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Think of Turkish architecture and you might conjure images of ornate Ottoman art covering the walls of mosques from floor to ceiling. But take a stroll through any of the more modern, industrial communities in Istanbul, and you’ll encounter a world of buildings with distinct geometric features highlighted by bold colorful walls. Architect and photographer Yener Torun moved to the city 14 years ago, and has been sharing his fascination with its color-blocked exteriors via Instagram. His wildly popular and colorful photos infuse the city’s architectural landscape with a delightful whimsy and sense of humor. Torun spoke to In Sight recently about his playful, minimalist approach to changing the way we envision Istanbul’s architecture.
In Sight: How long you have been living in Istanbul, and what was the initial catalyst for starting such a colorful documentation of architecture?
Torun: I’m a 32 year old architect living in Istanbul for 14 years. Usually, Istanbul has been portrayed one-dimensionally in photography. If you think of the Istanbul images you have seen before–grand mosques, old streets, markets, fishermen, seagulls over the Bosphorus–you realize this. It is a vast city and what you have seen in Istanbul photos is stereotyped; only one side of the city. Yes Istanbul is ancient and mystical, but it’s also a developing, modern city. My primary motive was to document a different, less-known part of Istanbul to escape from the one dimensional and orientalist perception. And I started looking for strong lines, vibrant colors and geometric patterns. I believe, increasing the variety of aspects provides a better understanding of the city, both for the viewers and me. ….