ORHAN PAMUK | BALKON, PHOTOGRAPHS

This exhibition presents more than 600 photographs taken by Orhan Pamuk of the subtle and ever-changing view of Istanbul from his balcony. These images are a selection of more than 8,500 he made between December 2012 and April 2013, an intense time of creative activity following his purchase of a Canon 5D digital camera with a telephoto lens, and above all shaped by his desire to “record” the view before him. This dense panoramic vista is one of the city, the Bosphorus, the mouth of the Golden Horn, the Sea of Marmara, the islands to the east, the distant mountains, the criss-crossing boats and gliding birds – all within the myriad effects of light and atmosphere.

Pamuk describes his photographic ambition as first, to preserve the fleeting beauty before him; and second, to capture everything before him, an encyclopaedic undertaking he soon realized impossible. This beauty is as obvious to our eyes as it was to Pamuk’s: the shifting lines of the city and water, arabesque charm and industry fused together, illuminated in reds, oranges, glowing mauves and all manner of blues and greys.

In time Pamuk questioned his intuitive drive to capture such delights and wondered why he was photographing so intensely – an astounding seven photos per hour. How does photography affect seeing? And what is the relationship between his photography and writing? Taking photos unexpectedly became a tonic to Pamuk’s literary frustration: “I felt the need to look at the view over and over again – or, more accurately, to take photographs of it – because I was finding it so difficult to write.” Ultimately “The view from my balcony invited me to seek quietude and introspection, to let go of material concerns in favour of more intellectual pursuits. […] It was now a fertile, virgin soil full of features I must collect and preserve.”

Pamuk was initially reluctant to share his photos, and only when revisiting them five years later, to sequence them for his photobook Balkon, did he realise they were not merely records of the landscape but also of his soul: “In the time that had elapsed, every photograph seemed to have transformed into a sign of my dark, dismal mood of those weeks.”

The exhibition ORHAN PAMUK | BALKON, PHOTOGRAPHS takes this book as its basis, presenting all its double-page spreads printed with archival Epson UltraChrome pigment inks on Hahnemühle PhotoRag 310 gram paper, an additional 90 large-format photos printed on canvas with acrylic UV inks, as well as Pamuk’s introductory text. The book object itself is also an integral part of the exhibition: printed in four-colour offset and skeleton black with matt inks and a matt sealer on yellow-white uncoated paper, clothbound with a tipped-in photo, endpapers of cotton fibre, head and tail bands, and a fabric bookmark. “To those who ask me why I took these photographs in the first place, I can now safely say this: to see them in print, on paper, inside this book.” And now too in this exhibition.


Yapı Kredi Kültür Sanat, İstiklal Cad. No: 161, Beyoğlu - İstanbul
Opening times:
Monday to Friday: 10.00am – 7:00pm
Saturday: 11:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday: 1:00pm – 7:00pm

ORHAN PAMUK | BALKON, PHOTOGRAPHS
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ORHAN PAMUK | BALKON, PHOTOGRAPHS
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ORHAN PAMUK | BALKON, PHOTOGRAPHS
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ORHAN PAMUK | BALKON, PHOTOGRAPHS
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ORHAN PAMUK | BALKON, PHOTOGRAPHS
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ORHAN PAMUK | BALKON, PHOTOGRAPHS
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