Assignment 1-Two Sides of the Story

Assignment 1 (Images are at the bottom of this post)

Two Sides of the Story

Living in Istanbul, Turkey, a densely urban concrete jungle, the mere mention  of nature unlandscaped will draw people from all around with picnic baskets in hand. Or it will draw land developers.  Many of the housing developments in the suburbs promise via sparkly persuasive billboards a green oasis and an escape from the city. Having been here for almost two decades, I am always very skeptical.  In a city with 14 million residents, nature in its pure form is a rarity. I happen to live in the suburbs in one of the ‘green spots’ so I chuckle when I see a new ad for the promise of the rolling hills of Antatolia.  I also happen to be from a rural area, so my idea of nature is quite different than what the land developers promise year after year as they build building after building.

Therefore I tried to show both sides of the story. There are green areas in Istanbul but they tend to be small, yet they do exist.  The ‘clean’ side portrays the campus where I live as a green utopia in comparison to the not so far away city life.  Maybe at one time this area was quiet and untouched, but urban encroachment has this oasis surrounded by traffic, both vehicle and air, and with annual construction to make way for more people, the area inside the gates are not safe from garbage and careless human intervention.  Also, there is a gate around the property that has a prison like feel to it.  So there is noise, light, and garbage pollution on an almost constant basis.

In fact, to live here for so long, and being a nature lover, I have had to in my own mind see only one side of the story. I walk this property each evening  and it is the images that I have captured that I use to restore myself after a long day.  The other unsightly parts I try my best to ignore.

For two weeks I had my ‘photograph eyes’ on when I walked and I essentially took all of the photographs in my head before I actually took my camera with me.  I was more mindful of the things I enjoy each day as well as the sights that I try my best to ignore.  I also focused on the juxtapositioning of certain things like the calm, clean part of the stream and then the polluted and dirty part. Or the peaceful paths and the close proximity of a very busy road just off the trekking path.

In fact, my entire existence is like this in Turkey.  This is a country of sharp contrasts in many senses of the word so I feel myself always editing what I see as it is one of the ways I cope with the part of me that longs to be in a city with less people, traffic, pollution, etc.


Demonstration of technical skills

I feel I am competent in this category. I know that I have a lot to learn, but I think I have a sense of composition and how to use the camera to get shot right. I think in this assignment my observational skills were apt as I feel I portrayed two different sides of the story and this took some time to capture the different images that portrayed nature and then images with a very clear human intervention.  

Quality of Outcome

The concept for this assignment was simple and straightforward and I think I met the assessment criteria to a good degree and produced two sets of images that conjure a different feel from each other. I think the contrast is clearly seen. This is only the first assignment, so in the next one I plan to include more research as I usually do. However, I did research for the coursework and my thoughts can be found on my learning log.

Demonstration of creativity

I often feel like I fall short in this category. I think this photo project has an interesting subject matter, but I don’t feel it is terribly creative.However, since I photographed an area of land that I have seen daily for the past 15 years, I think I still managed to extrapolate some interesting images.


If one hasn’t been to Istanbul to know the way that natural areas are treated and looked upon both from the civil and political point of view, it is not as easy to get what I am trying to do with this assignment, but I think most people have seen images of over-populated areas so I think the context  I have provided gives enough to see that the city has grown around this once rural part of land.

The Images

Unspoiled Nature:


Nature Interrupted:


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