Istanbul: A Photo Essay

Istanbul: A Photo Essay

Istanbul: A Photo Essay

Last month I spent the better part of a week in the incredible city of Istanbul, Turkey. I was caught off guard at what a lively city it is – the people are passionate above all else. They’re proud of their history and they have an active and vested interest in their future. It’s plainly obvious that this ancient city is as alive today as it ever was. Visiting Istanbul is a fascinating look at a history and culture that’s still evolving.

Pictures from Istanbul

Istanbul is photogenic and that’s an understatement. The light always seems to be good and there’s no end to things to take pictures of. For the first time ever, I brought four cameras – three film and one digital (I carried just one or two at a time). I came back a very happy photographer. I’ve already shared my film shots from Istanbul, so I thought’d I’d take you through a virtual photo tour of the city as seen by me and my digicam.


Blue Mosque BW

Blue Mosque Black and White


Istanbul Blue Hour

Istanbul Blue Hour as seen from Galata Tower


Istanbul from Galata Tower

Istanbul from Galata Tower


Blue Mosque

I couldn’t get enough of shooting the Blue Mosque


Blue Mosque Under a Red Sky

Blue Mosque Under a Red Sky


Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque – same morning


Blue Mosque

Okay, last one of the Blue Mosque, I swear!


Istanbul Skyline

Lonely Planet says Istanbul’s skyline is “stupendous” and I’d have to agree


Dramatic Light Istanbul

Dramatic Light in Istanbul


Trees and Towers Istanbul

Trees and Towers before sunrise


Bird in Istanbul

A bird takes flight


Women in Istanbul

Women in Istanbul


Istanbul on film

Okay – it’s a film picture but I just had to include it here for comparison’s sake! Shot on Ektar 100.


Istanbul is a modern, busy, chaotic city

Istanbul comes complete with all the problems inherent to a city of it’s size. Crowds and lines were everywhere which is challenging for an open spaces lover like me. On more than one occasion I had to revert to my Indian travel coping mechanism: seek a quiet area, gather myself, and recharge before taking on the next series of bustling crowds. But by the end of the short trip I actually began to welcome the crowds because I started to view it as an experience in and of itself.

I’m normally not a huge fan of portrait or people photography of any kind. In fact I prefer my pictures to be entirely devoid of people, instead favoring landscapes and architecture. This is nearly impossible in Istanbul unless you’re willing to wake up at ungodly hours of the morning (which I did). But during the day I resigned myself to shooting pictures with people in them, and I came away pleased with the results. Perhaps I’ll do more with people travel photos in the future.

What do you think of these pictures? Have you been to Istanbul?

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Comments ( 11 )

  • Naomi

    Love love LOVE that shot of the three women. You caught the light perfectly. I’m writing a post about Istanbul right now as well and reliving all the memories – such a crazy, beautiful city!!

  • Stef

    Hi! I had the same problem 2 weeks ago, I couldn’t get enough taking photos of the Blue Mosque…it’s such a beautiful building!

  • Olga

    Istanbul on your pics is much more beautiful than in reality.

    • Ed Graham

      Thanks Olga, that’s very flattering. I’ve always tried to focus on beauty in my photography but I think my next trip will focus more on realism, and include more of the gritty reality of daily life.

  • Abner

    Hi Ed,

    Great shots. I went to Istanbul myself in November 2012, and it really is as fantastic as your photographs depict it to be. There is a strange sort of beauty in all the madness you experience – and I couldn’t agree more with one of your initial lines about how photogenic the city is. You really can take photos of almost anything there and be sure that at least half of your photos will come out well!
    This is a great blog too!

  • charlene kahn

    Loved, loved, loved your commentary and photos of Istanbul. Yes, it’s one of the most photogenic cities anywhere. Wish the current government would realize and protect the historically significant architecture. I spent part of a very hot summer 2012 in that city and will never forget the impact of Aya Sofya. Your photos brought it all back. Thank you.

  • Osman AKTUNA

    you’ ve been in Istanbul and you find out mosque ,spice and covered 3 woman!!! little same i guess…

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