Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Reading List…I’m Listening to Istanbul – Ara Güler

I’m so jealous of this shot; from what I saw during my trip it’s something I would still capture today.  Even though it was shot in 1961, there’s a continuity of time in places like Istanbul and Morocco that blurs the line between yesterday and today.

I love visiting new places and discovering new photographers.  Ara Güler is considered Turkey’s most famous; a Magnum photo-journalist since 1959, he has captured the nuances of Istanbul for over 6 decades.  These two images really stood out from his book, I’m listening to Istanbul, which I bought last week while traveling.  I had a hard time finding this on B&N or Amazon, so i’m not sure how easy it will be to get, but if you’re able to it’s definitely worth it.


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  1. Serdane

    December 6, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Those pictures are nice… It reminds me pictures from Eastern Europe….


  2. Alev

    December 6, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    His last name is Güler, not Gülere.

  3. Bohemian Style

    December 6, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Amazing! I really love seeing one of work time and th eother of chat time.

  4. Mine

    December 6, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Hey Scott,
    The name is actually Ara Güler. He gets angry when anybody describes him as a photographer, rather he prefers to be mentioned as a photo-journalist. He traveled the world and captured photos of world-wide political and artistic figures for decades. Nobody captured the essence of Istanbul better than him. Glad that you’ve finally found out about him.

  5. mirandoalsur

    December 6, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Beautiful pictures!!!!

  6. Zen

    December 6, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    wow, these pictures are amazing. I like your blog because I learn so many things

  7. Katerina

    December 6, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I’ve had the B/W photo framed and up in my kitchen since 1998. Love Turkey … even though I’m half-Greek LOL

  8. Bambi

    December 6, 2011 at 3:23 pm

  9. Nyrha

    December 6, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Stunning pics!

  10. fahri

    December 6, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    you´ve been to the cafe named after him?!


  11. Lauren | Eyes/Ears/Mouth+Lens

    December 6, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    The first one is amazing, I love the small bursts of color from his outfit.

  12. marimorena

    December 6, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Thank you very much for showing us a new photographer! Stunning photos!

  13. Habiba. J

    December 6, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    WOW, I love how the young boy is looking into the camera. As for the second photo the men are the story tellers of that era. If you get a chance do check out my blog, I have interesting fashion posts you might love to read.


  14. H

    December 6, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    You can get copies of the books from this site:


    Anyone visiting Istanbul should also check out Ara Cafe, owned by Güler and full of his images. Great place to hang out.

  15. Thy Nefelibata

    December 6, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    These photos make my heart shiver… I suppose it’s the connection I feel to my own homeland… the textures, the colours… and also to my dad and his epoque, his friends, his life… Thanks for sharing, Scott.

  16. vasilieva

    December 6, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    wow, that first shot is stunning


  17. Sarah

    December 6, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    I share your sentiment about these pictures, except that these pictures are amazingly beautiful. Güler had a special eye for context…and no disrespect, but your forte is indeed street fashion, not places or cities.

  18. Très Awesome

    December 6, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    That first photo is breathtaking. Thanks for the introduction to Güler

    Très Awesome – Chicago Street Style

  19. skippysays

    December 6, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Both those photos are absolutely stunning

  20. kitchen afternoon

    December 6, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Reading literature and history while traveling are the best guidebooks!

  21. fatma

    December 6, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Ara Guler is not only Istanbul’s but also Turkey’s most famous photo-journalist..He is also famous for discovering many archeological sites in Turkey before the archeologists.

  22. Martine

    December 6, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    @Sarah, really? I would say that Scott has a great eye for context and composition. His group shots are among the best I have seen. But I think I understand your idea. Scott has a talent for creating beauty that this one does not.

  23. kevin

    December 6, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    i would like to see you capture that image, scott. i would really like to see you go outside your style and do a landscape portrait. i think it would be a good challenge. while you are there you should try it. shoot wide angle opposed to telephoto.

  24. Cindy

    December 6, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    If you can find it, his 1995 book Yitirilmis Renkler (Faded Colors?) is also remarkable. I believe there are a number of large format books of his work.

