Guidebooks, histories, biographies, novels...any good books having to do with Turkey and things Turkish.
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This is a collection of black-and-white photographs of daily life in Istanbul, taken between the 1950s and the 1980s by Turkey's foremost photographer. Though I am not interested in photography per se I keep coming back to these views because they are so well composed. Everywhere in his native city was of potential interest to Güler. He takes his camera to some familiar locations (İstiklal Caddesi, the Galata Bridge, Eminönü) but he also ventures down cobbled back streets and into dingy courtyards. He was clearly fascinated by people at work and at play. In the older photos, there is a lot of heavy manual labour going on, of a kind that seems to have disappeared now. By recording the last years of the famous Istanbul hamallar (porters) and other lost trades, subjects that don't seem to have held much interest for official photographers (keen to present a modernising image?) Güler performs an important task of social history, it seems to me. The earlier photgraphs were taken when Orhan Pamuk, who wrote the foreword to this book, was a boy; indeed, some of these views appear in Pamuk's own "Istanbul - Memories of a City". Owing to lack of space, that work does not do them justice, but Güler's book puts things right. ISBN 978-0-500-54386-3 (in the UK).