Manca Juvan, Oto Luthar
The book Istanbul, Faces of Freedom, is a delicate and beautiful volume of photography and essays, exploring the idea of freedom in an urban setting. Cities of earlier origins, like Istanbul, must have represented spaces of freedom already in Antiquity, thus outcompeting almost by a millennium the contesting central European concept which came to life in the High Middle Ages. Dubbed The Great City of Istanbul, today a modern megapolis, has been a city ever since its first Greek name Lygos gave way to Bizantium.
Its outstanding history as the center of different worlds, the crossing point between the Asian and the European culture, a place of direct contact between previously unfamiliar regions and civilizations, which’s been capable of absorbing, entangling, or fusing the encountering cultures - the multilayered mixture of different cultures and traditions, makes this city on the Bosphorus Strait extremely special, if not unique.
Istanbul stretches beyond our imagination, which in the European view derives from residual orientalist fantasy. While this book, shaped by a handful of in- and outsiders who struggled with the triangle in-between–metropolis–freedom in the first half of 2020s, takes this position into an account, it hopes to contribute to the endless expressions of Istanbul by trying to capture its different faces, glimpses in the ever-changing structure of a city, and thus invite the viewer/reader to explore the initial question of freedom in the city’s air and embrace its many stories.