ADP Photography | Photographing local history: Ottoman Houses, Eskisehir

Photographing local history: Ottoman Houses, Eskisehir

August 05, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Firstly, if you're not Turkish, you probably don't know where Eskişehir is.  So...in short, it's a city in northwestern Turkey, to the left of Ankara as you look at the map!  It's not a touristic city for international travellers perhaps, but it is a nice city with some pleasant areas and parks.  A population of over 700,000.  

The city of Eskişehir is near my home and in the city is quite a large area of Ottoman style houses, here's a link.  Odunpazari is the name, it should be an 'i' without a dot on the end...but my blog editor is refusing to accept that character!  Some are smaller homes, others, larger mansions.  Most of them date from the 18th century I believe and many have been, or are in the process of being, restored.  They’re wonderful examples of typical architecture in Turkey around that time, similar buildings can be found across the country.

When you don’t get the opportunity to travel to lots of destinations regularly for the stunning sweeping landscape shot, think about what’s on your doorstep.  All cities, towns and villages have something old, something special and that, in itself, can lend interest to a photograph.  Especially if you have taken it before and you are now looking to try and capture something new.  That can be difficult, but it challenges you to get creative.  Think about light, weather, seasons, and the way that the locals interact with it.  Including people in the scene can show attitudes to it and give extra meaning, though I have mentioned before about my difficulties with ‘street’ photography, my attempts here in Istanbul.

Winding through the Past f/5, 1/400, 59mm, ISO100

I’ve found that the best time to visit these houses is early morning.  Definitely not mid afternoon on a weekend when the day trippers are visiting.  Although hoards of people can write extra stories about the location in your image, the masses would be too difficult for me to work in.  A few locals wandering around the streets would be preferable.

Who's Walking Who - composite - f/5.6, 1/320, 85mm, ISO800

Ok, so these guys may not be the locals you were thinking of but there was something comic in the way that the larger dog (a street dog) tried to lead the smaller pet dog...only for the pet dog to take charge.  To me, at least, there seemed to be some kind of metaphor of husband and wife.  Honestly, I messed up the settings trying to capture these two and shot at an ISO that was far too high, but the images are worth including just for the comedic value.

Shooting at such an early hour, the low sun can also give some different and lesser seen views and colour.  Most tourists wouldn’t see it in such light, even locals, busy about their daily life, may not notice it or, at least, not take particular note of it. 

Lane of Memories f/16, 1/100, 15mm, ISO100

I said above about my issues with ‘street’ photography.  The invasive process of capturing someone’s life, my reluctance to ask if I can take them, or to just capture them unawares, mean that I don’t often include people.  But it’s still possible to capture human interaction with the area.  Look for human effects that have been left or added.  It could be the carelessness of dropped litter, (a common problem here in Turkey even when there is an empty rubbish bin 1 metre away), feel free to pick up the litter too, (have some gloves with you).  It could be flowers planted.  A box, a delivery of milk or post...anything.  Here the bicycle adds the normalcy of every day life, despite the old surroundings.

Cycle of Time f/6.3, 1/60, 24mm, ISO100

Have a look at the history around you and try to find new ways to capture it.  See what you can include to tell stories.  It can give the shots a new flavour.

What history do you have new you?  Have you got any shots that tell a story?  Share them! I’ll comment and reply!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photo.


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