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Istanbul, a journey through time
By Gustavo Minas
“The beauty and mystery of this world only emerges through affection, attention, interest and compassion . . . open your eyes wide and actually see this world by attending to its colors, details and irony.”
― Orhan Pamuk.
Istanbul has always been on my list of cities to photograph, so I was very happy with the invitation from Istanbul Street Photo Festival to give a workshop and visit the city in October of last year. My view of the city was already impregnated with iconic images, from the classics by Ara Güler, to the more contemporary ones by Alex Webb and many great photographers who live or have worked there.
In preparation for the trip, I decided to finally finish reading Istanbul, a book by Orhan Pamuk whose chapter on “huzun”, a kind of Turkish melancholy, is present in Webb's work.
And I don't know if it was because of the book or because the days were a bit cold, or because on some days I decided to walk through neighborhoods off the tourist route, but I came across many characters that reminded me of this feeling of loss of a glorious past. Silent gentlemen, always smoking, alone or playing dominoes inside the equally melancholy teahouses, which are perhaps the most beautiful and most difficult places to photograph in Istanbul.
These timeless characters and places, as well as the mosques and their calls to prayer, give me the impression that anyone who goes to Istanbul moves not only in space but also in time.
Photos and text: Gustavo Minas.