Istanbul has a population speeding towards 20 million, its chaotic sprawl stretching from the fringe of Europe to deep into Asian Anatolia, the tide of humanity not only ebbs and flows it grapples, struggles and despite the body blows of urban gentrification it survives and does so often with humility.
For a street photographer, and am not really comfortable with the rank but I am a photographer and the streets do provide my subjects, Istanbul is a feracious playground.
I had been asked to help run a workshop for some visiting street photographers and had set out to scout some new locations, the old Khans of Istanbul provide excellent settings, you only have to watch the movies Taken and James Bond to recognize the potential, the ancient Caravansaries once served as bed and board for traders, the horses tethered in stables around a courtyard and the traveling salesmen would relax on the upper levels with whatever the Ottomans used prior to cable television.
These days the Khans are shops and ad-hoc workshops and as I wandered the upper most level of one a man stepped out of low arched doorway, his face blackened from the grime of his blacksmith forge, with his hands on his hips his stare unnerving, there are times though when you really cannot turn down an opportunity, I stopped and asked if I can take his picture, he seemed bemused I would want to do that but accepted, I shot, thanked him and moved on, he made one parting tongue in cheek comment of being African, possibly only then realizing why I had been so interested to photograph him.
Now normally it is about now the story would end, not quite, arriving home I edited the image and pleased with the result uploaded to my Facebook page, an hour or so later checking the notifications I noticed a new follower who had commented in Turkish, the translation said, “hey that’s me in the photograph” and sure enough it was. I am still not sure exactly how he found the image so quickly and can only assume the diligent use of appropriate hash tags connected me to Murat in this teaming teapot of a city of 20 million, he was very happy with the picture and very soon shared with his family and friends, I am taking him a print although finding the same workshop in the labyrinth will be a challenge.
For more Istanbul street photography as well as commercial and editorial and portraits visit my website Istanbul Photographer
great portrait and interesting story. it’s really curious to know how he had found your profile without to know your name !
and about the sad news from the Istanbul – i hope everything is ok with you and all your friends and family
Thanks Victor, I can only assume via the Istanbul hashtag I added, seems its actually worth added them! I will talk with him soon when I take him a copy.
Thanks for connecting on FB by the way, love your live music shots, I used to shoot music events a long time ago in the UK, will try some here sooner or later.
Very welcome John. Thank you for the kind words
What a great read! Put a smile on my face!
Although it does have to be said you always have smile on your face 🙂
Check out Jason Kind biking and smiling around the world
A fleeting interaction that developed deeper roots. I love it! (And the photo is excellent, too.)
Beautifully put, this is photography for me, the moment is always fleeting but one way or another it leads to something deeper.
Great read. Great photo.!
Thank you Howard.
I loved your Throw Cable TV Off A Cliff post
Great post. Exactly what I was looking for!
Thank you Pirate Patty
I aim to entertain 🙂
John, thank you for liking my post on Cartegena. I really do like your work. Looking forward to seeing more of your photographs and reading more of your stories. – Larry
Thank you so much Larry.
Lots more to come.
it’s actually so cool he found his photo 🙂 it is a great portrait, with so much character!!
the news from Istanbul is so unsettling… you take care!!
Interesting how small a world could be. Love the image and the tones. His stare captures and traps one’s own, forcing you to locked onto his eyes. Beautiful image.
Thank you Craig.
Small word indeed. He was quite intimidating but cheeky with it, am so glad I took the chance.
You have some great landscape images, something I have never really been involved with but am planning for the future, no doubt knowing myself they will be B+W but looking forward to exploring new ideas.
I will be looking forward to see some of your future landscape images. There is nothing better than a well done B&W landscape. Thank you for you work and your kind words.
This portrait is brilliant!
Thank you so much Daniela, it really is a favorite of mine.
Have been dabbling with some fashion work recently-if you ever need a break from Mexico am sure Istanbul has lots to inspire you.
