How did you get into street photography?
I wasn’t into photography, but I always had a camera. I was due an update and going through camera reviews, I was being pulled towards a mirrorless system. The term ”Street Photography” kept being mentioned in connection with mirrorless cameras. I then started to look into this ”Street Photography’. It was a real ”Eureka” moment for me, as I then realized that I had always been appreciative of street photography but had never known it as an actual thing. Now, I can’t stop!
Your profile says you are from Inverness but currently in Istanbul. What can you tell us about photography in Istanbul? What are the pros and cons?
That’s right, I have been in Istanbul for around 15 years now, I’m settled here with a family, and it’s a very nice place to be. Istanbul is a real magnet for street photography and I would imagine it’s up there towards the top of most peoples list of places to photograph, so I feel really lucky to be based here. The standard of Turkish street photography is really high, and I enjoy looking at Turkish photographers work for inspiration. Istanbul is a safe city to photograph in, and locals are used to seeing photographers/being photographed. I have not had a problem on the streets. Taking normal precautions and keeping your wits about you should keep you safe.
Pros: Stunning backdrops, a wide variety of old and modern, engaging & interesting locals, If someone was visiting, the main tourist area is not far from some great areas for street photography. Some quick research (or a look at my photo map on Flickr) will show you some good spots for street photography.
Cons: The height of summer can be hot and humid, so carting around loads of gear should be avoided (glad I went for the mirrorless camera). There are no other cons for street photography in Istanbul, it’s a great place to try out!
I love this image:
I love the perspective/angle of the scene. How did you capture this image? For you, what story does it tell?
First of all, thank you very much! It’s one of my favorite images also. I have to confess that when I took this image, it didn’t stand out. I was on a walk with a Turkish photographer friend, and when I took the image I just moved onto the next one without the feeling that I had taken a good image. I remember the woman coming out from a near by street (about 4 meters away), I just walked towards her and took the image with my camera still around my neck. I didn’t have time to compose the shot, it was surprise seeing the lady coming towards me and was caught out. I think because it was so rushed at the time, I didn’t think about it until I went to download my images from my card.
The area in which the image was taken is an old area, that traditionally housed jews, and Bulgarian and Greek Christians and is nowadays a conservative Muslim area (perhaps an over simplification), and is a great area for street photography. Fatih, Fener and Balat are the areas close to each other in lots of my street photography.
I like how you use contrast and reflections in your images. Do you specifically look for these conditions when you head out to shoot?
No, I don’t specifically look out for these conditions. I use whatever’s available. Being new to street photography (less than 2 years), I’m still experimenting and practicing new things. I look at other photographers images and try and draw out some inspiration to use in my own images. Istanbul is a good city for contrast images. Clear bright days give lots of nice long shadows. If I see a reflective surface, I might wait for a few minutes to see if anyone interesting passes. If not, it’s on to the next street.
What has street photography taught you?
Like many people that take up street photography, I now see images wherever I am. And if I see a situation that would make a good image and I don’t have my camera, it really get’s me! If someone is new to photography I would say that shooting street photography, in manual mode, will speed up your learning of photography. There’s so many variables, which mean your camera needs to be set up to catch the moment. Bright to dull, crowded to empty, fast to slow, composition, framing, the list goes on. Street photography really is a steep and enjoyable learning curve.
See more of Norman’s work on his Flicker photostream.