Renowned photography NFT artist Leyla Emektar was born in Adana, Turkey, in 1972. She graduated from the Cukurova University’s Department of Painting at the Faculty of Education after completing Primary, Secondary, and High School Education in Seyhan, Adana.
She gained experience in photography and dark room use by taking photography classes at the university. Leyla is a married woman with two children, and is currently employed as a Visual Arts teacher in Kandira, Kocaeli.
Leyla Emetkar is also a member of MOF (Mersin Olba Photography) and has been a member of GPU (Global Photographic Union) since 2011. In 2014, she received the degree of EFIAP (International Federation of Photographic Art).
These are just the tip of the iceberg, so let’s dig deeper into Leyla’s transformation into an NFT artist and the triumphs that followed!!
Entry into NFT Space
Leyla Emektar was introduced to the NFT sector in December 2020. A group of young entrepreneurs from South Korea contacted her and stated that they were planning to launch an NFT marketplace. They told her they were meeting with photographers from around the world for this project, and that they wanted to collaborate with Leyla.
That was the first time in her life she heard about NFTs. Her South Korean friends explained to her about the space, then Leyla began her research from the scratch to explore more into the NFT world.
At the beginning of April 2021, I searched for an invitation to enter the NFT marketplace Foundation website and once she found the invitation, Leyla uploaded her first photograph on April 10th.
The path was definitely not that easy because she felt like her work was not getting enough visibility among the rush of new entries in the Foundation platform.
As a confident person who has achieved success in every activity or venture she has undertaken in the past Leyla didn’t give up. She sacrificed her sleep to try and bring more attention to her work via social media.
A ray of sunshine came in the form of 3FMusic who purchased multiple NFTs from Leyla soon after. 3F Music is a Dubai-based music production house that is popular for buying the ‘Side-Eyeing Chloe’ meme NFT for 25 ETH.
When popular collector Aito picked up a few NFTs just hours after 3F Music, it was good news upon good news. This was enough for Leyla to continue doing what she wanted to do in this space with high expectations as she never even once doubted her talent.
These events inspired Leyla to begin and experiment with new techniques for creating NFTs. She continued to convert her works to NFT and sell them on a single website for a long time. She was overjoyed to be recognized for her efforts to make her work known to a broader audience.
Eminent names in the NFT space such as punk4156, Bharat Krymo, legendary rapper Snoop Dogg aka Cozomo de’ Medici, Farokh, DeeZe, punk6529, etc are few of the known collectors of Leyla’s NFTs.
Children of Dreams
In a period between 2015 and 2017, the Children of Dreams initiative was created in Kocaeli, Turkey.
The emotions of children who had to experience separations due to wars, destruction, and disasters are the basic foundation of the Children of Dreams NFT project.
With the help of her students, Leyla drew pictures on the ground with colored chalk, then took the photographs of the kids, and listed them as NFTs.
The collection soon became a hit, and right now its floor price is sitting at 1.5 ETH with 104 ETH volume traded overall.
A lot of accolades came along Leyla’s way via this iconic NFT collection. It went on to win the Alfred Fried Photography Award, which is held in Austria.
Got invited to the Peace Photography Ceremony with Leyla becoming one of the five photographers who deserved to receive the Peace Photography Prize. There the collection was awarded the World Peace Prize.
The backstory of the White Infinity collection is a very interesting anecdote.
Every year during the winter season, especially when it snows heavily, Leyla Emetkar goes on a photography trip. In 2019, she intended to visit the eastern part of Turkey. Her goal was to become one with nature and the endless whiteness.
During this trip, Leyla stayed in different cities and photographed almost every region of Turkey, from west to east. What struck her the most was the way of life in Bingöl (Southeastern Turkey).
When Leyla reached the city they could only see the roofs of the houses as there was heavy snowfall
“The eternity of white and the difficulty of life increased as I approached the countryside,” Leyla noted
People in the countryside were using shovels to open the roads that connected their houses to other houses and to keep their lives going. At that location, Leyla discovered the round road (a vicious circle), the theme of the White Infinity photo series.
