Having once owned a home in Turkey I was privileged to have visited the country many times over a ten year period.
This as you would expect also meant I got to make friends with some of the locals and those who worked in the area during the busy summer months.
Hedo was someone I always knew would be in the same place on the beach with the same big smile selling tourists water sports.
Today sees the sale of our home in Turkey finalised which to be honest leaves me slightly sad.We bought the property close to Bodrum around 8 years ago as an investment and, as a result, made many friends in the area and my many trips created many happy memories (and images) but it’s simply run its course and it’s time to move on.
Most of the images I create tend to be fairly wide vistas with people (life) within them.
Occasionally however I come across someone who demands to be captured very simply up close with minimal fuss as with this gentleman.
It was while in Turkey that I came across this charasmatic chap attending toilets and just had to capture him.
As with all these type of shots I seek out open shade to provide flattering even light and drop everything but the eyes from focus.
In my opinion what you leave out an image is as important as what you choose to show…the simpler the better.
Some images I create can be quite complex, in some cases consisting many many dozens of individual files to create the final picture. Even when this is the case I’m still always looking for the final image to look simple and uncluttered as possible.
With some images however we are lucky that everything unfolds itself on a plate for you as in this image shot on a boat off the Turkish coast.
This chap (note the facial hair) and a member of the crew decided to dress in a Bellydancing outfit and give everyone an impressive show from the back of the boat.
I was drawn to the gorgeous colour of the headdress and the beautiful diffused light softened by the boats canopy which sheilded the harsh unflattering summer sun and wrapped him in a glow of white.
To simplify things further I chose to drop everything out of focus except his rather striking eyes to create the final image below.
This wonderful smile belonged to a man I stumbled upon in the intence summer heat of Side (pronounced Ceday) in Turkey.
I was in Side in 2001 for my honeymoon but of course if you are a location photographer then honeymoon or not the camera gear has to come along !
It was mid afternoon and still exremely hot when we went for a walk and I remember seeing a crowd of people ahead on the shaded road.As we approached it soon came apparent that a crowd had gathered to quench their thrist with fresh orange juice this guy was selling from his mobile cart.
I have to say I dont think I have ever seen a man with such striking blue eyes that seemed to compliment his shirt perfectly.Then there was his amazing smile and almost perfect white teeth which in a country where so many men smoke is probably not a common site.
After buying some juice I gestured if I may take his picture and he happily without stopping his work obliged with a smile.
This image would have been a disater if not for the open shade of the trees which although cast a slight green but correctable cast on him softened the harsh summer light enough to avoid distracting contrasy light to take attention away from his wonderful expression.
This was also the days before digital at least for me so there where no checking histograms or image previews I had to rely on knowing my films characteristics (contrast range,latitude etc) and my experience metering and interpreting the readings…phew what a lot we had to contend with !
This image was captured during one of my many trips to Turkey.
I set out just after dawn to walk along the beach to explore and capture anything that took my fancy in the glourious if not a little harsh morning light.
I had only walked for less than 5 minutes when I noticed this gentleman who I later discovered was called Asur sat smoking a cigarette enjoying the beautiful morning over Gumbet bay.
After a few nods to each other I decided to approach him to ask if I may take his picture.
He spoke no english and my limited Turkish was not any good but we got by and I positioned him with an iconic Gulet in the background.
He must have enjoyed his 5 mins of fame as he insisted I take more images of him on the balcony of the hotel beach bar he worked for !
I returned a year later with some prints but never saw him again.
If it’s possible for an image of somebody to somehow define you then this is the image I’d choose.
This is an old print of my Dad with his Leica camera around his neck,shot I in Ephesus Turkey while on a cruise of the Aegean during the early 1970’s.
This image is a draw for me for a couple of reasons. My Dad loved photography and always had camera gear around the house while I was growing up and this without doubt aided my early interest.
Another passion I inherited was his love of ancient Greece & Turkey and all it’s history & myths.It’s this that sent me travelling around Greece during my teens armed with his “borrowed” camera gear that acted as the catalyst to taking up photography as a career 26 years ago.
So when I look at this age stained old print it kind of sums me up, in fact all that’s really missing from this scene would be a Vespa or Lambretta parked up and a kid kicking a football and it would define me almost perfectly.