Graffiti, shiny coating, flaking walls… or when the message and the canvas melt in a unique work of art for millions of onlookers to see. The walls of Istanbul are alive with tragedy, humour, graphic audacity and political wit. Human made messages drawn on an ubiquitous urban canvas altered by time, nature or further human traces. They are part of my daily walk, my visual companions and landmarks alike and I couldn’t stop photographing them for the last two years. I have collected some of the best of these pictures in a new blog, which I will keep on enriching as the street charms me again and again…
I have unwittingly started this Istanbul street candid project some two-and-a-half years ago, soon after my purchase of the now legendary Panasonic GF-1 + 20mm lens combo. Istiklal Avenue, in the very heart of Istanbul, has always fascinated me. It’s A 3km long, 12-ish m wide pedestrian highway housing cafes, restaurants, bookshops, clothing stores, a mall, a tramway etc. and teeming with people day and night. According to the dedicated Wikipedia entry, “it is visited by nearly 3 million people in a single day over the course of weekends”.
The perfect place to commit street photography…
J’ai écrit Necropolis dans ma période gothico-dépressive estudiantine (on ne rigole pas). Je résidais alors à la cité universitaire Paul Sabatier et m’appliquai à transformer tout ce mal-être en matériel littéraire (je caressais alors sérieusement l’ambition de devenir un jour écrivain). Il faut dire qu’a l’époque internet et les téléphones portables n’étaient pas encore à la portée de tous et que – hors les “soirées loose” pendant lesquelles nous consommions entre mâles des quantités peu raisonnables de bière bon marché – mon réduit de dix mètres carré devenait une aire d’écriture spartiate et relativement productive.
Je suis dans ma chambre. Dix mètres carrés, un peu de lumière. La musique aussi, pour ne pas devenir fou.
L’immeuble comporte une dizaine d’étages. Un rempart de béton surgi du bitume craquelé. Des couloirs étroits et des cloisons fines comme du papier à cigarette.
Qu’a-t-il pu se passer pour que je me retrouve ici ? Pas la moindre idée. Ni le moindre souvenir. Le drame est ici le même pour tous, je crois. Tous des étrangers à nous-mêmes.
Je suis dépressif. Sans doute. C’est du moins la conclusion qui me semble la plus valable. Le corps est sain, mais l’âme est malade. Une maladie récurrente, comme ces fièvres épisodiques qui vous harcèlent avec acharnement.
Allongé sur mon lit, je fixe du regard la lumière crue de l’unique ampoule. Tout ici semble fait pour être incommode et inconfortable. Depuis les douches collectives jusqu’à l’ascétisme spartiate du mobilier.
Ne pas se plaindre, pourtant. Tel est ici le mot d’ordre.
Nous sommes les damnés. Prisonniers de nos remords irréversibles et de nos consciences écornées comme du vieux carton. La fuite est vaine est impossible.
Ce lieu est un enfer très particulier, un enfer intérieur. Ici, la souffrance vient de l’absence de sensations, du vide sentimental et de l’inanité du quotidien.
J’ai mis longtemps à saisir ce qu’était cet “ ici ”. La plupart l’ignorent encore.
