Medals of ITU Sportsmen and Their Underwater World
Nov 26, 2015

Our sportsmen from the underwater photography team have been successful in every competition both individually and as a team representing ITU Underwater Photography Sports Club.
Almost every day our underwater photography team, which is a part of ITU Underwater Photography Sports Club, gains new champion titles. For the last three years our team has won all the Turkish Championship Cups at the “Golden Flippers” Underwater Photography Champioship held by Turkish Underwater Sports Federation.
Moreover, the team won 2 of the last 4 competitions held by CMAS. We have recently met with Cenk Ceylanoğlu and Taner Atılgan, members of our team, who have been successful in both individual and team competitions, and asked them about their success and goals. 

When did you start doing underwater photography? How long have you been working with ITU Sports Club?

Taner Atılgan: “I started going to the courses of underwater photography at ITU Sports Club in 2008. I have been a certified sportsman of the club since 2010. I had my first underwater system in 2010; however, I started working on underwater photography in 2011. In addition, I have been working as the diving instructor at ITU Underwater Sports Club since 2011.”

Cenk Ceylanoğlu:  “I have been doing underwater photography since 2003. Since 2006 together with my wife Sinem we have participated in various underwater competitions. I’ve been working with ITU Underwater Sports Club since 2010. ”

Why underwater photography? 

Taner Atılgan: “My interest in this sport comes from my childhood. When others wanted to learn playing the songs of their favorite musician, my dream was to dive. Also my desire to try something unusual while diving led me to photography. Even when I dive to take pictures of the same fish, the pose is always different. That’s why I’m never bored.”

Cenk Ceylanoğlu: “I’ve been interested in diving since I was a child. We are a generation brought up by the documentaries of Captain Cousteau. These documentaries influenced me a lot. I started learning to dive as a university student, and I started taking pictures of the underwater world to share its beauty with everyone.”

What does calm peaceful and marvelous underwater world look like? 

Taner Atılgan:  “It is a world full of endless beauty. It is also a place where one can escape from the daily stress and stay alone. It is both peaceful and dynamic, it is the most peaceful place I have ever seen.” 

Cenk Ceylanoğlu: “The beauty of the underwater world is impossible to be expressed by words. That’s why I’m taking pictures of it.”

Cenk Ceylanoglu 1

Have you had any important moments while diving?  

Taner Atılgan: This year while participating in the “Golden Flippers” Turkish Championship we had to change our diving program because of the adverse weather conditions. Consequently, we didn’t have time to take two more alternative pictures and had to take pictures spontaneously in the last four minutes of our diving session. Despite all these our pictures were awarded with the silver medal by the jury, it was worth our stress.” 

Cenk Ceylanoğlu: “Every moment I spent under water is special for me. I will remember all of them even many years later. The most special moment for me and my wife was my proposal, which I made to her while diving in the waters of a tropical island.”

Proud of Being Part of ITU 
Could you please tell us why it is important to be part of ITU Sports Club? 

Taner Atılgan: “I graduated from ITU. I’m very proud of being a part of this deep-rooted institution and feel its support. Our friends from other teams have been always saying that we must be lucky to be in the ITU sportsmen team. ITU Sports Club and ITU Ari Technopolis played enormous role in our success. We, on our part, try to represent our university and club in the best possible way in Turkey and all over the world.” 

Cenk Ceylanoğlu: “ITU Sports Club has been always supporting us. I would like to thank the president of our club Murat Kuruoğlu for the devotion and effort he puts into his work. 

Cenk Ceylanoglu 4

Have you been inspired by any ITU members during your work? 

Taner Atılgan: “Yes, by my driving instructor Dr. Murat Kuruoğlu from the Civil Engineering Faculty. The biggest motivation for me was when he sent me to the Championship of Turkey despite that I knew so little about the underwater photography. I also closely followed the work of Cenk Ceylanoğlu, Cem Gazivekili and Lütfü Tanrıöverc; they were the people I learnt a lot from.”
Cenk Ceylanoğlu: “My teammates are among the best Turkey's underwater photographers. We often gather to discuss photography. We’ve learned a lot from each other and have influenced each other as well.”

You became the Champions of Turkey in Underwater Photography. What distinguishes you from your opponents? 

Taner Atılgan: “Our goal at the Championship of Turkey is to take pictures that will be awarded with the highest scores by the jury. It means that we have to shoot impressive pictures and at the same time comply with the laws of general composition and technical regulations. Therefore, we have to plan everything very carefully and remember about the time and place designated for the competition. If your second half is also a diver, his or her skills will help you to succeed as well.  My wife Çağlar Yılmaz is a diver, and we have been working together for four yuears already. She is the one who provides my security, regulates the light, and acts as my assistant or underwater model. I’m convinced that our success for the most part depends on our cooperation.”

Cenk Ceylanoğlu: “In individual scoring results I won the second prize at the contest, and my friend Taner got the first prize, making our team the champions of Turkey. I always follow all the technical regulations and I prefer making plain compositions.”


We have been the champions of Turkey for 3 years. 
And what about your previous experience? 

Taner Atılgan: I won my first award, the silver medal, in 2011 at the “Golden Flippers” Underwater Photography Champioship in Turkey. In 2012 in a team with my wife we were given the highest individual scores which brought me the second silver medal. In 2013 and 2015 we became the champions of Turkey by winning the “Golden Flippers” contest. In 2014 we were chosen to the national team and took part in CMAS Underwater Photography World Championship held in the Netherlands. We are going to represent our country again in 2016 at the Underwater Photography European Championship to be hosted by Spain.”

Cenk Ceylanoğlu: “I won the second prize in individual competitions at the championship of Turkey in 2011, 2013 and 2015. In 2014 I won the titles of champion of Turkey and Underwater Confederation European Championship. As for group competitions, together with my team we became champions of Turkey in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015.”

What are your goals for the future? 

Taner Atılgan: “Together with my wife Çağlar Yılmaz we are planning to represent our country at European Championship in Spain in 2016 and at the World Championship to be held in Mexico in 2017. Afterwards we plan to conduct some projects promoting underwater sport in our country.

Underwater photography may not seem a very popular kind of sport in Turkey, although it has many followers around the world and it is very important in terms of underwater tourism promotion of a country. As a country that won two of the last four major competitions in this field, I think we should give more support to promotion of  the underwater beauty of our country.”

Cenk Ceylanoğlu: “My goal is to become more successful in the international arena”