True Colors: Photographer Captures Urban Spectrum of Modern Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey, conjures to mind far-off days of Constantinople and historic works of architecture, from stone masonry homes ot ornate mosques, but there is a colorful variety to the city’s more modern buildings, too, as captured in this photo series.

An architect and photographer, Yener Torun photographs elements of the city’s past, but focuses mostly on more contemporary structures with minimalist forms, modern geometries, and above all: rich rainbows of color.

One could get the wrong impression looking at his work, because indeed it takes work at times to find the most vibrant examples.“I dig every corner of the city to unearth these colorful gems,” he explains. “Finding these places in this gray mass is quite like a treasure hunt.”

“My primary motive was to document a different, less-known part of Istanbul to escape from the one dimensional and orientalist perception…I believe increasing the variety of aspects provides a better understanding of the city, both for the viewers and me. Even long-term residents can’t believe these pictures were taken in the city they live in.”

So in some ways, he surfaces lesser-seen sides of the city. Together, his photos paint a picture, or create a collage, of a very selective sort, but then again: what architectural photographers really do otherwise? Near San Francisco, the colorful hilltop houses of Daly City often become stand-ins for local vernacular, even if they only show one side.