“Bam!” wrote this edgy geek friend of mine when introducing the video he shared during Christmas holidays. And “Bam!” it was. Can watch it over and over again… Such a pity I’ve stopped playing videogames a long time ago
How time flies. Randal Monroe published “A Bunch of Rocks” on his website xkcd.com in November 2008, as I was turning… ugh… 33? Yep. A real piece of art on infinity, simulated universes and brain in a vat syndrom. In the following xkcd forum discussion thread, someone posted a link to a related story published on another good-humored super-geekish four consonant website (qntm.org): “I don’t know, Timmy, being God is a big responsibility” is a great piece by Sam Hughes, a prolific sci-fi writer whose works are solely published on his website it seems. The kind of story one wants to share and translating it was one way to do so. Please do not hesitate to comment either about the story itself or its translation. Have a good read
(Cliquez ici pour lire le post complet incluant la traduction)
Alors que les lecteurs de Dpreview sont en train d’élire l’OM-D E-M5 “Appareil photo de l’année” et que se multiplient les témoignages de photographes remplaçant leurs lourds Nikon D700 ou autres appareils photos plein format par la petite merveille d’Olympus, le mensuel “Réponse photo”, un des meilleurs magazines photo actuellement en vente, s’entête à snober le système micro 4/3 et lui refuse la consécration dans son Guide d’achat 2013. (more…)
I love my Pentax camera and equipment to the bits, and I also love my Olympus OM-D E-M5 and collection of m43 lenses. This year, I have taken the habit of using two camera bodies when on assignment, both for practical reasons (less time spent on changing lenses and better reactivity with the proper field-of-view) and also in order to have a spare body available were one to fail or be stolen. On my last two assignments, the Pentax K5 + Sigma 17-50 2.8 and the OM-D E-M5 + Olympus 45mm 1.8 were my dream team. But I cannot really afford maintaining two systems which are, at the end, close enough in philosophy and features: small, inconspicuous, weather resistant bodies, great prime lenses, sensors of not so different sizes characterized by an awesome dynamic range. Besides, two cameras from two different systems means more post-processing and less flexibility in lens-body combinations. So I have decided to keep the smallest system of two and sell all my Pentax equipment in order to get a Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8 zoom lens and a second body. Haven’t made my choice yet for the body. Could be a Lumix G5, a GH3 or a second E-M5.
Fancy like buying some kick-ass photography equipment? Contact me here. The transactions are to be made hand to hand in Toulouse (until mid-January) or in Istanbul. Even if you’re not interested yourself, some of your friends might be and you can help this site and its owner by sharing this add
Right… Delivered the pictures to the publishing house this morning. Checked. Well, not exactly… The .dng files are too big, there are too many of them, too many duplicates and the Adobe Raw Converter version running on the publishing house’s network won’t read the Olympus RAW files converted to .dng during Lightroom import nor take into account the modifications made on the Pentax .dngs (or was it the contrary?). So basically I’ll have to cull 20-30% of the pictures, export them in jpeg format and go there again. Well the more they see me the better it is I guess. (more…)
Here is my translation in French of a text by Charles Warnke. This text slightly differs from the current version on the Though Catalog website. The end is, that is. I don’t know at what point and by whom it was amended but I chose to share and translate this amended version because of the twist it brings at the end. Feel free to comment on the text or its translation
“Sors avec une fille qui ne lit pas. Déniche-là dans un rade sordide dans les tréfonds du Midwest, ou bien sur la piste d’une boîte de nuit branchée, éclairée par les projos au sein des vapeurs de clope et de sueur alcoolisée.
Peu importe. Assure toi bien qu’elle sourit, et que ce sourire persiste sur ses lèvres même quand les gens qui lui adressent la parole arrêtent de la regarder. Aborde-là avec des sujets bateaux puis passe à la drague en utilisant quelques accroches bien senties tout en riant sous cape. Emmène-la dehors, dans la nuit accueillante. Ignore le poids de la fatigue et, parce que tu as vu ça dans dans un film, embrasse-là sous la pluie à la faible lueur d’un réverbère. Note bien à quel point cela ne veut rien dire. Emmène-la chez toi. Ne luis fais pas l’amour. Baise-la.
Saturday evening in Pendor Corner, Beyoglu, Istanbul. Waow, what a concert that was. And the least I can say is that I nearly went there backward. Tired, sleepy, it was like, I’d promised them I’d go and announced on my website I’d take pictures so, oh well, let’s give it a try… So eventually we arrived late, but the gig was late as well. (more…)
As I prepare my portfolio for a prospective gallery in Istanbul and start getting ready for my upcoming photography assignment in Casablanca, it is still is a pleasure to see that part of what has been seeded months ago still grows unattended. You will for sure remember (yeah yeah, I’ll just pretend that some people are actually following this blog!) that the tourism office of Elazığ (East of Turkey) organized in June 2012 a photography trip for foreign photographers to which I participated. As it happens, two of my pictures were selected for the final exhibition (reported here in Turkish) and a further 10 are to be featured in the exhibitions that are to be inaugurated this week-end in Brussels and Lausanne, and on December 1st in Vienna. Hopefully more details to come – I actually would be very interested in going to the Vienna event – meanwhile, here are the 12 pictures that were selected for this traveling exhibition.
“This is the end…” the song goes.
