Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 43: THE EYE OF ISTANBUL - Ara Güler In Memoriam

Sometimes it is a photography book that inspires me to take a trip to a place that I haven't been to or at least have not been for some time. Such was the case with Istanbul... The book of Magnum photographer Alex Webb "Istanbul, City of a Hundred names", is one of my favorite photography books! So he was the main reason to eventually go back to Istanbul last week, but there was more...

While Alex his work is mainly color work, I've also been fascinated by the black and white work of Turkish-Armenian photographer Ara Güler, who is often nicknamed "The Eye of Istanbul". As a Photojournalist, Ara documented life in the city that was once called Byzantium and Constantinople, from the early 1950's to the 1990's. To celebrate his 90th birthday, an Ara Güler museum opened last August in Istanbul. More than enough reasons to visit the city that is often referred to as the bridge between East and West.

As I visited the museum, I would later that day learn that the great Ara Güler had passed away that same morning. What a loss for Photojournalism and Photography with a capital "P"!

Istanbul is often referred to as one of the best cities to shoot Street Photography in and after having shot there for an intensive 3 days, I have to concur! After Tokio and New York city it is probably my personal number three!

Initially I had planned to shoot colour work in Istanbul, but the whole Ara Güler experience on day 1 together with the fact that the skies were mainly grey and overcast, made me change to Black and White.

The image below was shot from a place under the famous Galata bridge, during the only short period of sun over the three days. I love how the Suleymaniye Mosque gives the image a nice sense of place. It was merely waiting for the perfect couple to complete the image.  


Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T3 with the XF23mm f2 lens (my favorite Street Photography lens)
  • ISO 1000, 1/400s, f14 (small aperture used to accentuate the sunburst)
  • SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) Jpeg using Acros Yellow filter
During my Street Photo adventure in Istanbul I almost exclusively shot jpegs. I've talked about the excellent quality Film Simulations and the resulting jpeg files which are often nice that replicating them using the RAW file is close to impossible. It begs the question why we still shoot RAW? Well there is definitively still a place for RAW for some genres of photography, for me jpeg has become the way to go for pretty much all of my Street Photography. I might still be shooting RAW+jpeg but often end up not even importing the RAW files anymore.  

The entire collection shot at Istanbul last week, can be found in its own gallery titled after Ara Güler, "The Eye of Istanbul". 

More than likely, I will be picking another image from Istanbul for next weeks Pic(k) of the week! 


Rather than closing with a quote as usual, I would like to share an additional image made at the Ara Güler Cafe, downtown Istanbul the day after his passing. Still being a regular visitor at his own cafe until just before his passing, people had put some of his books, flowers and candles at the place where he always used to sit down. A touching remembrance for a great man!