Streets of ‘timeless’ Istanbul

Turkey was surprisingly fabulous…exceeded all my expectations.  And Istanbul was the icing on the cake.  What an amazing city – ranks right up there if not slightly higher than my up-until-now favourite NYC.  Great culture, amazing people and super food.

Bustling modern thoroughfares and timeless cobbled street neighborhoods are within a twenty-minute tram ride of each other. Truly a photographer’s paradise.

I decided to shoot predominantly medium format b&w film on the streets during our 4 day visit. Am growing to love this format and since it forces me to slow down and think before shooting each frame, I find the images are somewhat quieter than 35mm.  And as it turns out, carrying around a big ancient looking camera is a great conversation starter and contrary to what you would expect of large equipment, I was somehow viewed with less suspicion.

Undoubtably my favourite city for street photography.  Wish I had carried my 35mm film camera too but then I would probably have ended up using the Medium format a lot less.  Anyway hope to make it back to Istanbul with the Leica sometime in the near future. Insha Allah!

Some parts of Sultanahmet are frozen in an earlier time.

This was the only shot I got without the kid looking into the camera.

Apparently carpets are the thing to buy in Istanbul…towards the end I started feeling obliged to give in to the persistence and charm of the shop owners

Istiklal Caddesi is like the Oxford Street of Istanbul

Almost everyone here smokes, even in restaurants etc.  They love their cigarettes and their turkish coffee or tea.

Fresh breakfast

Comfortable bed. Great view. Bottle in hand. The good life!


There is no wrong time and  place to check the Blackberry.

Turkish street animals were the friendliest I have ever come accross.  The dogs looked awesome and were all so affectionate.  The cats were like dogs.  If you judge a place by the way they treat their animals than Turkey rocks!

Inside the Hagia Sophia this cat sat in front of this spotlight sunning herself for the entire time we were there.  This was a 1 sec exposure and she barely moved.

Did some touristy things like the Bosphorous cruise.  Went past some gorgeous houses on the waterfront.  I have decided to retire here.

These guys are at it the whole day sometimes catching six or seven fish at a time.  They then sell freshly cooked meals.

Whoaa what’s she got there?

Love taking pictures of people taking pictures

Love the look on his face – well beyond his years.

Sleeping cross legged

Another timeless scene of a girl playing hopscotch watched by her mother and brothers.

One of them is real

Most shops are closed on Sundays and the by-lanes are totally deserted.  My first instinct was to get out of there when this gang of boys approached us.  But then seeing how they were dressed and the fact that we were in one of the safest cities in the world gave me the courage to make an image instead.  They turned out to be totally harmless like all the other locals we encountered on our visit.

1 Turkish Lira to feed the pigeons.  Thats like 30 INR. Even the birds are privileged!

One of those moments that things come together

Window shopping

I just love the dynamic range of film and Neopan Acros is really amazing value for money.

Will post some colour pics shortly – carried my digital cam as well upon my wife’s insistence.  She’s not too taken by my new love affair with film.


4 thoughts on “Streets of ‘timeless’ Istanbul

  1. the film b&w is really great.. i thought of doing some film b&w but the local studio here at vellore said, they’ve stopped production 😦
    Istanbul is one dream destination for me too..
    You’ve heard of this photographer Yanidel ( )? He is currently on a world trip, now in Istanbul, I guess…

  2. thanks georgie. you dont have to depend on a studio to develop b&w film. I develop it at home in a dark bag and then scan. I order most developing accessories online at Yes I think i have heard of yanidel…paris based photog i think. would love to see is istanbul work. anyway hope you manage to start with b&w film and let me know if you need any help with developing etc.

  3. “One of those moments that things come together” are you hinting at what am i seeing now after some staring!! a couple in love in back and ..

    I keep coming back to check out your posts. This one would stand out as one of your best for sure.

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