» NATIVE AMERICANA IN TURKEY AND BEYOND

Photo EssayAt the Dandalos Hotel in Karacasu, near the ruins of Aphrodisias in southwest Turkey, I was surprised to come across this 8-foot-high translucent image of a bygone Native American chief.

Native American chief wall hanging at the Dandalos Hotel in southwest Turkey, (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so surprised, since I’ve seen plenty of other images of Native Americana in Istanbul — including a garishly “sexy” Native outfit on a very skinny mannequin in the window of a clothing store in Galatasaray. Why all the Native American stuff? Continue reading

» AFTERNOON PHOTOS IN KADIKOY

Photo EssayKadıköy, on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, is a lot less touristy than the parts of the European side near the Galata Bridge. Frankie and I took a ferry over and shot some photos of its buildings, animals and people.

Kadıköy pier view of the Bosphorus at golden hour. – (c) 2014 Boots Natanama

Kadıköy pier view of the Bosphorus at golden hour. – (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

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» KARDEşIMSIN (YOU ARE MY BROTHER), MICHAEL BROWN

Photo Essay

Kardeşimsin Mike (“You are my brother, Mike”): Street stencil in Galata, Istanbul expressing solidarity with Michael Brown, who was killed by police offer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014. - (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

Kardeşimsin Mike (“You are my brother, Mike”): Street stencil in Galata, Istanbul expressing solidarity with Michael Brown, who was killed by police offer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014. – (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

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» RUINOUS SEX CULT(URE) IN APHRODISIAS, TURKEY

Ruins of Aphrodisias, (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

Photo EssayIf you visit Turkey–and hey, who doesn’t love visiting increasingly intolerant authoritarian dictatorships?–it’s definitely worth strolling the nicely overgrowing ruins of Aphrodisias (Ἀφροδισιάς), a place originally erected in honor of a local cult’s goddess of fertility who has come to be known most widely as Aphrodite, goddess of love.

Ruins of Aphrodisias, (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

Lots of different areas had their own interpretations and names for her: Cytherea, Cypris, Acidalia, Cerigo, Ourania, Artemis and Ashtart among them. “Aphrodite” is Greek, “Lady of Ephesus” Anatolian, and “Venus” is Roman, but they’re all basically the same cult image, reinterpreted and adapted for local and/or religious purposes usually involving fertility. Continue reading

» QUALIFIED APPRECIATIONS AT HAGIA SOPHIA

 

Photo EssayHagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey - (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

Spiritually speaking, I’m fairly described as an atheist anarcho-Buddhist, and I didn’t want to go stand in line to look at the Hagia Sophia, one of the oldest and largest monuments to monotheism and feuding totalitarian religious dogma in the world. But F. really wanted to go, and I didn’t have any better plans for the gray and rainy day.

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» BLACK(ENING) EARTH: THE CASE OF FAZIL SAY

fs_bw“Have you heard of Fazıl Say?,” she asked, with the obscenely picturesque Istanbul skyline behind her. We were, all of us, at a rooftop bar/restaurant, eating and drinking raki when I asked about Turkish musicians I should know about. I admitted I hadn’t heard of him.

“He’s a genius,” she said. “But he was punished for insulting Islam.” Continue reading