• People

    Istanbullu IV

    Good, bad, lovely, mad … it takes attitude to last in this city. All these people (in one case I use the term loosely) provided plenty of personality and made the last week more interesting. Thanks for keeping it—mostly—real, everyone.

  • People

    The cure for dislocation

    Despite the chaos surrounding me it’s nice to be home and welcomed by some special people with open arms. There’s no going backwards in time, but for now that’s okay. Home is not really a place is it, Sof? That’s why I hope wherever I am, you’ll always be nearby. Then, even if I’m not home, at least I’ll know I’m close.

  • People

    Istanbullu III

    A few years ago my friend Selin was in Milano, Italy for the furniture fair, but took regular breaks to indulge her nicotine urge. An Italian man who observed her said, “You’re smoking like the Grande Turco!” To which she replied, with a laugh, “I am a Turk!” Do Turks smoke considerably more than many other cultures? I don’t know. While I don’t endorse smoking in any way, this is still very much a smoker’s city. Despite being pushed to the pavements, despite the ever increasing size of the warnings on their packets, Istanbullu are pretty resolute when it comes to puffing.

  • People

    A bit of press

    As I mentioned earlier this month, I chose Sirkeci Train Station as a location for the photo shoot and interview I took part in for Marie Claire’s November Issue, all about November in Istanbul. I’ve been in this station countless times, and love to photograph here. What was funny about this occasion is that the minute Hasan Deniz, the photographer, put down his camera bag a station security guard with a pistol on his hip arrived and told us we couldn’t shoot here without permission. It didn’t matter that all around us were Japanese tourists with equally expensive cameras and glass taking pictures. We suddenly needed permission and 500 TL to make it legit. Somehow Ece Üremez, the editor, managed to work some magic and get things rolling without any money having to change hands. However, it was hard for me not to burst out laughing throughout the shoot because…

  • People

    Café girl

    Someone said to me at the café where I’m writing this right now: “I know you, you’re famous!” While I was somewhat taken aback, I smiled, and replied, “Oh, really … am I?” Then she responded, “Yes, you’re Sofia’s father.” I laughed because it made sense. Every time we stroll into a café, you turn heads. Every time we sit down, you charm a laugh out of me or someone else. If my only claim to fame is you, that’s just fine with me. I couldn’t be prouder.

  • People,  Places

    Sokak Style at Holy Coffee

    A good café needs a cool street presence. In fact, it’s not just about the coffee, it’s about the vibe, which is all about the people, the kind of character and the community you draw. Holy Coffee in Çukurcuma not only brews a decent cup, they attract a lively crowd, happy to spill into the street, whether it’s for a smoke, a chat or to soak up the nice warm autumn light. This place has a friendly, lively vibe and it regularly fills with some of my favorite people. I have to say, I’m feeling the love.

  • People,  Places

    Istanbullu II

    There are so many great faces, and so many great stories to go with them in this city. What do each of these expressive faces tell you? How much can you read? It’s all there in black and white, shadow and light.

  • People

    Romani girl

    Today I was out researching a story on café culture for a foreign newspaper and I saw the Romani girl above carrying this small boy past the cafe I was sitting at in Karaköy, where the privileged young and beautiful lounge, surf and socialize. She was importuning some man for a handout or something she wanted. It happens all the time, but there was something striking about her. No one batted an eyelash. About an hour or so later I stopped for a tea on the Golden Horn past the Galata Bridge still thinking about the story I’m working on. There she was again perched on a stool with a glass of tea at her feet and a foolishly long cigarette, awkward between her painted nails, and this young boy, her brother, I hope, fast asleep in her lap. She’s tiny and he looks almost half her bodyweight, yet she carries him around and…

  • People

    Sultanahmet Style

    I don’t know about you, but I think people with genuine style often don’t even know they have it. They’re effortless with it, rather like this gentleman I saw using a public telephone in Fatih. How many people still use a public phone? Better yet, how many people forego the so-called convenience of a mobile these days? There he was having a conversation on the phone smoking his cigarette and he just transported me to a different time and place. I was about to wander on, but then I decided I had to go back and ask him for his photo. Thanks, Ağabey.

  • People,  Places

    Tarlabaşı

    Between thriving Beyoglu and the Golden Horn, Tarlabaşı could be the most cheerfully doomed neighborhood in the world. I’ve been meaning to pay this area a visit for some time, but have been deterred by the fact that some other people whose work I really respect have already delved into this dilapidated old Greek hood which is largely populated by Kurdish migrants from Eastern Turkey as well as Roma. Regardless, I felt I needed to see this area before the last vestiges of its current community are driven out in the ongoing gentrification or “urban revitalization” or “historic protection” — whatever you’d like to call it — process is complete. What I found truly surprised me. It’s  the friendliest neighborhood I’ve encountered in Istanbul, and perhaps the poorest. There are plenty of men on street corners who don’t want their photographs taken for reasons you can probably imagine, yet there was…