Behind the Wall.

In the last couple of weeks I have finally got inside some of the buildings I have wondered about since moving to Galata. The day after Hellen, Oskar and Pepi left, and feeling a little homesick, I was dawdling with Neve a few minutes from home and peered over a wall to see a little piece of England: a Victorian Church in a leafy garden. There was a bell to ring that didn't get answered, but, after a week of trying, Ville and I walked past to see the gates open. The smell inside the Crimean Memorial Church (designed by George Edmund Street) took me right back to visiting countryside churches on walks with my Dad. A group was preparing to give a concert that evening, so Neve ran around on Victorian tiles covered in Turkish carpets to the sound of the ney. Ville and I also spent a lovely Saturday walking around Karaköy on one of Monica's marvellous tours. I was able to explore the synagogue just around the corner from us, and the Greek school five minutes in the other direction, that was filled with art for the recent Biennial.

I now often find that it is much easier to capture what touches me through photography, than trying to find the words. Like the picture of Neve spreading her arms ready to envelope a moody Anton. Their irritation with each other is thankfully not (quite) as big as their mutual adoration! Or the picture of the man who sits at the Tophane end of our street, perched like a pixie, chain-smoking. I don't know anything about him, wouldn't have any idea how to describe him, but here he is. Everything I know about him is in this picture. So little but quite a lot. Like the picture of Ruskin sat alone waiting for Matti's basketball practice to begin. I love the chance to catch him unobserved, so much his own person. And it's such a pleasure to catch the sun lighting the edges of the little rabble of humanity that I am so proud to call my family. Through photographs I can show how entranced I am by Istanbul in it's melancholy winter coat of rust reds and slate greys, and what a pleasure it is to see my little clan of characters moving through this dramatic backdrop.

Thank you so very much for all the beautiful comments after my last post. It is incredibly strengthening to feel this solidarity. I am surrounded by people of immense generosity, and it makes me very happy indeed. I am determined that I will meet you all face to face one day to thank you for your support on this journey.


My sister's last day in Istanbul.


Synagogue, Karaköy.

Prayer shawls.

Prayer books.


Crimean War Memorial, Galata.

English floor, Turkish carpets.

Christ Church, Galata.

Through the window of the Greek School.


Top floor of the Greek School.




Our building seen from the Greek School roof.




Last Week's Girl.

Tophane times!

Biennial, Greek School.

Art in the Greek School for the Biennial.

At the Biennial.

Strangers at Antrepo 3.

Ruskin :-)

Waiting for Matti's basketball practice.

Beşiktaş basketball club.

While Matti plays basketball.

Waiting for Matti to finish school.

Best book.

T-Shirt Atelier.

So much to see.

The lady in the light.

Anton and Ruskin.

Ruskin and Anton.



Leafy run.

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9 thoughts on “Behind the Wall.

  1. Oh, Julia! These are marvelous like always! What kind of editing process goes into these? Especially the black and whites! They are so full of life even without color. (I know that's a little like asking a chef what kind of stove he has instead of appreciating his food, but from an aspiring photographer to clearly talented photographer, I'm curious.) ;)

  2. Hi Andrea, thank you! I don't mind you asking at all. I have been so struck by how generous the Documenting Delighters are in giving advice to each other. I feel overwhelmed that the most talented photographers of the group are also so generous about sharing skills and would love to follow suit! I learnt so much from looking at other people's photographs really carefully and working out what made them sing. I use Lightroom 4.4 for all editing at the moment. Do you have Lightroom? I find it really intuitive to use. In black and white I love playing about with tone curves and then tweaking. What camera are you using? Tarnya and Rachael gave really good advice about using ISO well. I use all manual settings, and usually manual focus too, and I find that thinking about my ISO every time I change my settings really helps. Using manual settings while chasing small children might seem nuts but I know that every picture I feel proud of was achieved by being in control of everything it is possible to control (though that doesn't feel like much at times!!). I must take about 40 pictures for every one that I even vaguely like though! Sometimes a lot more. Please do feel you can ask me anything and feel free to message me too. You have a great eye and I really loved your first film. I think your writing is also really special. xxx

  3. Anonymous09:00

    I agree with you, you capture so much emotion in your photos. But I just love reading your words too and the little stories behind the photos. Love the one of them hugging, so so sweet.

  4. I love the one of your babies hugging! They do seem like best buddies!! As always, you have a wonderful set of photos. I always enjoy reading and looking through your photos, Julia. You are an inspiration. :-)

  5. Anonymous06:51

    Argh I ADORE these images! So much mood, love love love!

  6. Sigh.... I know you say you are determined to meet 'us' all face-to-face one day, but I'm not sure I want to meet you anymore. I think I might be quite intimidated by your talent. :|
    I could comment about every single image here ( as usual) but I'm going to stick to the two of Neve and Anton embracing. Her little chubby outstretched fingers? Swoon! And then him, reciprocating in spite of himself. Who could resist her really?
    OK, and a quick word just to say how INCREDIBLE your street photography is. So beautifully observed. And shot. and edited.
    Sigh...... again.

  7. Eeeek Tarnya, you made me so giddy with your lovely words. I actually had a conversation with myself last week that went something like 'I would really love to have Tarnya and T to stay, it would be amazing to take our kids and cameras out and about (list of what to do already prepared!). BUT what if photography legend Tarnya Hall casually turned to me and said "so what settings are you using?", wouldn't that be totally INTIMIDATING since Tarnya knows EXACTLY what she is doing. Would I feel all fumbly next to her?' Anyway I decided it wouldn't matter. I might feel fumbly but it would be worth it!! The idea that I would ever intimidate anyone is too hilarious. Thanks also for the compliment about my street photography. I was so determined not to do it but it seems it is happening anyway, I can't resist.

  8. More "wow" from you, Julia! I love it!! I, too, adore the photos of Anton and Neve and the hug. You are an incredible storyteller. I don't understand why you have been avoiding street photography. Clearly you have talent for it that must be embraced. Keep doing what you're doing ;-)

  9. Wonderful photos Julia! You are really going from strength to strength with your photography. I love how moody your images are and how beautifully you capture the textures in your environment. AND you have two gorgeous subjects, both who are always a joy to spot in your photos.
    LOVE that one of Anton looking in the mirror :)


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