ISTANBUL di Elisabetta Ziliotto
Testo di presentazione della mostra
Andrea Caravello, Andrea Marani, Antonio Fenio, Carlo Varotto, Davide De Pieri, Liana Bortolozzo, Michele Salmaso, Nicola Compagno, Rita Rossi, Roberto Mazzetto
A dream as vast as a continent, as vast as a language, thousands of centuries long: long as a bridge of souls. A dream springing from ancient memory, an apparition which has often changed names, voluntarily or when forced by fate: Constantinople, Byzantium, Istanbul! The fabulous, mythical Istanbul, with its noise, its frenetic activity, its deceits and duplicities perennially ready to ambush you; a seaport sometimes reminiscent of Genoa’s severity, sometimes of Venice’s chatter, sometimes of Naples’ feistiness; but ultimately, simply, purely Turkish.
City of a thousand facets: complex, hostile, open, international and provincial; full of mysteries that attract like magnets, and dark, forbidding recesses, as if our eyes did not want or could not manage to capture all its strange energy. Ineffable.
For every traveller arriving, its impact is different. One cannot narrate the city of Istanbul in a single day, in a single novel; it is not shut up in a single dream, but present in many different stories, as written by each one of us.
This book reflects as much. It includes numerous photographs, numerous narrations and personal stories, for it is in multiplicity that Istanbul reveals itself to each of us. The snapshots are grouped and described in temporal succession: from our welcoming by seagulls, to our good-bye, as the sea birds accompany us on our return. The images reflect a variety of fully personal experiences, a variety of feelings which, even before finding expression through the camera lens, have been shaped by the mind: differing snapshots, just as the photographers differ, and the subjects, the moments captured. Strong, clear images alternate with others resembling paintings. The sensuality of the color photographs follows upon the starkly pure expression of black-and-white.
Only in this way has it been possible to narrate—authentically—the actions, sensations and impressions produced by a city exploding with pure creative energy, where images have the power to inspire the observer’s fantasy so deeply as to immerge him or her in the city’s daily life, leading the visitor to become, if only for a moment, part of its dynamic populace.
These young photographers have succeeded in capturing the essence of Istanbul: not only as a shining example of the sought-after meeting among civilizations, so sadly absent in today’s world; but also in its daily life, perennially tied to a past which it so spectacularly displays: immortal architectural delights, such as Hagia Sophia, standing for more than a thousand years of history; the Blue Mosque, the Soleiman Mosque, and the Cistern, that immense underground reservoir sustained by columns imported from all over Europe, make their appearance alongside snapshots recording fleeting moments in the Grand Bazaar, on the Golden Horn, and at Sultanahmet, the oldest quarter of the city. Here, despite what some say about the rigidity of its people, a Greek may work alongside an Armenian craftsman; an ethnic Turkish businessman may do business with a Jew. These photographs prove that it is culture, and the fusion of various identities, which have given ancient Byzantium its timeless spirit.