Kraft as we once knew it has closed down for good, it’s outdoor sign taken down and replaced by a new one. Combined together, the harassment of Istanbul Municipality (the smoking ban first, which was ok, then the ban on outside tables, which was plain daft) and carelessness from the ownership have sealed the fate of one of the best dives in Istanbul, where men, women and cats alike once used to sit their lazy arses, some of them quenching their thirst for beer, some others for company of the opposite gender (or not) while the most furred ones would benefit from the free cat-food generously distributed by a loony loner who still haunts the street, like the rest of us, in search of the spirit of Rock’n Roll, decent beer and mind-numbing drunk talk.
Shot during my last staying in France. I was in my godmother’s home. After a day spent in their swimming pool and a copious evening meal, my cousin, her friend and I we were sitting on the terrace and decided to mix beer with syrup. The syrup happened to contain artificial sweetener which, we found out later, caused some weird kind of polymerization in the beer’s foamy head. A beautiful pint it was anyway. I took out my OM-D EM-5 with 45mm 1.8 lens. My cousin’s friend, who was sitting opposite to me, directed a flashlight toward the beer…
I was narrating in a former post, in French unfortunately (or not), how the discovery of Bruce Gilden photography thanks to a very good friend of mine has been an eye-opener (!) for me. Finally, here is this grungy rogue not giving a damn about model release forms and assaulting people with his cameras in order to get the best out of them. Reminds me a bit William Burroughs, as described by another William – Gibson this one, the father of Cyberpunk literature: (more…)
Here is another bit of the 2000+ pictures I’ve shot in Algiers during my latest (and first) trip there. Could not get quite as close as I’m used to, but well, not everywhere is as crowded as Istiqlal Street… These were shot mostly with the E-M5 + 14mm 2.5. These two work pretty well together, although the absence of distance markings on the lens makes zone focusing a kind of wet finger process. (more…)
Merci Renaud pour la référence a Bruce Gilden. Je découvre. Enfin, je connaissais certaines de ses photos bien sur mais… je crois que c’est mon héro du moment. Je suis en train d’écouter l’émission. Ton mail m’est revenu en lisant un post sur la photo de rue… Bruce Gilden, Bruce Gilden… je me suis souvenu de ton mail… et…
Je crois que j’ai beaucoup à explorer la dessus. C’est difficile la photo de rue en Turquie. Et à Alger je t’explique pas. Des flics partout.. j’ai du effacer des photos à leur demande… puis le dernier jour, alors que je photographie en mode furtif, l’appareil autour du cou, le doigt discrètement sur le déclencheur, grand angle bien sur, une main ferme m’agrippe. “Vos papiers s’il-vous-plait!”. Bien sur, pas de problème. Bon, je n’ai pas le profil du terroriste poseur de bombe. Alors pourquoi je filme? Et bien non, je ne filme pas, je prends juste des photos de rue. Ah bon merci… (more…)
In the framework of the Elazig Fotofest organized by the Elazig Tourism Office and the Euphrates development agency, I was invited last July along with four other photographers on a 4-day-tour in and around Elazig. This was one of my first professional experience in which I used a two-camera setting. What I found was the sweetest combo was the Pentax K-5 with a fast normal zoom (Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 HSM) and my (quite) newly acquired OM-D E-M5 with a prime mounted on it – generally the 45mm f/1.8 (35mm equivalent 90mm) so as to cover a wide range of focal distances. But let’s not delve too much on technicalities. (more…)
On 28 April 2011 the Turkish Telecommunication Directorate sent web-hosting companies across the country a blacklist of 138 words that were to be banned from the URLs of Turkish websites. Among words with an obviously sexual meaning could be found everyday words like “Mom”, “Sister-in-law” or, ironically, “forbidden”. According to Internet rule 34, “If it exists, there is a porn of it”. There you go… (more…)
The Sigma 17-50 mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM sits full time on my Pentax K-5. Its range and its constant, fast enough, aperture make it a very versatile tool for indoor or outdoor photography, from wide angle to short tele. The only problem of this lens is that it is not recognized by the K-5 and that, in the absence of complete metadata, the barrel distortion it produces on the wide angle side cannot be automatically corrected by Lightroom. This article describes how to batch process the pictures files and correct their Exif data on OS X thanks to ExifTools and Automator.