The streets of Asia and Instanbul in Black and White with a Leica M8 by Igor Novakovic

Hi Steve,

I recently came back from travels in Asia and Asia minor and am sending you a few shots from my Istanbul leg of the journey.
Istanbul was cold, grey and bitingly cold (winds, rain, snow) but after Istanbul Kerala in India awaited with tropical heat and humidity. On top of that I decided to go on this three-week trek with just a small piece of hand luggage. I have to say that my beloved Leica M8, Summilux 28mm and iPad proved everything I needed for the trip.
Here are some of the shots, more on www.igornovakovic.com/istanbul/

74 Comments

  1. Artistic License! I am quoting Alain Briot!

    ” When you purchased your camera and decided to use it for the purpose of creating art you gave yourself license to do what you like and to have fun with it. In other words, you gave yourself artistic license to do what you like. Unless you are under contract and have to please a client, use your artistic license to have fun with your work. This is your money, your time and your efforts and if you are not doing what you like something is not going right. Remember that in art you can never please everyone, so let others think what they may. There will always people who will praise what you do as long as your work expresses what you feel and is unique to you. ”

    Here is the Link to the Artistic License! http://beautiful-landscape.com/Reflections/?p=944

    Good Work! Keep Shooting Igor!

  2. I love the second picture especially…and I like your eye for b&w. I shot there last summer, all in color, and loved it as well. I had great weather 🙂 I shot in only b&w for more than 20 years, and now I’m trying to develop my “color” eye…composition and subject matter are different beasts, I think, in color than b&w. Not better or worse, just different. I used to see in b&w, but now I am trying to see in color. You can check out my Istanbul photos here: http://www.stevedaubs.com/travel/istanbul/

  3. Yeah I wish Picasso would just paint a picture naturally. Why does he have to mess things up with all that silly colour and shape.

    :rolleyes:

  4. Wonderful images. I love the heavy PP. It has vision.

    Everyone here complaining is expecting everyone else’s pictures to suit their (boring) taste.

  5. I like the photos a lot but I too think that they don’t do justice to Istanbul, as they portray it as a dark and old city rather than a very well developed and colorful one.

    I just came back from a trip to Istanbul last week and made a short journal about it. If you want have a look at my photos http://jpg.gr/istanbul/

  6. Over processed for me. Easy on PP. Undo teh post processing and post them again. Will be much better

  7. This is fabulous B&W work. I kept asking myself as I was viewing these, could the new Lieca Monochrom do as well as this? Could it produce a B&W shot as edgy and as punchy as these beauties? Over and over again my conclusion was, no way.

  8. Nice work, Igor! While I know that b&w imagery does not appeal to everyone, for me it is the only way to go. Since I shoot mostly people being a former newspaper shooter I find color distracting to my eye. As DJDLV said above, I like the high contrast, gritty quality to the images.

  9. Some of u guys need to sit down, relax, take a deep breath…and realize that u r not in the position to say that these photos r bad, has to much HDR feeling in them or to much PP… It is his photos, he does what he wants with his photos. Maybe every little thing that u reacted to, was his plan.

    It’s like saying to Picasso: Those paintings r to edgy and colourful.

    • Pardon? Adverse opinions not allowed? There are countries like that. Please read carefully, and get off the high horse.

  10. Nice photos, you have an eye for composition and I think the high contrast gritty quality works well to highlight the details and content you capture wonderfully.

  11. Love your images! I need to take my Leica m8 out of the box as it stopped raining in Seattle and I just received it from new jersey with all the upgrades :). I have a 28m too but its an Elmarit 😀

  12. Is it my monitor?

    These shots look over-processed, almost as poor HDR’s, with low resolution, smudginess, and pointless high contrast.

    A number seem to have gross compositional clutter.

    I can’t agree with another poster who describes them as “very powerful images” – what on earth does that mean? Powerful? Really? What are they doing?

    I don’t like sounding negative but only effusive praise of the mediocre soon kills off photo sites. Don’t get me wrong – it’s good to see these shots, and they can reassure viewers that the camera is far from being overly important.

    And it’s worthwhile seeing others with similar opinions and expressing them without feeling constrained to write, “great capture”, “awesome capture”, or other such cliched terms..

  13. I really enjoyed your images from India. Very inspiring to me.
    thank you.

    Jeffrey

  14. Wonderful photos, I used to live in Istanbul and there was a real grittiness to these people.

    Which black and white obviously brings out, and naturally colour pulls out other qualities…

    The fierce wind in winter and the smell of burning coal… thanks for putting these up

  15. The photography itself is acceptable though a little bland, but the lack of specific definition on one thing because of drastically over used contrast makes for viewing headache. All detail in the shadow areas is lost, and surprisingly obvious use of dodging suggest that you dont know how to make a good exposure with this camera.

    • +1 on the first and last images as Ashwin says Igor but I also think it works quite well on the third image from the end. Thanks for sharing, I look forward to seeing more of your work.

      Darell

  16. i find this pics. are very emotional and that is why i’m loving them. actually, for me the best part is author’s personal interpretation

  17. Nice black and white images. The mannequin reminds me of an Orhan Pamuk novel, probably “The Black Book.” The novel takes place in Istambul, and mannequins played a role in the story.

