Nişantaşı: Images

Today I joined my photo group on a trek through the streets of Nişantaşı. Once upon a time, Ottoman soldiers used the area for target practice, thus the name which means “aiming stone.” Now, Nişantaşı is known for its high-end shopping and living quarters.

While it is true that the area boasts Istanbul’s most expensive street, Abdi İpekçi Avenue, and a stunning display of designer goods, Nişantaşı is not just a pretty face. Beyond the shimmering windows displaying the latest pricey trends, lies the heart of the area. This is the multitude of side streets and alleys that criss-cross through Nişantaşı, pumping it with life. In addition to the shops, restaurants, cafes and clubs, there are people just going about their lives.

It was my first outing with the photo group, the first intended meeting being the “Hurt Locker-like” incident that ended in my companion and I exiting the area quickly, ignorant that the rest of the group was just a floor below us, in the thick of the kick-off meeting festivities.

Which means that I didn’t have a chance to prepare my semi-professional photographer comrades about my situation.

So you can imagine the scene when we all gathered in front of the Nişantaşı Starbuck’s and people started pulling out their foot-long lenses and 5-pound cameras that required neck straps the width of a luggage belt from which to suspend them…

…and I pull out my tiny, playing-card-sized, fully automated, strapless and add-on-lens-less camera.

Oh, the shame.

Truth be told, once upon a time we did have a large, fancy camera that I am sure could have been capable of great photography feats if we had had any clue about how to use it.

Unfortunately, we did not, and the camera did not survive the move.

Luckily, my comrades are very nice people who really aren’t too concerned about the type of camera that others carry. They were too busy adding or adjusting knobs and lenses, squatting down and tilting their bodies, aiming for that perfect shot.

(Adjusting my built-in zoom with just a flip of my wrist lacked the professional flair I would have enjoyed…and it seemed a bit excessive to bend down and squat or angle myself just so with only my toy-sized camera in hand.)

But, despite the limitations of my trusty but not near-professional camera, I had a great time taking photos of the area. I love photographing people, but generally I am shy to do that…too shy to ask permission and too respectful to just steal an image from someone’s life (at least if they are aware…give me a 400m zoom lens, and I am sure I would snap away).

However, walking through the streets with other people snapping shots here, there and everywhere, of inanimate and animate things, I worked up the nerve to ask strangers for pictures. And, you know what? They were happy to comply!

So, here are a few images that I and my little camera captured of lovely Nişantaşı and some of the things going on there yesterday…

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