I was once a very shy person. Like every other photographer, I started off shooting animals and concrete stuff. People were a bit too complicated and difficult for me to approach. So I concentrated on nature, the environment and buildings where I discovered technical aspects of the camera. However my dream was always to shoot social life and humans. When I took the camera to my hands for the first time, I realized that I needed to get closer to people. Over time I have become much more comfortable doing this. Nowadays when I approach people I do it with a smile on my face which makes them feel much more comfortable.
I learned all of these lessons by shooting on the streets for about 7 years. Sure I still make mistakes, but I still like it. After all, sometimes you hesitate because you feel it isn’t the right time to take the photo. However there are still times where I don’t capture the decisive moment. I remind myself to take it easy. If I capture one special moment every year I am happy.
I do most of my shooting in Istanbul which is incredibly fun for me. Istanbul is a growing city with a very high population, so there are many different kinds of people in the city. This gives me a variety of people to shoot and the flexibility to see things a bit differently.
I always look for the details when I am out shooting. All of the pictures I take are unstaged, and I prefer to shoot them in color because it allows me to see happiness, irony, and maybe even humor. I dont shoot any images that put people in bad situations.
It is rare that I get negative responses from my subjects, as the way I approach my subjects is slow and I try to keep my feet planted as much as I can. I once had a scary moment in which I was shooting street vendors selling clothing near some ancient walls. I suddenly saw 3 male glue sniffers in their late 20’s. One approached me from behind and opened my bag. I turned around immediately and he gestured for me to give him my camera which was hanging on my neck. Not only that, but he showed a large military-sized knife. At that moment I tried to get away from that situation as I could. Frankly it was a very scary experience for myself.
However besides that situation Istanbul is a fantastic city to shoot. I love the people, the colors, and the society around myself. I highly recommend anybody out there to travel and shoot some street photography here!
Street Photography in Istanbul by Ilker Gurer
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