Reflections from Gunda’s Camera (1951-1954)

August 7, 2023

August 5-13,2023

Venue: Eleni Church, Mustafapaşa-Ürgüp

We’re thrilled to announce “Reflections from Gunda’s Camera (1951-1954)” exhibition  by Koç University VEKAM will be available to visit in person between August 5-13, 2023 at Mustafapaşa Eleni Church in Ürgüp, as part of the Cappadocia Balloon and Culture Road Festival organized by the R.T. Ministry of Culture and Tourism.


Photography could be considered as an interpretation of reality, just like paintings and drawings. Photography is perhaps the most mysterious of the objects created by humankind as  means of communication with the world; a way of documenting the experience, proof of existence, a tool for propaganda, a witness to social events and suffering; a symbolic presence of unforgettable moments and sometimes the subject of nostalgia. Photographs are symbols of both presence and absence. Sometimes they could be provocative and  reveal emotions. Photographs are mysterious images that refuse to be bound to each other; can hold different meanings depending on the context in which they are positioned. Photographs do not really matter what is photographed as long as they are taken and valued; they are “moments” where experiences are documented with images, where reality and existence are proven. Over time, even traveling becomes a strategy for collecting these moments.

Gunda Lexer Holzmeister was the second wife of Clemens Holzmeister, one of the leading figures of the Austrian architectural academy and a renowned architect. Clemens Holzmeister, who came to Turkey upon Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s invitation, designed and built many important public buildings in Ankara between 1927 -1954 and lectured at Istanbul Technical University. Holzmeister lived in Istanbul between 1938 and 1947 and then lived in Ankara until 1954, when he decided to return to his country for good. In 1913, Holzmeister divorced from his first wife Judith Bridarolli, the mother of his son Guido and daughter Judith, and married to Gunda Lexer in 1939 in Turkey; they had a daughter named Barbara (Mohapp) Holzmeister.

Gunda as a trained photographer, accompanied Clemens Holzmeister on his Anatolian travels with her photographs. In 1955 some of the photographs that Gunda Holzmeister took in the Cappadocia region were published in a book titled  The Face of Anatolia: Cave and Khans in Cappadocia (Bilder aus Anatolien: Höhlen und Hane in Kappadokien) prepared by the Holzmeisters with Rudolf Fahrner including drawings and watercolors of the versatile architect Clemens Hozlmeister.

The photographic negatives taken by Gunda Holzmeister during her travels in Anatolia have been donated to Koç University’s VEKAM archive by Prof. Yusuf M. Örnek. Reflections from Gunda’s Camera (1951-1954) exhibition is compiled from a selection of this collection covering the photographs which were taken in Cappadocia region between 1951 and 1954. The exhibition presents a valuable documentation of Cappadocia in the 1950s while the negatives, which symbolize Gunda’s communication with her surroundings give clues about her personality and photography.