      • Great. I came close to being sent to Sinop Turkey back in the lat 60’s. That would have been very interesting. My ancestors are from a small nation to the east. There seems to have been some tension between them and Turkey, but my family left a few hundred years before that unpleasantry.

        It’s a lovely country and would love to see it one day.

  18. Hi everyone! Firstly thanks to Steve for putting these up, cheers.

    What can I say… I left the photos settle on my computer for weeks before processing them last night. I guess after the colours of India Istanbul really stayed grey & cold in my mind (though do not get me wrong I had a FABULOUS time there) and I really felt the need to make them gritty and very tense.

    Yes Istanbul is a city of colour too and of trade and life. There is a big, strong feeling that this great nation is once again on the up and Istanbul feels like the epicentre of it. But I wasn’t interested in documenting everything, these are not snapshots of life as it really is but imprints from my memory, hence the contrast – wanting to make the thing look very graphic.

    I processed them in LR with taking extra liberty in applying contrast and clarity. In few cases I applied vignetting but that was it.

    And yes.. It is summicron. Wish there was a summilux 28mm but then it would have been probably waaay to expensive.

    De gustibus non disputandum es – Let us not dispute each others tastes or personal style in this case 🙂

    • You are right. Tastes differ. I like your take on the city very much! Glad the M8 can perform so well, after all we hear about newer cameras.

  19. Don’t want to lecture, but I feel the whole thing should start with an interesting image (I know full well how difficult it is to create an interesting image). Colour or b&w, that’s the start. PP then follows. Some images gain with dramatic pp, but a mediocre, “random” image, street or otherwise, will always be just that.

    Of course, opinions and tastes will vary, and there’s no harm in expressing them.

    Here’s a D700 b&w conversion I made the other day. Unfortunately not really sharp where I wanted it; I still like it.

    Open to all critcism. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3592615326930&set=a.1341329926202.49632.1019802137&type=1&theater

  20. (To those commenting with negativity) Where is the love people?? Post processing or not I think this gentleman shot some very nice shots compositionally. The b/w part could be considered his art style and while everyone is entitled to an opinion, I see no need for putting the photographs down. I enjoyed the photographs, thank you to Igor and Steve for sharing!

  21. I’m still a bit wary of leaving comments that are not completely positive. But this over-the-top processing (at least in terms of contrast) is not doing much for me…

  22. These are incredible photos of people in their natural state. Not judging the quality of the camera, just the work itself. There are a couple that blow me away. Thanks for sharing!
    ~Michael @ Nspired Photography

  23. Very heavyhanded pp; don’t like it, and the images seem mediocre. They don’t do justice to the silky quality the M8 is capable of in b&w.

    • Fully agree.

      Sorry Igor, but the image treatment is just “too much” and images are not as interesting to me as your trip may have been to you.

      Also, your site does justice to your work (much better than this set of pictures).

      Ernesto

  24. Sorrry but fix ISTANBUL not INSTANBUL …

    Is only my feeling or the black&white is very haevy in the pictures?

  25. I don’t understand. Why convert the colours of Istanbul into black-&-white grunge?

    • Because as he said, it was already cold & grey. Plus colors will distract you. Converting to B/W will focus your attention to the people or landscape. However I do agree that PP was a bit too much. It was too HDR-ish for me, which is worse. To each his own I guess.

    • You won’t be able to figure that out even after you spend $7950 for a new M9 M. Maybe some people are tired of spending hours on Photoshop or Lightroom.

      With B&W there is at least 50% information missed, distorted. How can you figure out what’s the color of Turkish people’s eye, hair, skin, etc. Any differences to Indian, Parkistanian, Afganstanian, Arabian? I can’t figure out what they are selling in the shops from these pictures. What’s their traditional dress? What particular landscape in Istanbul?

      • Exactly. Where’s the copper, gold, brass, ochre? Why make it appear more drab than it was?

        Thanks for the links to Istanbul in colour, bernie.

        • thks, when I visited Istanbul for four days I had the b&w photographs from Ara Güler/Magnum in my head. Look here:

          http://www.araguler.com.tr/

          His stunning b&w body of work from decades ago totally disappeared in todays Istanbul (for a tourist in a hurry…) So I left the Leica M4-P with Tri-X in the hotel and gave the little E-P2 a try….

          The b&w pics here show the ‘lack’ of converted digital files into b&w. Hand to explain but very easy visible……..

          Sorry, don’t want to hijack this thread! Cheers bernie

          • Ara Güler. That’s clearly in another league altogether. Look ing at his images I realise once again how wrong it is to be easily satisfied. Such beautiful treatment of light.

  26. Thanks for sharing, the images look much better on your site, less contrasty and fuller/richer tones.

  27. Processing went over the top. I´d love to see these with less excessive “tweaking”.

    • PS: Here is what I mean:

      His face is soft, yet ultra high contrast. Give us some details back to discover in your shots.

  28. Very powerful images, thanks. Would you like to comment on the processing? I suppose you are shooting raw and then converting on software, right?

  29. Nice stuff , even better on your site.
    You mean to write 28 Summicron, don’t you?
    Thanks for sharing.

  30. NIce job, man. Loved first 2 pics epesially. Are you from Russia or any other russ.speaking country?

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