Istanbul From Fener

Istanbul (Turkey). Some years ago – it was end of 2011 – I was walking around the districts of Fener and Balat, along the upper west side of the Golden Horn. It was an unexpected warm afternoon, considering it was December, and walking up and down around this very typical part of Istanbul was extremely pleasant. While I was descending from the old mosque of Mirimah Sultan to the sea, my attention was captured by this landscape, which I found perfectly representing the daily life of Istanbul. Even though light was decreasing rapidly, I could capture the image without any tripod or support, and I decided that this view of Istanbul from Fener was one of my favorite photographs ever…

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The Floor at Agora Meyhanesi 1890 Restaurant (Fatih, Istanbul)

Istanbul (Turkey). I’m posting an old photo that I found in my archive and captured almost two years ago. I was in a typical fish restaurant in Istanbul (for food lovers, the name is Agora Meyhanesi 1890 and it’s in Fatih, in the Fener district along the Golden Horn) and I noticed this floor during my dinner. I found the sense of “orderly chaos” behind this design very intriguing, and for this reason I took this photo (although there was very few light, but this is just a technical aspect).

Photographing Around Me is also this (as I clearly write in the Manifesto): posting old photos only because one day they come back to my mind. The fact that this floor has ccome back to my mind just because I’m going to refurbish home well, this is an irrelevant detail!

Istanbul. Posto una vecchia foto che ho ritrovato nel mio archivio e che ho scattato quasi due anni fa. Avevo notato questo pavimento durante una cena in un caratteristico ristorante di pesce a Istanbul (per gli amanti del buon cibo, si chiama Agora Meyhanesi 1890 e si trova a Fatih, nel quartiere di Fener lungo il Corno d’Oro). Ho trovato il senso di “caos ordinato” dietro questo disegno molto intrigante, e per questo avevo catturato questa immagine (nonostante ci fosse pochissima luce, ma questo è un dettaglio tecnico).

Photographing Around Me è anche questo (come scrivo chiaramente nel mio Manifesto): postare foto vecchie di anni, solo perché un bel giorno mi tornano in mente… il fatto poi che questo pavimento mi sia tornato in mente perchè sto iniziando a ristrutturare casa, beh questo è un dettaglio irrilevante.

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The Ramadan Drummer

Istanbul (Turkey). Tomorrow, June 18th, is the first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan (called Ramazan in Turkey). Every night, all around Turkey’s cities – from large ones to villages – a Ramadan drummer (its name should be “Mesaharaty”) will walk around the streets to wake people up before the Sahur (or Suhoor), the meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before fasting.

I still remember the first time I was woken up by the passage of a Ramadan drummer: at that time I was on holiday in Goreme (Cappadocia) and initially I thought the drum beats were coming from a local party. Only the day after I learned about this tradition: one night I was moved by curiosity and I decided to look for – and to meet – a real drummer.

I went to Balat, one of the most conservative (and beautiful) district of Fatih, in Istanbul. I had to wait more or less till 3 am before listening to the first beats of a drum, and I was really excited to take part to that event in such a close and thorough way. The drummer was so determined and committed with his task, that he was not at all disturbed about my presence, and I was free to stay few meters behind him. When he saw my camera and understood my intentions, he even invited me to follow him: we walked together through the narrow and old streets that go up and down all around Fener and Balat, and when we were crossing other drummers doing the same, I had the feeling that “mine” was looking proud of my presence. It was a great experience, both photographically and under the human point of view – although a bit challenging for the low light conditions. I took hundreds of photographs in less than half an hour, but I selected this one posted here – which I decided to develop in black and white – as the most representative of a great experience: my special night with a Ramadan drummer.

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