All posts filed under: Istanbul

Istiklal Caddesi, Istanbul

My heart to the victims, their friends and family as well as the people of Istanbul and Turkey after today’s suicide bombing on Istiklal Caddesi, Europe’s busiest street, a major pedestrian thoroughfare aligned with shops and restaurants that cuts through the heart of the Beyoglu district from Taksim Square to the ferry boat terminals of Karaköy. There are more bombings and senseless deaths today in the world than the imagination could have dreamt possible at the close of the last century. Often they occur far from home, but every day it seems they dream up new ways to manage to bring it ever closer to home, wherever home is. Some of us have seen our cities struck, our friends hurt, killed, maimed or disappeared into the abyss of wars and attacks of the age of terror. For me, Istiklal is close to home because it was home. Images from my archive of Istiklal in better times showcase the avenue as at the center of political, social and economic life in Istanbul:

Etem Erol, 1955-2016

The last message I had from Etem hoca was just a few days before he passed away. I had a night layover in Istanbul on my way to Odessa for two months and I asked if he wanted to join some friends for dinner, so naturally I invited Etem, as I had not been back to the city I called home for two years in over a year. He wrote to say he regretted he could not make it that he was leaving early that same morning for Bulgaria with his brother. It was in Bulgaria, I came to learn just a few nights ago from a classmate and fellow student in his Elementary Turkish I class so many years ago, that he had a heart attack and died in his brother’s arms. He was so young, 60, and with so much life and so much still to give. I write this with tears streaming down my face and it’s been more than a day now since I heard this really excruciatingly painful news. It …


12 days of Christmas, 12 months in the year, 12 days to go until the new year, 12 prints to put under the tree and then on a wall… Through the New Year, I am offering a dozen of my favorite images culled from the last three years of my “best of” annual blog posts showcasing my favorite images from the year. All prints are signed. Sale is on from now until January 1, 2016. My way of saying thank you for supporting my work and hope you will continue to! You can choose from the following prints: “Baku Billionaire Ibrahim Ibrahimov at Breakfast” Location: Baku, Azerbaijan “Creation Museum” Location: Petersburg, Kentucky, USA “Never Forget September 11 and Budweiser” Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA “Foreign Domestic Workers, Cyprus” Location: Nicosia, Cyprus “Gezi Park Protests Popcorn Vendor” Location: Istanbul, Turkey “Offshore Oil Platform Sails Into the Caspian” Location: Baku, Azerbaijan “An Avar Woman in the Cornfield” Location: Danaci, Azerbaijan “An Avar Family on a Motorcycle and Sidecar” Location: Danaci, Azerbaijan “Avar Schoolchildren on the First Day …

Open Society Foundations Voices Blog: After a Long Haul, Refugees Settle Into New Lives Far from Home

Voices | Q + A After a Long Haul, Refugees Settle Into New Lives Far from Home October 16, 2015 Antonia Zafieri American photographer Amanda Rivkin has been photographing refugees as they transit from Syria to Europe. Recently, she posted several of these photos to the Open Society Instagram feed. Here, she talks about her experience documenting the refugees’ stories, and what she’s observed of their attempts to settle into new lives far from their original homes. Why did you pursue this story? I pursued the story of the recent exodus to Europe from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere for no reason other than it was there. I lived in Turkey for two years and never covered refugees as an issue per se, although refugees were everywhere in Istanbul at the time. Some were also my friends. If there was a crack between two buildings, it was as if you could find three Syrian families living there. But I think there is so much of this biblical, dramatic imagery that we forget that Syria—emptying out …

The Phoblographer ISO 400: Amanda Rivkin Talks About Photojournalism Internationally

“In this episode of ISO 400, we hear from Amanda Rivkin, an American photojournalist currently based in Chicago who has a wealth of international experience, having worked in places like Azerbaijan, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Turkey. She’s been published in a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times, Le Monde and Newsweek among others. She has a deep understanding of storytelling and an eye for subtlety that you don’t often find in news photographs.” View Julius‘ blog post and watch the video on The Phoblographer.

