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Istanbul, the city in between

By Francesco D’Alonzo

Between Europe and Asia, between the West and the East, between its cumbersome history and the violent bursting of modernity. This is İstanbul, a city with a thousand faces where Genoese, Venetians, Ottomans, and Greeks met and merged into a huge melting pot of 16 million people. It is the city of churches transformed into mosques, Roman and Byzantine remains, drapes and spices, but also the city of traffic, the local shops and labels and the smell of fried fish.

It takes 3 or 4 days to capture the essence of İstanbul. Who for the first time arrives in this city, is overwhelmed by a unique reality of its kind, made of lights, colors, flavors and odors unrepeatable. Autumn, like spring, is the best time to live it to the fullest. There is no hot summer heat or the harsh winter temperatures. The air is fresh and dry, and there is no overcrowding in the summer months. Istanbul is the urban face of Turkey and is its flagship to show that the country is growing, which is increasingly strong economically; If at the infrastructural level the changes are happening in a sudden way the same can not be affirmed for the standard of living and for the socio-cultural changes.

Istanbul is changing at great speed, it wants to prove to be a lively and a westernized city, but it risks to forget itself. Its millennial history that makes it unique in the world and here, that the focus of my work is on people of Istanbul, on the symbolic and aggregating places, the Mosques, the crowded streets of the city center as opposed to the narrow streets, bad roads in the most genuine part of the city (Fatih, Balat), genuine, authentic neighborhoods where you can breathe the true atmosphere of the old Byzantium, crossroads of millennial civilizations and populations.

It was not easy to shoot, mostly in difficult areas like those of Balat and Fener I visited. They are living quarters, ancient, where the religious feeling is very rooted, you must follow certain styles of behavior and then you do not always allow yourself to be photographed quietly. On the contrary, they are all stolen shots, seize the moment, of a people of a culture different from mine.

All the photos were almost all taken with Fuji X-100T + 23mm f.2 my favorite camera for fast street and reportage. Some, 3 to be exact, were taken with canon 5d Mark III and 85mm f 1.8 ideal for portraits set. Every hour is good to photograph this beautiful city, early in the morning towards the Galata bridge, crossroads of two seas, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn where it is a continuous of boats, people, fishermen.

At lunchtime in the inner alleyways of the old part, in the shadow of a Mosque, sipping an excellent tea; at sunset, walking from Taksim Square to the Bosphorus, cross the Galata Bridge with the warm golden sunset light with a view of the Asian and Western parts, 2 continents in one view. I take several trips to this beautiful city, I would recommend to all photographers or tourists who usually stay there, to avoid visiting only the "tourist part of the city," Blue Mosque, Santa Sofia, Palace Topkaki bazaar of spices. They are fantastic places, but they are losing more and more their culture, originality, in favor of mass tourism.

To fully enjoy the millennial taste of this beautiful metropolis you have to visit the authentic, historical neighborhoods, where everything is still, i.e., Fener, Balat, Uskudar on the Asian side, in these places you will discover the true essence of Istanbul. In these districts, at least the first time, I advise you to be accompanied by someone local, because it is easy to get lost among the thousand busy streets, mosques, roads that rise and fall without directions. There is no precise itinerary within these neighborhoods, you enter and mentally lose yourself among the flavors, the places of worship, the people on the street, being able to eat at every corner real dishes of the Ottoman culture at a very low price.

About Me:

I was born in Pescara on 20 September 1981. i began to photograph at the beginning of the second half of the 2000s, mainly landscapes inspired by love for nature and biodiversity. Over the years 2008-2011, the collaboration with the discorsifotografici.it website has been carried out for the creation of a page devoted to travel photography

and paesaggidrabruzzo.com on the enhancement of Abruzzo's territory.

I began to deepen into photography, and in these years, I attended an advanced Reportage course in Rome at Photographic Offices, winning a special photo contest "Roma in a click" always at the Roman school in the same year. The human factor, investigating urban spaces, geometries, and forms of life within them are fundamental and fundamental themes of photographic evolution. This research brings me to participate in several international exhibitions (exhibition at Blank Wall Gallery in Athens) publications on several international street and black & white photograher magazines (Corridor Elephant, Paris, Apf Magazine Street Photography), entering 2017 within the "Exhibit Around" (Urban and Human Empathy) with exhibitions around Europe.

To date, my photographic research, which is expressed through b/w images, concerns the study of urban spaces and its inhabitants, ranging from street to social reportage.

Click below to see my work:



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