People use those small and narrow roads to transport their patients to medical facilities and their animals to foraging areas. In a nutshell, the ‘white infinity’ collection depicts the lives of the people who live in the region and spend the majority of the year battling snow.
Currently, the floor price of the collection is 1.98 ETH with 48.9 ETH volume traded overall.
Leyla had a dream about a teenage girl with multiple personality disorder eight years ago. “Was it a dream, or was it the effect of the movies I watched?” She reckons to herself.
She considered illustrating her dream with a series of photographs. She enlisted the help of the newly appointed English teacher of the school where she worked, as the model for the photoshoot.
Leyla told her about the project, and the lady agreed. She had been working on the images for many months, which were going to be used in the photography session.
She was fixated with language and emotions for the new series. She was wandering around the villages taking pictures when she came across an old, abandoned village school. This was selected as the location on the spot itself.
Leyla and her hubby, as well as the model and her husband, shot for an extended period of time. After a series of long and exhausting but enjoyable shoots, the next step was to edit the footage.
She spent about 6 months editing the photos in Photoshop. She even took extra shots in the same location with the same lighting conditions to include the emotions she wanted to include. After a year, all of the photos were completed.
But wait, there was an issue. The model told Leyla that her husband was jealous and wouldn’t let her use the pics. Despite the fact that they both discussed everything at first, for some inexplicable reason, all of her work and efforts were about to be wasted.
Leyla was hanging out and drinking coffee with her neighbor one evening when she discovered her new model in front of her. “I’ve never looked at my neighbor like that. (Sometimes, what you’re looking for is always with you),” Leyla added.
Leyla immediately told her neighbor about the disappointing saga with the previous model and her determination for this collection. Fortunately, she agreed to be the new model. Leyla definitely learned from her previous mistakes this time and signed a model agreement with her neighbor.
They both shot repeatedly in the same location from the start. As a result, Leyla completed the Psychoanalysis series after approximately 2-3 years of effort.
The photograph collection was later converted to NFTs and sold on the Foundation marketplace.
The Psychoanalysis series was exhibited in many photography festivals bringing fame to Leyla.
She was awarded the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Awards (HIPA) in 2016 and the Şinasi Barutçu Photography Cup in 2017 for her Psychoanalysis collection.
Mystery of Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a tourist destination in Turkey known for its natural beauty. Cappadocia has been photographed numerous times for the same reason.
Leyla began researching the various mythological stories associated with each valley in Cappadocia.
She gathered the fairy-tale-like stories told by the locals and prepared to photograph the valleys, which were later turned to NFTs. The collection is available on the Foundation platform.
- The Actual “Mystery of Cappadocia”
So according to a myth, the fairy sultan’s beautiful daughter fell in love with a shepherd in Cappadocia. Despite the fairy sultan’s roadblocks, his daughter left her family to marry the shepherd.
They had a child after some time had passed. When the fairy sultan learned of this, he became even more enraged and dispatched his soldiers to find the shepherd and his daughter.
When the fairy sultan’s daughter saw the soldiers approaching, she prayed to God not to separate her and her family. At the end of the myth, god heard her prayers, the three of them transformed into these three lovely fairy chimneys and stayed together forever.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Leyla takes you through the aesthetically pleasing and soulful interiors and exteriors of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque via this NFT collection.
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), initiated the project of Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
This was in order to create a structure that would unite the cultural diversity of the Islamic world with the historical and modern values of architecture and art. Yousef Abdelky, a Syrian architect, designed the mosque.
You can view all other NFTs from Leyla Emektar in the Foundation marketplace!!
Leyla Emektar and her work serve as an inspiration to plenty of photography NFT artists. She is one of those who believes that traditional art and NFT will coexist and amplify each other.
She continues to be a role model in this spectrum. She donates the money she earns from these NFT sales to people in her community as well as educational institutions.
“As a teacher, I believe that the best investment is the investment made in children,” Leyla explains.
“We all know that women are in the minority in this space. I believe that the reasons why women can’t allocate time to the NFTs are their daily life activities and motherhood duties. I advise new female artists to create their own time and put their art forward with determination and never give up.”