Street Photography in Istanbul: Loryne’s Lens

Istanbul – how do I begin to describe the love-hate relationship I have with this city? As a city of contrasts, it’s almost expected that one’s own emotions towards the city would also be that of contrasts.

Following 10 days of intensive photojournalism (for a workshop) there last year on the Asian side of this metropolis, I got fully endrenched and exposed to both the beauty and ugliness, the conservatism and the rebellion, the welcomes and the rejections, but most of all I was on a mission to get to know the true side of Istanbul – the one the touristic guides leave out.

I left the city that year disenchanted, not knowing if I would return (or want to return) again in the near future. However, something keeps bringing me back (and the open visa between Turkey and Lebanon certainly helps). Having most recently visited Istanbul with my beloved BSP group felt like re-visiting an old friend you’d had a clash with. Would there still be tension? Could the friendship still be saved after some time apart?

Letting by-gones be by-gones, the charm of this city in the end won me over – like it has many others before me. After four days in Istanbul, I left wanting to spend more time in the bohemian area around the Galata tower, exploring the friendly vegetable markets on the Asian side, serenading through the tucked-away art galleries blossoming at Tunel square and finding the perfect spot that serves an Iskender plate that’s nearly as good as the one I’d had in Mersin earlier that year.

You can get to know a whole other dimension of a city when you’re there as a street photographer. You’re not quite a tourist, but through your camera, you get to know the city’s people, insight into their lives and habits, and if you’re lucky, capture genuine emotions that reveal so much more. For a few days, you’re on a photographic mission to learn, discover and find what makes this city “tick”.

I’m very proud of all the powerful shots our group captured while in Istanbul, with each photographer finding their own niche within this city and representing it through their unique lens. If we achieved this much in only four days, what does the future international photo-trip hold for us? I can only begin to imagine..


The following photographs where taken in the Laleli area of Istanbul (on the European side), a commercial fashion distribution center where mannequins and humans live side-by-side, taking on a life of their own..

"The outside world" By Loryne Atoui

"Who wore it best?" by Loryne Atoui

"No! to mannequin (and child) abuse" by Loryne Atoui

"What do you want to wear?" by Loryne Atoui

"Beauty remains" by Loryne Atoui


9 responses to “Street Photography in Istanbul: Loryne’s Lens

  1. Hi Loryn

    I love your paragraph and the photos – especially “Beauty Remains” so meaningful

    Impressive the idea of friendship with a City: “Could the friendship still be saved after some time apart?”

  2. Thanks Imad – glad you enjoyed the post and the photos.. This trip renewed my love for this city, so I guess we can say that the friendship in the end was saved 🙂

  3. Amazing… we were both there at the same time, but you captured a whole different side of this wondrous city than I experienced. Great work, and beautiful shots, you really are a talented street photographer. Keep it up! 🙂

    P.S. Glad to know that you were able to reconcile after all. 😉

    • Thanks Johnny – I guess visiting a city twice really brings to focus what to photograph and an added insight. Glad you were with us for the trip, though I’m sure it must have been interesting for you to keep up with 13 crazy street photographers lol!

      • LoL… keeping up with you guys wasn’t the hard part, it was a walk in the park. Now trying to keep up with trying to make sure none of the “photographees” didn’t lose their nerve and go off on an “Istanbully-Kebapic” rage; there lied the challenge. 😛

        I say next trip we up the ante a little and make it 20 street photographers, let me see if I can keep up with that. 🙂

        All joking aside though, it was definitely an enriching experience, especially now that I’m getting to re-experience it time and time again with each one of BSP’s many lenses. 😉

        P.S. I second the fact that Arek should submit his photos too, I wanna see “Istanbul through Arek’s Lens”.

    • Thanks Arek – really appreciate your comment and glad you enjoyed my post. The trip was truly an unforgettable experience. Send me some of your photos for Istanbul through Arek’s lens 🙂

  4. Hey! I just foud your blog and loved your photography. I’m going to Istanbul in October and would LOVE to also visit Beirut. Take a look at my page, you might like some photography?

  5. I’ve been following BSP’s page for some time now and wanted give you a shout out from Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic work 🙂

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