During his film study he mainly focused on theory. He analyzed many classic films and directors throughout the film history. He wrote articles about the challenges and potentials of cinema as an art. Umit also worked as an assistant director on different productions, including TV series, short films and documentaries while studying. One of the shorts he worked on, BLUE, was supervised by Majid Majidi, the first Iranian Oscar-nominated director.
In 2008, Umit found a job with a Washington, DC-based non-profit as a multimedia producer. In 2014, he began working as a freelance cinematographer, and in 2016 he earned his MA degree in Film and Video from American University. Umit has shot hundreds of projects over the years, both locally and internationally. His work for PCI took him to Tanzania and Guatemala, to capture the efforts of that NGO for the local people. Day to day, Umit works on a number of different productions, meeting people from a wide range of interesting professions.
“I never dreamed, when I was just starting out in Istanbul,” he says, “that I would actually be shooting film after film in so many exciting places around the globe. Now, when I am in a new location, a new setting and a new time realm, I naturally connect to it. I feel the rhythm and let myself flow into it. Over time, through experience in the field, it’s become an instinct to formulate my visual language for the soul of the project. Overall, I am after beauty that presents itself in different forms in our world and has a value beyond the film screen.” A noble pursuit, indeed.
“My job is to create beautiful imagery that represents a perspective and is distinct. As a cinematographer I am here to help formulate your visual language through the means of cinematography using composition, movement, mise en scène, light and shadows, colors, shapes and dimensions. Every story deserves of its own cinematographic formulation on screen regardless of its content, be it a corporate or a fiction piece. As a filmmaker first, I always go after the soul, the meaning. Then I start structuring my visuals around that meaning as a cinematographer.”