Photoessay: cityscape Istanbul

H61C-B0001559 copy

At the macro level, the structure of a city has always seemed much cleaner and more organised than when you get in it – there’s a sort of fractal perfection of the wimmelbild kind where the overall visual density is quite homogenous within all of the areas that can be build upon. It’s as though we seek to fill and exploit every possible space available to us – and in doing so, make something that’s always reminded me of a carpet or a lawn: from a distance, regular, but close up, completely random. I’m sure if we were to take the site of any of the world’s major cities and start again, the result would be extremely different from what we have now (and in some cases, perhaps wouldn’t exist at all – building below sea level, for instance, is probably not a such a good idea in the long run). At a more pragmatic level, we never quite made it to the far side of the strait – next time…MT

This series was shot with a Hasselblad H6D-100c, various lenses and post processed with Photoshop Workflow III.

H61C-B0002198 copy

H61C-B0002172 copy

H61C-B0001667 copy

H61C-B0002355 copy

H61C-B0002291 copy

H61C-B0001708 copy

H61C-B0002345 copy

H61C-B0002341 copy

H61C-B0002179 copy

H61C-B0002192 copy

H61C-B0001561 copy

H61C-B0002186 copy

H61C-B0002366 copy

H61C-B0001540 copy


Ultraprints from this series are available on request here


More info on Hasselblad cameras and lenses can be found here.


Visit the Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including workshop videos, and the individual Email School of Photography. You can also support the site by purchasing from B&H and Amazon – thanks!

We are also on Facebook and there is a curated reader Flickr pool.

Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved


  1. As usual, your photographs are magnificent. Do you remember which lenses you carried? Do you routinely use a tripod for trips such as this.
    I too have some ambivalence about Istanbul.
    tim hyde

  2. So when is the workshop in Istanbul 🙂

  3. Jorge Balarin says:

    Thank you for the excellent photos.

  4. I returned from Istanbul late October and my feeling about it is quite different. The Istanbul I used to love is not there anymore. I wrote a post from the discomfort one can feel there for various reasons, if links are allowed here is the link to my post with different feeling photographs:

    • Fair points. I think without the previous historical context in your case – this was my first visit – I don’t have a point of reference to compare. I do agree in general that places just aren’t the same anymore around the world due to the averaging effects of globalization…

      • There are many factors involved. Suffice it to say that many of the new buildings are empty! And, they are stunningly ugly! Even a friend who is a professor of architecture agrees with that. Thank you for allowing the link to remain, not for traffic but for a different view of the city.

  5. Impressive capture.
    Istanbul is heaven for photography!
    Thanks a lot for sharing Ming!
    John Görten

  6. Spectacular photos!

  7. lovely views of the city

  8. Thank you very much for posting these beautiful photographs. You don’t seem to care too much about a one-third-two thirds rule regarding the horizon height in your compositions. Do you think that rule has some relevance to it at all? Kind regards

    • Thanks. I compose according to the shape of my subject and the arrangement of other elements…institutionalized ‘rules’ don’t make a lot of sense in the creative arts. 🙂

  9. Splendeurs passée, avenir radieux ?
    Telle est la question…
    Beautifull !

  10. Stunning! Makes me want to go out and take some shots again.

  11. Beautifully done as usual. These bring back nice memories.

%d bloggers like this: