Turkey Portraits

•February 27, 2014 • Leave a Comment

A few posed portraits, and their stories, from Gaziantep, Turkey…


I met this man and his co-workers on an early morning walk in Gaziantep. They were taking a break on a cold, cold morning, warming their hands around a fire in a bin. When at work, they were helping to renovate an old neighborhood in Gaziantep—-mosques, streets, houses, businesses were all undergoing restoration. This was one of my favorite areas in the city; it retained a feeling of old Turkey, with meandering narrow streets, old buildings, and fantastic textures and colors.


One afternoon while walking in the city, I heard a man calling after me. I turned around and he ran up to me, pointing excitedly to this woman on the sidewalk, about 50 yards behind us. She was laughing and gesturing for me to come talk to her. When I walked up to her, she invited me in to the car rental shop she and her husband owned and offered me tea, tea, and more tea. She also brought out lahmacun, otherwise known as Turkish pizza. I was constantly amazed by the hospitality of the Turkish people, who invited me—-a complete stranger—-into their homes without a second thought.


This gentleman stopped me on the street as I walked past his food stand. He was curious to know where I had travelled in Turkey, and where I intended to visit before I left. After I listed a few cities for him, he shook his head, pulled out a piece of paper, and proceeded to make a list of all the places I had to visit before leaving the country. When I asked to take his portrait, he pulled out a mirror and carefully wrapped his head in a scarf before sitting back down for the photograph.


I encountered this man while walking in the same old neighborhood I mentioned above, where almost everything was being restored. He caught me peering through a gate, peeking at a 500-year old mosque undergoing reconstruction. At first, he invited me into the courtyard of the mosque to warm my hands at a fire…it was another early, cold morning. However, when he saw my interest in the mosque, he invited me inside to see the work he was doing. After a quick private tour and a portrait, I continued on my walk while he went back to work.


There is a neighborhood in Gaziantep known for its copper wares; while walking in this part of town you come across men pounding copper pots with large mallets in workshops that look centuries old. You also come across the occasional bread shop, which is where I saw this man and his son. I noticed the boy first, eating his lunch with an impish smile. When I asked to take his photo, his father came proudly to his side to pose with him.


Turkey from the hip, part II

•February 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment

A few more examples of shooting from the hip in Gaziantep, Turkey:










Turkey from the hip

•February 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

While David & I were in Turkey, working on our Inside-Outside project, I wanted to make photographs of the cities and towns we visited to give the project some context. However, I grew weary, at times, from how difficult it was for me to move through the streets unnoticed. We spent a lot of time in cities and towns that do not get large numbers of tourists, so my presence on the street as a foreigner did not go unobserved. Anywhere. While this was fine (and even helpful) in instances where I wanted to stop and interact with people directly, it was less useful when I preferred to be discreet. As a result, I experimented with shooting from the hip while we were staying in the city of Gaziantep. I tried to create a series of street portraits, working with my camera pre-focused but at my side. Here are some of the results.











Accidents in Film

•June 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Given the popularity and omnipresence of camera phone filters, I find it interesting when an accident with old school film gives you the kind of result that those filters are trying to imitate.

I rented a Hassleblad again recently, and continued to work with it in Chinatown. Here are a few of the photos I took with properly loaded film:




The film, however, subsequently jammed. I was still able to advance it, but it was very difficult to turn the winder. I kept shooting, later photographing a dancer for another assignment. Some of the images from that shoot have light leaks and other artifacts from the sticky winder.



I know I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, but this kind of happenstance is one of my favorite qualities of film—that there are aspects of it that you can’t control, that sometimes are complete disasters, but sometimes produce unexpected beauty.


•April 17, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I took a wonderful portrait workshop about a week ago. The photos below are from one exercise in the workshop, taking photographs of people on the street or in the park. It was my first experience approaching complete strangers to take their portraits, and in the end it was quite liberating.













Chinatown and the Rollei

•March 7, 2013 • Leave a Comment

A few photos from a recent trip to Chinatown with the Rolleiflex.





A Rangefinder in Chinatown Part 3

•March 7, 2013 • Leave a Comment

My latest wanderings through Chinatown led me to Portsmouth Square Plaza. A wide open park on the border of Chinatown, this park is the urban opposite of the thin, crooked alleys I’d been photographing. What I noticed most was groups of older people playing a card game. I have no idea what the game was, but it involved slapping cards down in a pile with great gusto.


Most clusters of card players attracted spectators who roamed from game to game. And there were games to watch almost everywhere.


I made these last two photos back out on the main streets. I was trying, in both, to capture the brilliant color in the neighborhood.