I slip in and out of the chaos of this city dressed in black. Always dressed in black. The cats, they relax into it. I pass them posed as sphinxes on almost every street. They remain still in the chaotic flow as if they know something I don’t.
And then there is the constant smoking… The anxiety of this city is exhaled in clouds of smoke that pass from the lips of men and women. I can’t seem to escape it. I just keep moving and try to avoid it politely.
I spend whatever time I have walking the city. I can walk for hours. It’s the way that I internalize the topography and map it in my mind. This is most important to me now as I slowly learn the vocabulary and the grammar of this city. Before I can write and speak this city I must know its ways so I take note of as much as I can. I slip into the chaos and observe. I allow it to move me.
But this city is not always chaotic. There are times when I have it all to myself like in the early mornings exploring Eminönü. In the mornings all those bustling market streets are close to empty and I can admire the architecture that the everyday chaotic trade obscures.
I also enjoy seeing the men sitting and sipping their glass of çay and reading their newspapers, smoking. Some prepare their shops for the day ahead. Soap suds spilling out from the doorways. Windows being washed, tables laid out, packages of goods unpacked. Most not even aware that I am there, photographing and trying to see everything before the crowds come and steal the view. I peer into open doorways and see secret courtyards beyond arches.
Today, Eminönü is one of the busiest neighborhoods of Istanbul – attracting up to 2 million people a day with its historic sites and bazaars.