Gönenç's Life Story


Gönenç was born in 1940 as singleton of an Istanbulite civil servant family who are originated from Crete. Despite the tradition of family for becoming a civil servant or military officer, he began to work after middle school. He started selling the notebooks that he made in front of the schools and the toys that he crafted at the open markets. After a short while, he became the owner of a little workshop with four employees that produce toys for Istanbul toy market.

After serving his military service as a photographer, he continued his former occupation as a small scaled trade which was registered in Chamber of Industry and Trade of İstanbul. Gönenç Minyatür Sanayi, which he handed over to his foreman in 1979, was a large toy and souvenir company back in times. Today, it operates under a different name.

In the following years, Gönenç had chosen photography and journalism which he was doing amateurishly, as profession. His photographs, interviews, researches and critics about culture, art, human, events, folklore, tourism and photographic art has published in magazines like Hayat, Milliyet Sanat, Somut, Çağdaş, Sanat Olayı and in newspapers like Cumhuriyet and Milliyet. During the line of his duty in board of management at İFSAK Photography Art Association, he made a great effort for national and international photograph exhibitions to be held. He held personal photograph exhibitions and his photographs won awards at biennials and exhibitions. In 1984, "İFSAK Photography of the year" belonged to Gönenç. With his three friends, he founded the first DIATEK (Archive that provides visual material to printed press) of Türkiye. He deemed worthy of A-FIAP (Artist of FIAP) title by FIAP (Federation of Photographic Art).

In 1985, he assigned all his assets in İstanbul to his divorced wife and his young son and he came to his house in Bodrum – Gümüşlük in order to start his life from scratch again. After working in jobs like painter, guide, carpenter and hawker, he opened an antique shop named 'Gönençyalı' in his small house at seaside. Until 2000, the shop was the center of interest for local and foreign television channels, tourism writers and so many famous and respectable people from Prince Charles to international music man, Ahmet Ertegün.

Gönenç put an end to his professional working life because of the reasons such as changing of value of society etc. in 2000 and he lives in Bodrum with his wife. He keeps taking photographs, travels and studies on his books.





O. Gönenç Nostalji