Eyes Wide Open to Istanbul

photographer Cemal Emden
written by Nafiz Aksehirlioglu


At the cost of making a generalization across disciplines and thoughts that may seem unfair to many, this essay begins by proposing that contemporary artistic thought on Istanbul is still perched on an essentially Romantic framework. Framing the full spectrum of artistic affects that are delved out for this city is an essential admiration, a troubled yet unceasing love for it. 


Turkish art circles’ formal aesthetic relationship to the city, ranging from the literary to the photographic variety reeks of a discourse of ur-love that contains an excess of itself. Many a time, those who establish an artistic concern for the city seem like a lover who says way too many “I love you”s or “You are beautiful”s to the object of his desire resulting in the emasculation of the very love he is trying to profess.