In "Istanbul: City of a Hundred Names," Magnum photographer Alex Webb displays his particular ability to distill gesture, color and contrasting cultural tensions into a single, beguiling frame.
He presents a vision of Istanbul as an urban cultural center, rich with the incandescence of its past--a city of minarets and pigeons rising to the heavens during the early-morning call to Muslim prayers--yet also a city riddled with ATM machines and clothed in designer jeans. Webb began photographing Istanbul in 1998, and became instantly enthralled: by the people, the layers of culture and history, the richness of street life. But what particularly drew him in was a sense of Istanbul as a border city, lying between Europe and Asia.
"For 30-some years as a photographer, I have been intrigued by borders, places where cultures come together, sometimes easily, sometimes roughly."
The resulting body of work, some of Webb's strongest to date, conveys the frisson of a culture in transition, yet firmly rooted in a complex history. With essay by the Nobel Prize winning novelist, Orhan Pamuk.