Extract

Beauty and the East

Landmarks of Van

  • The citadel of Hoşap Kale

Istanbul in high summer is sweltering. The locals may find relief in the cooling breeze that blows off the Boshporus, but for some of us it’s not enough. So my partner, the Japanise artist Ai Kijima, and I decided to pack our bags last summer and head east. We wanted to be in the mountains and near water, so we chose the smallish city of Van. We rented an apartment with a view of the lake and the citadel, and settled in there, keen to explore beyond the obvious beauty.

My work as a fine art photographer has taken me far beyond the borders of Turkey. I have done projects in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon and just across the Black Sea in the contested region of Abkhazia, always preparing my research well in advance. For this trip, however, we made our arrangements at the last minute, and were happy to wait to see where chance or curiosity might lead us. Then, on our second day in Van, I found inspiration in the writing of TA Sinclair, a scholar who spared no effort in searching out historic sites in eastern Turkey and in describing them in meticulous detail.

The text fascinated me, but I was surprised that very few photographic images accompanied the author’s descriptions. So now I had a direction. I would journey as far as possible in the footsteps of Sinclair, to make my own photographic essay based on his travels. The images from this project reflect what I like to think of as a tacit collaboration between me as a photographer and TA Sinclair as a writer and scholar on his voyage of discovery 30 years before me.

‘Eastern Turkey: An Architectural and Archaeological Survey’ (4 vols) by TA Sinclair, £225 per volume; Kindle edition £60 per volume.

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Issue 54, June 2016 Dive into Summer
£12.00 / $16.77 / 68.57 TL
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Buy the issue
Issue 54, June 2016 Dive into Summer
£12.00 / $16.77 / 68.57 TL