A visual memoir: Istanbul. Part 1.

Istanbul is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world but sadly, spoken about nowadays for all the wrong reasons. But why must we always only highlight the obvious and revel in the resultant negativity; instead I choose to celebrate the unparalleled beauty and immense character of this incredible city and its people. As someone wise once told me, “We must never forget that beyond the passing dark clouds, there is always a constant and infinite clear blue sky”.

Coming to Photography, which I believe is ‘the’ most honest custodian of memories. Every single day, our eyes are privy to innumerable instances that have the potential to translate into iconic imagery. In the earlier parts of the 20th century, one of the great masters of candid photography, Frenchman Henri Cartier-Bresson, walked the streets armed with his Leica, approvingly citing the notion of the ‘inevitability of a decisive moment’. It is my core belief too, that Art indeed does exist everywhere, and candid photography is perhaps the most honest way to interpret it. I have also realised, over time, that whilst my Fine Art Photography offers me the supreme opportunity to be a storyteller; it also demands patience and time, to be woven together into incredible shows (sometimes years!). I had to therefore find a medium that would allow me to satiate my chronic desire to seize the spontaneity of the moment… for my own pleasure, as also to, perhaps, celebrate all that exists around us.

Enter Phoneography. Simply explained, Phoneography (still not officially listed in the dictionary) is the magical ability bestowed upon 21st century individuals to take and edit pictures on the smartphone itself; in the spur of the moment, without any form of extensive planning. Some say that this could well be akin to sounding the death knell for photography itself, a notion I don’t agree with. All that has really changed is the number of photographers… individuals who have suddenly discovered the ease of taking pictures sans the burden of heavy equipment. It is my firm belief, that with this new breed of teeming enthusiasts, Photography is only going to throw up even more quality, simply because it never was only about equipment or technology in the first place, it was and always will be about content, composition and an eye to see what others miss! For me personally, Phoneography is the answer to my stubborn restlessness and joyously, it allows me the added luxury of poetically indulging in pure Visual Nirvana!

Finally, I felt that it would be a pity to not share these moments with some who might appreciate this journey, an intent that gently coaxed me into building a very special bridge between Tech & Touch: THE LITTLE BOOK OF MEMORIES, a personal memoir and visual journal of Cities that are special to me, and of some that have simply managed to stir the creative spirit within.

Ansel Adam’s words, “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer” gleefully echo my intrinsic intent as a visual artist.

The book series begins with this edition, the first of several I promise, and is based on images made with my smartphone in one of my favorite cities in the world, Istanbul.

Here’s a sampler of some of the images that you can find in the book and of the book itself. I hope you enjoy them…would love feedback!

Copyright: JJ Valaya/ All rights reserved. All images are the sole property of JJ Valaya. No part of this post/publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval systems, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of JJ Valaya. This applies to all acts of use, in particular such as the reproduction of pictures and text, their performance and demonstration, translation, filming, microfilming, broadcasting, storage and processing in electronic media.

(PS* If you wish to add this book to your personal collection, please reach me at valayajj@gmail.com and i’ll give you the details on how to take it forward)


2 thoughts on “A visual memoir: Istanbul. Part 1.

  1. Teeny Walleh Khullar says:

    Hey JJ, Very interesting Blog indeed. And those are some lovely pictures, hard to imagine they have been taken on a phone. You obviously have many talents – maybe yet to be explored. All the best with Phoneography. Cheers.


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