Best of 2013: My Year in Pictures

This was my first full year based in Istanbul, Turkey, a city I have long dreamed of calling home since I was a student of Ottoman history in college. While my Turkish could still stand to see some improvement, I have begun to get a foothold in a complex region and see many of the corners of Eastern Europe I previously had not. In February, my work photographing the Khazar Islands, a $100 billion fantasy real estate project of Azerbaijani oligarch Ibrahim Ibrahimov, appeared in The New York Times Magazine. Later in the year, it would be republished again in Mare magazine in Germany. While shot in the summer of 2012, I have chosen to start the year in pictures with some of my favorite images from this shoot, due to my desire to continue photographing the Khazar Islands and the initial publication of this work in the early part of this year. In January, I took a road trip through the American deep south to explore “post-racial America” and the tensions that exist beneath …

2013 Poynter Fellowship at Yale University

A few months back, I was notified that I was named the recipient of a Poynter Fellowship at Yale University to give a talk this fall on my work photographing “Protests, Pipelines + Women” in Turkey and Azerbaijan at Yale University. I will be joined by economics professor Tolga Koker. The talk is sponsored by the University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. The date is now set for October 1, 2013 at 4pm in Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Avenue, Yale University. The talk is free and open to the public. More information is available on the Yale University website. Yale Daily News article, “Photojournalist Discusses Travels, Gender“.

Gifts from the Land of Awesome: The Piano Man in Taksim Square

Every respectable protest has its moment when it stops being something ordinary, predictable but rises to meet the occasion of something greater than itself. That night was last night in Taksim Square for the now 15-day old protests over the destruction of Gezi Park adjacent to Taksim Square have expanded into a much larger call for the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s resignation. That’s because Klavier Kunst, aka Davide Martello, from Italy (or the Land of Awesome) currently residing in Germany, arrived with his piano and played for the crowds of protesters as well as the riot police, the moment captured here.

Le Parisien Magazine: Mehmet Ali Agca, the Man Who Tried to Kill Pope John Paul II

On March 6, I was summoned to a far outer district of Istanbul, Büyükçekmece, to meet a most famous man who had very famously inserted himself into 20th century history when he tried and failed to kill Pope John Paul II. It was a crime for which he eventually spent 19 years in a Rome jail, learning Italian, and eventually walking free from only to declare, “I am Jesus Christ.” He now claims Ayatollah Khomeini put him up to the doomed assassination plot that has alleged ties to Bulgarian intelligence and a web of international Cold War intrigue. I was fascinated the minute I set foot in the hotel, the Eser Premium, a fairly gaudy Turkish honeymoon palace complete with balconies that had a laser light that continuously changed from various shades of neon red, purple, green and blue. Out of nowhere, just when the reporter Anne-Cécile Julliet appeared, so did he, right behind me, startling me with his small frame, delicate head and protruding eyes. He was very kind and perhaps rather medicated. He …

2012 A Year of Transition

2012 was luckily not like 2011, a year that goes down with 1789, 1848, 1917, 1989 as a year of revolution.  By contrast, 2012 was a year of transition in most every respect.  Global technologies, movements, ideas, and politics are all in flux; only the economies of the world remain sluggish, with some notable exceptions.  Turkey is one of these exceptions.  By 2023, the centennial of the modern secular Turkish Republic, the currently ruling Justice and Development Party, AK Party according to its Turkish acronym, hopes that Turkey will be counted among the top 10 economies in the world. (A great BBC Global Business report on what could go wrong is well worth a listen.) After finishing my Fulbright grant in Azerbaijan, photographing Azerbaijani Women, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Eurovision Song Contest, I moved to Istanbul in September to freelance here in Turkey and the region. I joined the VII Mentor Program where I am working with Ron Haviv on improving my craft for the duration of two years. In this time, I …