Turkey I: In The House Of Rumi, 2011

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Europe for quite some time now has been going through a transition, which is greatly transforming all aspects of society in its different regions. As in all moments of transition, there are tensions and resistance, but inevitably this evolution moves forward. The European Union, economic integration, immigration, cultural diversity (assimilation and clashes), are just some of the defining elements of the new face and landscape of Europe. Turkey throughout history has been a crossroad between Europe and the Middle East; and as a result, a place where all transitional elements might be found in their most acute depiction especially in a city like Istanbul.

By visually documenting this city as an outsider, not European and not Middle Eastern, I hoped to find in the face of Istanbul the characteristics that might start to define the New Europe. I limited myself, without the preconception of images, to map certain areas and situations that might provide me with insights. For example: the streets, sites of cultural interest and exchange, centers of secular as well as spiritual activities, areas of international confluence (commerce, tourism, etc.), as well as different residential neighborhoods, markets and industrial sites, corporate and governmental environments, and more.

Early in this work, I had to abandoned my intentions of using film due to unexpected internal flights and numerous and mandatory x-ray check points. I adopted what might be called the high-low tech of the smartphone camera, and an app that allowed me to mimic a more traditional b&w film stock. These different elements of intentions and approach, (a foreigner visiting an exotic land, the confluence of history and the present in the landscape of the country, and the contradictions between photographic technology and the resulting images), served to connect and create a revolving dialogue with a particular genre and history of the medium: that of photography as a tool for archeological or anthropological survey and the documentation of early expeditions, such as the XIX century works of Maxime Du Camp or Timothy O'Sullivan.

This work looks at the surface of the country for hints of underlying clues that would lead to better understanding of a place at a geographic, cultural, and political crossroad.