Istanbul is a full-on assault of the senses. This collection of photos is intended to feast the eyes by capturing flavor in the details of people moving among neglected surfaces. There’s a strange darkness to this city. Visually it’s more black and gray than New York City. The light, on the brightest of days—even at golden hour—seems to have weight. Orhan Pamuk refers to his city as having hüzün, the Turkish word for a deep melancholy. After three weeks there, I can testify that the hüzün strikes unsuspectingly: it snuck up on me, subtly but suddenly, and sent me reeling into a deep self-reflection. I was drawn toward lines, patterns, and the sense of touch, in a place that feels vaguely new and old at the same time. The resulting images, which I share with you, are not meant to be a comprehensive perspective on this major city, or any sort of overall tourist survey, but rather individual signposts of my feelings about Istanbul.
I see everything, I understand nothing
Comprehension—or rather lack of same—is my prevailing creative practice. With disciplined willfulness, I strive to enter into artistic projects as I do my everyday life; I cast aside preconceived notions in order to spontaneously respond to what is before me, and what is within me, at that specific moment. By this I mean I am a chameleon who takes on the colors and textures of a given subject. Themes of memory, of movement, and of marking a (sense of) place are prominent in my work. Mostly I try to keep my eyes just as open to the ordinary as to the exotic.
Weapon of Choice
For the first time while traveling, my iPhone was my primary tool of creative expression. Even though I appreciate gear, I’ve never been much of an equipment geek. Schlepping a camera bag has become a drag while reaching into my pocket for the iPhone was incredibly convenient. The images were crisp, too sharp for my tastes. A phone app called Pic Grunger, applied to the pictures after my return, provided the layered element that was missing from the straight photos, appropriate for both my aesthetic preference and the hüzün of Istanbul.
Lifestyle Art Project: Istanbul