  25. canvasofculture

    December 6, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    first photo is really beautiful. second is quite the nostalgic photo as well!


  26. Betül

    December 6, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Scott, I’m smitten to see a post about Ara Güler on your blog! He is my favorite Istanbul photographer, he’s rather like a living istanbul ansychlopedia or something!

    I wrote about him here: http://balladofseasons.blogspot.com/2011/08/artist-visited-ara-guler.html

  27. monkeyshines

    December 6, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    beautiful vintage photos!


  28. patrycja2407

    December 6, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Magical photos!:)

  29. Zeynep

    December 6, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    I love his photos! You should visit his cafe, where the old grumpy photographer can often be spotted sitting in the corner. It is called Ara Cafe and is just past the large gates of Galatasaray Lycee on Istiklal Boulevard. There are a handful of his photos hanging on the walls there and you can always find fashionable customers there.

  30. Saku

    December 7, 2011 at 12:56 am

    It’s cool. I love it.

  31. The Foolish Aesthete

    December 7, 2011 at 1:28 am

    These are amazing images. It’s interesting that you went to both Morocco and Turkey — I spent 3 weeks in each country years ago, and came away with so many photographic images in my head!


  32. Sarah

    December 7, 2011 at 2:31 am

    @Martine – Yes, really. I think Scott has a great eye for detail in a single subject, but if you go through all his photos, hardly any of those has any context. The person stands out beautifully, not the place he/she is in. I have dealt with many landscape and city photographers in my life and I know what I am talking about. Scott is no place photographer. An outstanding and brilliant fashion photographer, yes.

  33. Chris

    December 7, 2011 at 5:12 am

    I agree about the timelessness. I love the color combination of the boy is wearing, the silhouettes, layering, the scarf… It is all do perfect. Even the background. It’s a beautiful photo. I would love it on my wall.

  34. Stela Roibás

    December 7, 2011 at 5:14 am

    I love Mr. Guler and how he shoe to the world his own point of view of the great Turkey.
    When I was in Ara Cafe, the own Ara Guler was there for an interview but I was too shy to speak with the great Magnum photographer.
    I bought the book in a bookshop situated in Siravelviler Cd. I am not sure about the street name but it is so close to his café.
    I am sure that you will able to find it!!!

  35. Philippe Philippe

    December 7, 2011 at 6:44 am

  36. Mallika

    December 7, 2011 at 7:05 am

    Ohmygod! AMAZING shot, absolutely love it!

    x Mallika

    PS: I am having a GIVEAWAY to win a dress!


  37. clara

    December 7, 2011 at 7:15 am

    great shots! Thanks for sharing!

  38. nicole

    December 7, 2011 at 7:48 am

    these photos are amazing! I’ve seen an exposition of ara guler and all of his photos were just magical!

    so happy you featured him in a post!


  39. Name*

    December 7, 2011 at 8:35 am

    oh, so beautiful… a working child, what a bliss!


  40. It is all to perfect

    December 7, 2011 at 9:01 am

    oh, a working child… how beautiful!
    a bliss indeed

  41. Name*Holly

    December 7, 2011 at 9:05 am

    You can buy his book with Worldwide free postage from thebookdepository


    While you’re there pick up Scott’s amazing book! x

  42. antique engagement rings

    December 7, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Your photos are wonderful.. i love the first one……and the black and white photo is so lovely!

  43. Joan

    December 7, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Thank U so much for sharing pictures in a part of the world that so many of us cannot travel to. God Bless U and keep the pictures coming!!

  44. Dlight

    December 7, 2011 at 9:34 am

    The first shot is AMAZING. It’s inspiring when someone like you, recognized photographer, still take time to discover and admire others.

    Dlight from Paris
    La Rue A Du Style

  45. Judy

    December 7, 2011 at 9:47 am

    One copy of book available on abebooks.com …… rather pricey but may be worth it ……. ships from Turkey. Abe’s always a great place for used books.

