournalist?

Bulent Kilic: People who always talking about ethics giving lessons to others, they are the first people who breaking the ethic rules first, this is what generally I believe in the life and I experienced from the field. "If you are searching pure ethic, better you go to prostitute" said by famous Turkish director Zeki Demirkubuz.

Photojournalism News: How do you see the role of photojournalism evolving in the world? Do you think photojournalism is losing its importance?

Bulent Kilic: Role of photojournalism. Very heavy question. Don’t know, is it there much differences than lawyers or doctors roles. Being humble and stand with right side, nothing more.

Photojournalism News: Do you have any advice for aspiring photojournalists?

Bulent Kilic: Being humble, walk on the right angle and right vision, think about future, and of course to be honest and have courage.

Bulent Kilic

Bulent Kilic became a photojournalist in 2002, joining Agence France-Presse as a stringer two years later. He is currently the photo manager for Turkey and has carried out several foreign assignments including in Ukraine, Iraq and Syria. He has won two World Press Photo awards, once in 2015 and again in 2016. He is TIME’s Wire Photographer of 2014.