Old Man and His Dreams
This photograph was taken in a coffee house in a small town located on the slopes of Taurus mountains that strecthes along the southern Turkey. Coffee houses are very common in Turkey. They are usually places where old and retired men go and sit all day long without any sense of time or care in the world drinking Turkish coffee or black tea and smoking cigarettes. Inside, they are usually covered with a thick smoke cloud and smell of black tea brew that fills your lungs the moment you step in.
So during our trip with a group of photographer friends, we stopped by this village for a short break and were welcomed by the people sitting in that coffee house. As we sat down to rest for a few minutes, we had the opportunity to have conversation with some of the local people. The guy in the photograph told me that he lived in that town all his life. He is a farmer and has land and some farm animals which earns him his family's living. Also, he seemed quite proud while telling me that he has a daughter attending a university in a city on the south of Turkey. Somewhere in the conversation, I grabbed my camera to take a few photos of him. When he saw my camera, he said if I was going to photograph him, I have to photograph while he is smoking.
In 2009, I was staying in a hotel nearby a small rural town on the south of Turkey. During my stay, I saw those kids everyday playing streetball on that empty and unused parking lot around an old basketball hoop that somebody put together for them. As far as I could understand, they were at school age, but none of them seemed to go to school. I was seeing them outside playing all day long. And after their game was over, the mother of the child with the wheelchair would come and take him back home. That was their routine. Seeing children just enjoying their time together regardless of the differences between them was something that is hard to see with people today.
This is from the workshop of a clay artists in Tarsus, Turkey who spent all his life making such clay figures to sell to giftshops in order to feed his family, and he's one of the last ones in town still doing this job. While I was there for a few hours to take photographs back in 2008, he told me quite a bit about how his craft has become almost extinct due to the industrialization and the mass production of such products, which causes the giftshops to buy from the factories for much cheaper. He said that he learned his craft from his father and he always wanted his son, who was 6 years old at the time, fo follow his footsteps and do the same job, but he doesn’t believe it is possible anymore. He said he is not even sure how much longer he will be able to do this before the shops stop ordering from him completely.
Fisherman on The Galata Bridge
The Galata Bridge is the favourite spot of fishers in Istanbul. Hundreds of fishermen go to the bridge everyday and spend quite a long time casting their hooks and waiting for fish to bite the bait. The atmosphere is as authentic and arabesque as it could ever get. The sun setting behind the hills of Istanbul revealing the ancient and historical silhoutte of the city, the sound of Ezan coming from a nearby mosque and drowning all the other sounds around, the dark reflections of the minarets and buildings on the water, and of course, the stray cats waiting at a distance for fishermen to put the fish into tank and turn their back, so that they can make a quick move and grab fish and then get away. The whole scene looks quite picturesque.
In the photograph, a fisherman is finishing his day, and emptying the water in the tank so that he could pack and go home.
I came across this shoemaker while walking around in an old bazaar in Tarsus, Turkey. He seemed quite involved in what he was doing. I took a few shots and then left. He had a small shop located in one those narrow streets that you would find in old bazaars. The light was coming through a worn out sun shade that was covering the bazaar and casting deep shadows behind him like sweeping away the details of his old little place, and reminding him that urbanization was about to take his shop from him.
The Blind Man and His House
This is Huseyin, a blind man who spends his days sitting by the door of his house where he has lived for most of his life. He says he usually sits there for a good amount of time everyday listening to the sounds of the city from that old and narrow street where his house is located at. The leaves of the plants and trees are all over his property and I asked him how he managed to get so many of them grow so much. He said the city wanted to demolish his house to open way for a road construction about 25 years ago. But according to the laws of the time, parks and gardens were protected from demolition by law. So he immediately planted as many trees and plants as he could before the city officials could attempt to take his house from him. They grew big in a short time and covered all his house including the roof, walls and around windows leaving his property within the confinements of his park/garden, therefore, making it illegal to demolish his house. It was quite an astonishing sight. The leaves looked as if they were holding onto the house tightly to prevent it from going away. Sadly, he will never be able to see the trees and leaves that saved him and his house, nevertheless, he was very grateful to nature for saving him when he most needed it.