Ways of Life
In 2000, I left my hometown of Istanbul and a comfortable job in media for a less certain life of freelance and fine art photography. My wanderlust has led
me across North America, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand, Asia and back to Europe and Turkey with new eyes.
The images I have collected along the way present my new world and the many ways of life I have encountered along the way. In complex and often haphazard urban environments, I have
been drawn to the spirit of everyday people who have found their own ways of persevering. I have been awestruck by how people interact not only with the world’s most enduring monuments,
but also with less celebrated works of art and by the artifacts they have discarded and forgotten. In all the diversity of human life that I have photographed, my goal is to capture
unifying human experiences that are familiar and accessible.
My unplanned itinerary has led me to New York, the city I now call home, where all things and all people seem possible. But I haven’t stopped traveling and the future is unpredictable.
In witnessing other people’s ways of life, I have found my own.
Mustafa Önder was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. In 1995, he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts
University in Istanbul. He worked as a photo editor and photographer for major Turkish publications for several years before transitioning to freelance photography in 2000.
His work has been showcased in such Turkish and international publications as The New York Times, Hurriyet, Magma, Vogue, GQ, Esquire, Forbes, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Skylife, The L
Magazine and The Indypendent.
Mustafa's fine art photography has been exhibited in solo and group shows as well as auctions in New York, Istanbul, San Francisco, London, Beijing, Geneva and other international
cities. Many of his photos and photo series have received awards in such international photo competitions as IPA (International Photography Awards), Renaissance Photography Prize and Px3
(Prix De La Photographie Paris).
In addition to his documentary and fine art work, he serves as an artist-educator for Joy of Giving Something Foundation’s Changing Lenses project in New York City public schools.
Mustafa is currently based in Brooklyn, New York.