The Rubbish Collectors of Istanbul

Faceless men and women, struggling up rain soaked cobbled hills clogged with traffic. Faces windswept and facing the floor. Ignored and cursed in equal measure. These wretched images as iconic in Istanbul as the minarets and monuments, stealthy tourists will often try and snap them as they haul a burlap load past shops with shelves…

Read More

Black Sea

Black Sea At that (Homeric) time, the sea was not navigable and was called Axenos (inhospitable) because of its wintery storms and the tribes that lived around it, and in particularly the Sythians in that they sacrificed strangers… But later it was called Euxeinos (friendly to strangers) when the Ionians founded cities on the seaboard.…

Read More

Tarlabaşı; An Ode.

Saying goodbye to Tarlabasi Tarlabasi is a hive of informal commerce, the streets alive, trade and toil and the struggle to survive in a city overwhelmed, carts with squeaky wheels pushed up and down the hills, hawkers crying and calling, the rag and bone man and the Sahlep seller, in the afternoons the itinerant musicians…

Read More

The Cowboys Of Cappadocia

Strabo must have scrambled his way to the peak of Erciyes, one of the Volcanoes that surround the tectonic crossroads of Cappadocia in the heart of Anatolian Turkey, scribbling in his ancient notebook he could see both the Black sea to the north and the Mediterranean to the south, he was less than three hundred…

Read More

Mindfulness & The Art of Slow Photography

Mindfulness and the art of Slow Photography A Turkish friend had been going into lucid detail of the true meaning of mindfulness, a term of modern trend that can often be treated with flippant discard or so I thought. One version of the meaning according to Psychology Today is; “Mindfulness is the self-regulation of attention with…

Read More

The Girl On The Ferry

The commuter crowd was pushing forward towards the gang plank to catch the six o’clock ferry to Kadikoy, shuffling a few steps at a time in the chill January air, it hadn’t started to rain yet but within the hour it would. In the crowd just to my right and a few steps in front…

Read More

Down By The Creek

Down by The Creek. I have just returned from ten days working in the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai. I have been a few times before to Dubai but only fleeting visits and always confirming my feeling that it’s a soulless monstrosity cluttering an otherwise pristine desert. This time because of the…

Read More

Thesiger, Me and Mesopotamia

Wilfred Thesiger died the summer of 2003, the same year I moved to Damascus, I remember hearing the news on the BBC World Service while living in one up one down hovel in the Old City. For those familiar with his life and work its probably no great surprise that his was a source of…

Read More

Day Trip to Basra

We had visas and letters of introduction and were quickly ushered towards the diplomatic booth, the guard look at the ink smudged pages of my passport with a bemused smirk and called to his colleague for guidance, the advice was simple, just stamp them in. He did and we were. As frontiers go Basra international…

Read More