About Your Tutors
Sabiha Çimen was born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1986. She is a self-taught photographer, focusing on women, Islamic culture, portraiture and still life.
Çimen graduated from Istanbul Bilgi University with an undergraduate degree in International Trade and Finance, and a Masters degree in Cultural Studies.
Her Master’s thesis on subaltern studies, which includes her photo story titled ‘Turkey as a Simulated Country’, was published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing in 2019.
W.Eugene Smith Fund recipient 2020.
Canon Female Photojournalist Grant – 2020.
World Press Photo, Long-Term Projects, 2nd prize – 2020.
PH Museum, Women Photographers Grant, 3rd prize – 2018
Gomma Grant, Honorable Mention – 2019.
World Press Photo Foundation Joop Swart Masterclass – 2018
Çimen became a Magnum Nominee member in 2020.
The fall of the Berlin Wall led me out of Queens into the larger world. After trips to Germany and Romania for their first democratic elections I traveled to Russia in 1991, just before the August coup that marked the end of the USSR, and have returned many times since culminating in a photography book project called Wonderland: A Fairytale of the Soviet Monolith, exhibited at Visa pour L'Image in Perpignan, France and at the Leica Gallery in New York and winner of Best Photography Book 2008 by Pictures of the Year International.
In 2004 I received a Fulbright Scholarship to return to Russia to make a series of large format color portraits called Title Nation with a Russian colleague.
I have received numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, 1999; The Dorothea Lange/Paul Taylor Prize, 1999, for my work in a Jewish Village in Azerbaijan; and The Alicia Patterson Foundation Grant, 1996. My work has appeared in many magazines including Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, and Soros Foundation publications.
In 2004–2005 I organized a Kids with Cameras workshop in the old city of Jerusalem, teaching photography to Arab Muslims and Jewish children, which toured many U.S. cities. It was also featured on ABC News and in National Geographic and Hadassah magazines.
For economic reasons, as well as to obtain health insurance, I took a job as a Security Guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from March 2008–Nov 2009. I created and co-edited a new independent magazine for the guards called SW!PE which received media attention; NY Times, NPR, Reuters TV, The Leonard Lopate Show, etc.
Another result of my time at the museum was the creation of The Americans List where 270 photographers commented on the Robert Frank Looking In exhibit at the MET. This book will be self-published in May 2012.
When I quit the MET and used saved funds in order to continue photographing, I made two short trips to Turkey and Egypt. I am currently working on my next project The Black Garden, with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign, set in the geographical locations known to the ancient Greeks. I am seeking out a sequence of visual metaphors that are once about the failure of those ideals and about a journey of lost traditions in an ever culturally ambiguous and ubiquitous world.
I am currently the International curator for the Bursa Photography Festival in Bursa, Turkey, and the co-creator of Dog Food, a newspaper based on the philosophy of the Cynics for photographers where we also give free symposiums for the local photographic community.