Travel and landscape photographer Guerel Sahin is living proof that your long-held dreams can come true with enough passion and ambition. This year, both Jack Wolfskin and the native of Kaiserslautern, Germany, are celebrating their fortieth birthday. So, what is the story behind this partnership, and what motivated Guerel to abandon his career in order to dedicate himself to landscape photography?
A rock-solid relationship
It is no coincidence that the paths of Guerel Sahin and Jack Wolfskin have crossed. The ambitious photographer knew exactly what he wanted – to work together with Jack Wolfskin. Back then, around ten years ago, partnerships between influencers and large brands were not so common. Yet, Guerel’s persistence and repeated inquiries eventually resulted in a cooperative relationship with his favorite outdoor brand. “I simply continued to annoy Jack Wolfskin until they finally agreed to work with me.”
When he received his first outfit to photograph, he knew his efforts would be rewarded. Since then, Jack Wolfskin and Guerel have grown together. Guerel has become a Jack Wolfskin Partner and responsible for many product shootings.
A blessing in disguise
As with many of us, when Guerel Sahin was young, he didn’t really know which career path he should choose. So, he decided to pursue industrial engineering and, after graduation, many career opportunities were open to him. He started to work in construction.
It was only at his brother’s wedding that Guerel discovered his current path. He carefully observed the wedding photographer and was immediately inspired. A short time later, Guerel bought his first single-lens reflex camera. From then on, he was permanently captivated by the world of photography.
For the next three years, he entirely focused on photography, fine-tuned his skills, and gradually realized that he wanted to turn this new passion into a profession. The first step involved convincing his then boss to allow him to take photos for the company’s website. Three months later, as he was helping out at a construction site, Guerel had an accident at work and fell six meters through a roof. This led to a life-changing realization.
Although Guerel was lucky and suffered no serious injuries, he suddenly realized the precarious nature of life. He came to an arrangement with his employer and decided to turn his back on construction and become a freelance photographer.
A rocky path
Having made his decision, Guerel, now thirty years old, had to restructure his life. He moved back in with his parents and adopted an austere lifestyle. At the same time, he was deeply confident of his ability and evolution as a photographer. Even though some people doubted whether he had made the right decision, he held on to his belief and stuck to his plan.
There are a variety of strategies to develop one’s abilities. Guerel devised his own method to improve his photography. He searched out photos by his favorite photographers, then he borrowed his parents’ car and drove to the locations where the images were shot. There he took his own pictures and compared them with the originals. After critically analyzing the photos, he could see that his work was just as good as the photos that inspired him. In addition, there was a surge in feedback from the social networks existing at the time.
Bad weather creates the perfect mood
According to Guerel, it is not so easy to say what makes for a good photo. “It has to move you,” he says. With landscape photography, in particular, the right composition of the image and the right mood play a significant role.
Guerel advises any up-and-coming photographer to identify the object they want in the foreground first and then create a frame around it. He describes his own style of photography as atmospheric, colorful, and cool.
There is still plenty of excitement in store for Guerel’s career, and his affiliation with Jack Wolfskin, and both parties are looking forward to everything that the future brings.