Like so many tourists before me who visited the city, I found Istanbul to be a uniquely interesting destination - and a photographer’s paradise. Straddling Europe and Asia with a strategic position along the historic Silk Road, it is the ultimate nexus of east and west. The city has thousands of years of significant history, having been the seat and capital of many empires, and is today one of the largest cities proper in the world. When I visited, I spent days photographing majestic mosque minarets, church spires, and imperial palaces; men and seagulls fishing along the Bosphorus; merchants peddling their wares in giant, covered bazaars that seem to belong to a bygone era; and atmospheric, snow-covered alleyways running between old wooden houses.
Yet 32-year-old Turkish architect Yener Torun has managed to capture a side of Istanbul that I never even dreamt existed. Even long-term residents of Istanbul seem to be astonished by the colourful, modern side of Istanbul’s architecture that Torun has discovered and captured. His abstract, geometric compositions are rooted in reality, but turn the buildings he photographs into works of art. Torun concedes that there are not many buildings like the ones he photographs in Istanbul, so he spends most of his spare time finding them.
I really admire the way in which he turns the search for these rare buildings into something positive and challenging, a bit like a treasure hunt - and the unique and interesting ways in which he shows off the buildings that he finds. It makes me want to visit Istanbul again…and to start looking for the unusual in my own backyard. Who knows: perhaps there’s more to Oxford’s architecture than ancient, honey-coloured stone buildings, cobblestones, dreaming spires and imposing quads.
His minimalist street photography shows the world-famous Turkish city from a new perspective: one that is less traditionally Middle Eastern and more modern, industrial and geometric.