Robin Sinha: Transcontinental Serendipity, Part 1

For me, street photography is a continuous, personal exploration. In the past I have underestimated its difficulty and required discipline. In practice it became immediately evident that a good image takes time and effort. Of course, very occasionally, a gift from the gods presents itself right in front of you. If only the gods were more generous!

With a photography project delayed and out of my control, I made the decision to go street shooting with my new found time. My first thoughts were to roam the streets of London. Then I looked out of the window, admired the drizzle, and thought otherwise. I decided to play the odds in my favour and head to a city with fairer climes. I had wanted to visit Istanbul for a long time. Attracted by its fused cultures and rich history, I predicted this would bode well for image making.

Istanbul did not disappoint. Aside from covering many miles, uphill and downhill, I ended up stumbling across a group of friends in a derelict building just a stone’s throw from my hotel. Although they spoke no English, and I no Turkish, we somehow managed to communicate. I was accepted into their circle of friends for the few days I was there. This in itself became a mini project. Each day I would turn up with my camera, and each day I was greeted with bemused smiles.

Before meeting my new friends, I would generally select an area on the map in the morning, and then head there for exploration. I had no real idea what I was looking for. I felt the pressure of finding images and grew frustrated when nothing would materialise. In fact I barely took an image during the first two days of my trip. I gradually realised that I just needed to relax. The first two days had not been a waste. I had found my bearings and I was starting to understand everyday life in Istanbul. I quickly realised that I didn’t always need to walk mile after mile. The neighbourhood I was staying in was image-rich if I was just prepared to look and be patient.

The images presented here explore the normal, everyday, split-second occurrences of a culturally rich, cosmopolitan city. They portray people interacting with their environment, and often unknowingly becoming a component of a more complex scene.

The city’s vibrant colours are represented throughout, echoing its spirited people and their joie de vivre. Graphical, diagonal elements are framed to reference steep gradients that characterise a city bridging two continents.

Subtle reminders such as a medieval tower in the background, or steps that lead to one of the city’s many mosques, are left to contextualise and draw in the viewer.

All images were shot using the Leica M and 35 mm f/1.4.

- Robin Sinha

Robin’s work has been published in various publications including Black+White Photography, Dazed and Confused and Port Magazine. He is the Leica Akademie Instructor at Leica Akademie Mayfair. Connect with Robin on his website.