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Sefa Inci Suvak / Suleman Taufiq (eds.)
320  pages, 130 illustrations
24,5 x 30  cm, hardcover
ISBN 978-3-9818128-0-0. German / Turkish / English
EUR (D) 53,00 / CHF 72,00
October 2017. edition esefeld & traub, Stuttgart

New in the series of city portrait books by the edition esefeld & traub:

Sefa Inci Suvak / Suleman Taufiq (eds.)

BENIMIST (My Istanbul)

Even a short walk in Istanbul can be a journey full of changes through two and a half thousand years of time. Here, in the dizzying dynamic cosmopolitan city between the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus, and Marmara Sea, countless historical, social, and cultural strata blend. They comprise the Istanbul of the present, which is the subject and starting point of the city portrait book BENIMIST (My Istanbul) by the edition esefeld & traub.

The volume was edited by Sefa Inci Suvak and Suleman Taufiq and supported by the German-Turkish Forum DTF, and is the seventh in the series of city portrait books on international cities after New York, Moscow, Tokyo, Aleppo, São Paulo, and Cairo. The focus is on black-and-white photographs by the artist Cana Yılmaz and the color photographs by the photographer İskender Muhlis Kenter. They show the traditional and everyday life, but also hyper-urbanity and modern urban landscape. Fifty-six authors have been inspired by these photographs to tell a personal story about themselves. Each one tells in a very special way about his or her Istanbul and some of the authors included are Oya Baydar, Nedim Gürsel, Ömer Zülfü Livaneli, Cem and Nihal Özdemir, Edzard Reuter, Joachim Sartorius, Fazıl Say, and Feridun Zaimoğlu.

Istanbul still offers protection and a home to a wide variety of people and is constantly being reshaped by them. The fact that Istanbul gave shelter to the Jews and that Armenians and Greeks lived here is well-known. In recent years, more than half a million people have come from Syria. Istanbul has also been a refuge for people who could not stand the rest of Turkey, for those who needed freedom – musicians, filmmakers, and artists. Even farmers from Anatolia, who fled from starvation, feudal structures, or a civil war, settled here. Likewise, students and politically activists who wanted to change the world came. Astonishingly, all these people were able to live together in Istanbul and develop their own Istanbul culture. Since 1994, the city has been governed by Islamic-conservative politicians. Since then, it has been undergoing an economic, political, and cultural transformation process that threatens the open, cosmopolitan climate. After the Gezi protests, there is no more lively protest culture to speak of. At least since the coup attempt, people have felt intimidated. Giant construction projects are changing the city. To create an often superficial modernity, old residential areas and wooden villas are being demolished and parks are being destroyed. The traces of the historic “growing city” are disappearing more and more from the cityscape. The authors write about the brutal change in the city – about love, very personal memories, mystifications, and settling accounts, but also about the beauty and uniqueness of Istanbul – and the hope that “their” Istanbul will not be completely lost.


© Cana Yilmaz
© İskender Muhlis Kenter
© İskender Muhlis Kenter

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The edition esefeld & traub was founded in 2004 by Jörg Esefeld and Johannes Traub in Stuttgart. The publishing house’s focus lies on architecture / urban development, (urban) archaeology, photography, and photographic art. The series of city portrait books is created by the international cooperation of people of very different origins. So far, six city portraits have appeared: My New York, My Moscow, My Aleppo, My São Paulo, My Tokyo, and My Cairo, which can also be put together individually with three volumes in one slipcase. The basis of the combined reader and picture books are photographs, which serve as the source of inspiration and the point of departure basis for the writing process. For further information, see: