Istanbul had a captivating effect on me when I first visited in the early part of 2008. The city was in the midst of a revitalisation and there was an air of optimism on the busy, frosty streets. This feeling was exaggerated by the sunshine and bright skies we experienced, as the snow melted and people ventured outside as the winter eased. The ancient city that cradles East and West enamoured my best friend and I. We spent a few months in various parts of Europe, but there was something about Istanbul that stood out.
After seven years, I returned to Turkey in the summer of 2014 with a different perspective, having witnessed from afar, the civilian uprisings against the government, including the Gezi Park protests. There was a visible political shift under President Erdoğan. During those several months in Turkey talking to locals and expats who had lived there for years, it became clear that the city was slowly changing; struggling between cosmopolitan liberalism and increasing religious conservatism. I witnessed many competing aspects of Istanbul’s inner turmoil: from wandering through conservative, Ottoman-era neighbourhoods with Turkish flags and Erdoğan’s face visible on every corner, to late night boozy parties spilling onto the streets through Cihangir in central Beyoğlu.
“These photographs are a dedication to the resilient residents and ever-changing streets of one of the world’s oldest cities, in a period of considerable flux.”
There is a profound quality I discovered on the streets of Istanbul; evidence of history at every turn. While the city is hurriedly changing—with widespread construction taking place as gentrification changes the face of many historic, Constantinople-era neighbourhoods—the pivotal element that keeps Istanbul buzzing is the people. In recent years, many expats have fled, yet others stay and continue to live in this vibrant but tender city. These photographs are a dedication to the resilient residents and ever-changing streets of one of the world’s oldest cities, in a period of considerable flux.
In Issue No. 1 we meet Australian fashion icon Jenny Kee, translator from Italian Ann Goldstein and French-Cuban music duo Ibeyi. We learn about Ramadan, the Aboriginal ball game Marngrook, the Kiribati dance, the art of pickling, and the importance of home. And we see what it’s like to dress up in Myanmar, live in Cuernavaca, make ceramics from different soil, and walk the streets of Florence.
In Issue No. 2 we meet New York-based Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, NASA astronaut Stephanie Wilson, and Croatian painter Stipe Nobilo. We discover how the French protect their language and the way women—all around the world—have used textiles as their political voice. We listen to lovers rock, prepare a boisterous Korean barbecue, venture to go to Feria de Jerez and eat our way around Hong Kong.
In Issue No. 4 we meet Nigerian-born artist Toyin Ojih Odutola, Indigenous Australian Elders Uncle Bob Smith and Aunty Caroline Bradshaw, and Palestinian-American chef and artist Amanny Ahmad. We peer inside the Parisian ateliers Lesage and Lemarié, muse over the iconic lines of European chair design and celebrate the colourful woodblock prints of Japanese artist Awazu Kiyoshi. And we venture along Morocco’s Honey Highway, get lost in the markets of Oaxaca and discover the favours of Ghana.
In Issue No. 5 we travel to the mountains with Etel Adnan, along coastlines wherever waves roll in, and then all over the world through the photographic archive of Lindsay James Stanger. We celebrate hair braiding in South Africa, Salasacan weaving techniques in Ecuador, Vedic jewellery traditions and the new sound of Ukraine. We meet artist Cassi Namoda, choreographer Yang Liping and lace-maker Mark Klauber. And we visit a bakery in Tel Aviv, discover the joys of making arak, and spend a summer stretching mozzarella in Italy.