February 11, 2011

IMMORTAL CITY

In his novel about his home city, Istanbul, Orhan Pamuk reflects on its melancholy quality. He uses the Turkish word, hüzün, to describe Istanbul’s collective melancholia, which “brings… comfort, softening the view like the condensation on a window when a tea kettle has been spouting steam on a winter’s day”.



But there are very many ways to look at this ancient city, which straddles two continents, has served as the capital of two empires and comprises a stunning array of historical, cultural and architectural artefacts that makes it one of the most enchanting places in the world. And it is the city’s visual brilliance — manifest not only in its old yet beautifully preserved mosques, museums and markets but also in the swanky fashion centres and highrises — that ISTANBUL: CITY OF TWO CONTINENTS (Editions Didier Millet, $30) manages to capture with a fair degree of success.


The book is a collaboration between the architectural photographer, John Cleave, and the celebrated archivist of Istanbul’s myriad treasures, John Freely. Cleave provides the 175-odd illustrations that depict Istanbul’s famous and not-so-famous landmarks from the past and the present. Cleave’s annotated illustrations — which have been stylized in the form of water colours but are, in fact, computerized reproductions of original digital images — reflect the ease with which Istanbul balances its historical legacy with a vibrant modernity.

Read more on The Telegraph India: IMMORTAL CITY

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