Photographs, Memories, Monuments and Movements: Black and White Istanbul in the Work of Orhan Pamuk and Ara Güler

  • Ayşe Erek Kadir Has University
  • Esra Almas


Combining images and words when relating to a city has a long history; in Istanbul’s case, it has its roots in the Orientalist tradition and in the great journeys to the “East.” For the Istanbul of the twenty-first century, the most renowned combination of photography and literature is Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul: Memories and the City (2003), a portrait of the writer as a young artist accompanied with black-and-white photographs of Istanbul. Pamuk’s use of the photographs of Ara Güler draws from the tradition of travel writing and autobiography, documenting both the lost city and, conversely, endowing the melancholy of the narrative with a reality effect that is difficult to trace in writing. This paper discusses Pamuk’s use of photography in the memoir to address how his work supplies a heterogeneous archive of memories which both preserves and transforms the entangled pasts and presents of the city.


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