  46. Sally

    December 7, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Each photo leaves me in awe in different ways, thanks for picking these to share and thanks for tip on the book! Will have to do some research…


  47. Danforth

    December 7, 2011 at 12:56 pm


    “It is called Ara Cafe and is just past the large gates of Galatasaray Lycee on Istiklal Boulevard.” Who knew? I have to return to beautiful Istanbul just to make this pilgrimage. Any reason will do, believe me. I miss the city.

    Scott: May I recommend this book: Istanbul: Memories and the City by Orhan Pamuk, Turkey’s best know writer. It contains many photographs by Ara Güler as well as by the author himself. It is a loving evocation of Istanbul. May I also recommend a visit to Eyup at the tip of the Golden Horn. The square with the fountain framed by the minarets of the historic mosque there is one of the most charming locales I have ever seen.

  48. Pelin

    December 7, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    I am so proud to see your posts about Istanbul. So happy that you and Garance are showing the beautiful and stylish sides of Istanbul. So different than the images we see in the news around the world. If you can arrange, please visit other parts of my beautiful country.. The harmony we have among various ethnics and cultures is amazing. We are cool in style, yet warm in heart.


    Here is Ara Guler’s website:

  49. Name*

    December 7, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    you only post things that are positive about yourself, eh?

  50. Alex

    December 7, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    I found it interesting that he is of Armenian descent.
    Probably not something that is advertised openly in Turkey.

  51. haapi

    December 8, 2011 at 4:37 am

    You may (or may not) already know his work, but there is a photographer named Bruno Barbey who was born in Morocco and I believe he studied in Switzerland, who has taken the most breathtaking, timeless shots of Morocco (generally in the medinas) that I have ever seen. He has also been working on a project in Istanbul — not sure where he’s gone with that, but I highly recommend that you check out his work on two of my favorite countries in the world.

  52. enhanced diamonds

    December 8, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Just wonderful…… your site is a learning experience!

  53. ana.delaserna

    December 8, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I love his work. He has take the most astonishing photos of Istanbul. I’m a documentary photographer . You can see my photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/ I’d love to know what you think about them. Cheers!

  54. Junea

    December 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I bought an Ara Guler s book when I went to Istambul. Fantastic!

  55. mario

    December 8, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    the boy’s shot is one of your best ones ever…!,through it you can BE there, feel the chilly wind on your face, bathed in those timeless light and atmosphere…
    thanks a lot for gifting us with this marvelous daydream!!!!,

  56. Sibel

    December 9, 2011 at 1:08 am

    You can order Ara Guler’s Books at Amazon!

    @Alex: Just let you know, Ara Guler is Turkish and he is well-respected and well-known artist in Turkey among many other Turkish artists who are from different ethnicities.


  57. tammy

    December 9, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    i love that you said you were jealous of a shot… i’ve thought that on a few occasions about a photo, but I never heard anyone else say it. :)

  58. Billie

    December 13, 2011 at 6:03 am

    Ok! Istanbul has to be my next destination! And it’s only a 1-hour flight! Lucky me ha?

  59. Ariel

    December 15, 2011 at 12:46 am

    I think there’s this double meaning to saying “there’s a continuity of time in places like Istanbul and Morocco” – implying that this is an ‘authentic’ place set in time and unchanging is a way of highlighting its otherness and denying it the ability to change attributed to ‘modern’ societies. it’s romanticizing and trapping a culture in the past. Even if I take issue with how you phrased your post, that is a beautiful photo.

  60. Emine

    December 23, 2011 at 3:29 am

    stunning photos and your words about then are amazing, thank you!!!

  61. ...

    December 24, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks for introducing us to this photographer. The name Ara is Armenian, and upon verification, it seems the photographer is of Armenian origin. Interesting fact, given the history of that region.

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    May 9, 2013 at 11:30 am

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  66. Marrakech Desert Tours

    August 7, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Yes it’s a great picture , and istanbul is the famous city in Turkey .I’m from morocco and i love turkey did you know some thing about morocco desert tours follow me on my webiste to know more about my country

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