The Portrait of Turkey

Nikos Economopoulos

Every time I return to Turkey it is like a homecoming, like touching base. Turkey for me has that sense of familiarity which gives you the strength to go on, to go further. It is probably due to the people’s attitudes, or the familiar and beloved places of my memory, the smells, the minute details of everyday life which have been thoroughly interlaced with my own photographic path over the last three decades.

It was with great pleasure that I accepted the Zaman invitation to photograph in Turkey once again, freely, here and there, without a schedule or a specific purpose, without the usual limitations of an assignment, just for the pleasure of the photographic contact with the people of a country that is so dear to me. So I drove from Istanbul all along the Black Sea, and along the borderline with Georgia, Armenia and Iran, through Anatolia and Cappadocia, and then back to Istanbul, for approximately 5000 miles. I revisited places that had meant so much to me in the past, experienced once again the simplicity and the pace of life in the countryside, and remembered my first photographic impressions and emotions in those remote areas.

Many things have changed in Turkey since my first visit, and I always observe closely and with great enthusiasm the progress that is being made. Yet what touches me the most is how a society can experience change and transition without losing its human face and its values, and that’s what I always try to capture through my lens.