I’d looove to visit, it is definitely on my bucket list! ❤
I love Istanbul, souks and your photograph. Bravo1
Thank you Kerry
Am keen to read your Cairo memoir, a city close to my heart.
Hope all is good with you?
Health is a bit so-so but generally good. I have had mostly good reviews for the book but bear in mind it is a personal memoir and your experience might be different from mine. I am not selling it well, am I? My psychiatrist put it on his approved book list for patients…
Haha am sure if your psychiatrist approves then it must be good 🙂
Selling your own work is always difficult, at least this is my experience, its not great for business but at least its an endearing quality. Take care
Thank you, John!
Such a great image
Thank you my friend
Great pictures and lots experience!
Thank you Adrian.
Am still learning
Enjoyed your story and a wonderful B&W portrait.
Thank you Dan
Your landscape images are amazing
Sir, I wanna chat with you please……
Great story with a stunning portrait. I really hope you find him again to deliver the print. It is amazing how a single photo, a fleeting moment, can have an impact on someone else’s live without us even realizing it.
Thank you so much.
I will find him and hopefully will be able to write a follow up post.
I really love your images, Poetry and Pixels indeed, absolute poetry, so beautiful.
Thank you John, I really appreciate the support.
Hello John, thank you for taking the time to view and ‘like’ my ‘ It was like 1960 again’ post. Really, I haven’t done much in the way of street photography. So, input from you is much appreciated. I too have read your ‘Istanbul Street Photographer, A Social Media Story’ and notwithstanding the difficult lives of the people you photograph, it is terrific to read of the connection possible with ‘social media’ these days. Certainly it’s not all dark and terrible! I found your post uplifting. I also, having photograph the four youngsters, made it a priority to publish and hope they will see themselves and that I may receive some feedback. My best wishes to you and I shall now click the follow button,
Thank you Ian
I think you are doing a sterling job of documenting life and the changes around WSM, often its our own neighborhoods we neglect to photograph, an archive of images over time as a city changes is a valuable thing, keep up the good work. Love your main image of the pier.
Best of luck
Great photo and a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it.
Thank you so much.
More importantly thank you for your work drawing attention to Raif Badawi:.
Support for Raif Badawi from around the world
Thank you for putting a link to my blog. Very much appreciated.
These are wonderful. I have also visited you website. Wonderful!
Really thank you so much 🙂
wonderful view into a fascinating world
Very interesting post.
I am a hobbyist photographer mostly taking snaps on our travels. I don’t seek to be a professional or expert, but your work inspires me to try my hand at portraits.
Lovely story and great portrait. I was getting some prints framed recently for an exhibition and the framer looked at one of the “street portraits” and said “hey I know him, he’s my hairdresser.” I’m also going to be taking him a print but he’ll be a little easier to find than your subject I think.
It is an intricately captured portrait and an evocatively crafted narrative. Both works do the subjects and their maker justice.
Impressive portrait and an interesting story.
And thanks for visiting the Englush side of the blog http //visualpoetrysylvieg.wordpress. com
Reblogged this on Keith Klouda.
A fabulous connection, and great shot!
Wow.. what a dream!!!! I wish I could do that for a living! Beautiful shot
Great photo, I love Istanbul ^_*
John, thanks for liking my post on Phi-Phi Island. I find your photography absolutely beautiful.
Great photo 😀
John, thanks for liking my post on choosing a camera.
This is an amazing story. He must be good with social media :). The world definitely is shrinking around us. I love your portraits, they are great in B&W. They all seem to tell a story, it is so different from the posed studio or outdoor portraits.
Marvelous photos. I miss black and white photography.
I really want to say how beautiful all your pictures are but my words are no match to your work. It’s a great feeling looking at your photos on a lazy Sunday evening. Your black and white pictures added color to my otherwise dull mood. Thank you for sharing your work John 🙂
My absolute pleasure I can assure you 🙂