Istanbul with Medium Format B&W Film by Kaushal Parikh

Istanbul is an amazing city – and for street photography it ranks right up there if not slightly higher than my up-until-now favourites like Mumbai, Cochin, Jodhpur and of course NYC.  Istanbul offers a fabulous mix of culture, amazing people and super food.

Bustling modern thoroughfares and timeless cobbled street neighborhoods are within a twenty-minute tram ride of each other – truly a photographer’s paradise.

I decided to shoot predominantly medium format b&w film on the streets during our 4 day visit. I have grown to love this format that forces me to slow down and think before shooting each frame.  There are only 12 frames per roll and I try to make each one count.

And as it turns out, contrary to what you would expect of large equipment, I was somehow viewed with less suspicion.  And ironically, with a waist level finder on my camera, I found it easier to become invisible when shooting in the streets.  No one would notice when I looked down into my camera finder to frame my shot.  I think most people thought I was just fiddling with this ancient looking contraption.

You can see more of my work at and on my blog at


  1. The next to last shot is fantastic. Great feel to it. All the people focused on the girl hopping about, the 2 women, the kids in the second floor window. Very nice moment captured.

  2. Nice work! Quite unusual to do street photography with MF, but besides the cost, I can’t see why you wouldn’t. And indeed, it makes me want to have a MF set myself 😉

  3. Great images Kaushal, I particularly like the second one and the last two. They really capture some lovely moments, and I really like the square framing from the 6×6 which you don’t see so often nowadays.

  4. Great shots, never thought of using my Medium Format gear for street photography, tend to just use it for Landscapes and use my Nikon V1 for the street (still saving for the Leica), might just have to give it ago.

    Thank your for sharing and inspiring us.

  5. These are incredible. Did you do some post processing or were these straight from your film? thx for sharing

  6. Some great images here, particularly the last two. To me it doesn’t matter where there were shot or on what, just great slices of life.

  7. Great images Kaushal as always. My personal favourites are the last two, ‘Hopscotch’ and ‘Lookout’, which could have been taken anytime from the 1930’s onwards. I’m having a dabble with film myself and if anything worthwhile comes of it I’ll see if Steve wants to post it.

  8. Hello, sorry I don’t speak English, I coming from Belgium. Je suit régulièrement ce site depuis 2 ans.C’est la première fois que j’ oses poster un commentaire.Parlons photos, Beau boulot ,belle ambiance , j’ai fait le même exercice que kaushal il y a 15 ans, 4 jours à Istanbul avec juste un M6 et un summicron. Dans votre travail, monsieur on peut parler de MOMENTS DECISIF à la HCB Félicitation d’avoir été sur place et en plus d’avoir su capturer le MOMENT, surtout dans les photos 1,6,7,10 bravo très bon timing. Dans la dernière que je trouve exceptionnelle le temps est même comme “SUSPENDU”Bravo. Je me permet de poster mon lien.
    Bien à vous tous

    • Thanks Pierre for deciding to post your first comment on this site since you started following it 2 years ago. That is a lovely set of images you have on flickr. Istanbul is truly a timeless city and I hope to go back there some time in the near future

  9. Very good shots. I think you could edit out 1,3,4 and 5 and the set would be stronger.

  10. Great work Kaushal. I too have been drawn back into film through medium format. I’ve been using a Graflex XL with 80mm Zeiss lens and 6×9 back and I love how I have to think and compose, think and check and double check the exposure. The detail is immense. My favorite of yours is the photograph of the kids and the bicycle, and the photo of the child playing hopscotch while her neighbors watch from above. Great street photography!

  11. I’ve been following Kaushal for a while now and he’s got some great work! Always looking forward to his next post. Keep up the good work Kaushal!!!

  12. Great photo’s, so much quality and depth to them! And the BEST street reportage I’ve seen on this site so far!
    Brilliant stuff!

      • Got one of those just got a Polaroid back for it can’t wait still want monochrom tho

      • It does me Ibraar!

        I’ve spent the last week lusting at Blads online and working out what of my digital gear I will flog to but a 500 C/M. Anyways, enough of the gear talk and back to the enjoyable pursuit of good photographs. 🙂

  13. At last an article that does not focus on gear! And guess what? The pics shot with good old film look much better than with the latest gadget. I have just seen your website and although I like the pics above, they are nowhere as good as the rest f your shots. Fantastic work, really inspired by it!

    • Well said Fabio, almost most articles on here these days are about buying stuff instead of technique and improving ones photography. To me it does not sit right, especially in the current world financial climate when so many people are really struggling, maybe not so much as the USA compared to many other countries but the world is so much bigger than than the USA.

      About time materialism was put to one side and we focused on humanity and how it can be viewed & improved upon through improving ones photography and delighting in great shots such as the work of this photographer featured.

  14. Some really nice work there Kaushal! Particularly liked the one with the kid wearing the “Scream” mask, point of focus and woman at the front make this a really interesting picture to read.

    OK so Istanbul is a very colourful city for sure as someone commented, but it is very refreshing to see an “alternative” take on it in BW and for me these MF BW shots really do it, and the people especially, justice

  15. i like the shot of the boy hanging from, and the by laying by, the window.

    it doesnt have to be a capture of ISTANBUL, but its a photo capture of a FEELING/LIFE. and that makes it an interesting photo

  16. I honestly don’t see what is beautiful in these shots… Besides the spelling, Istanbul express much more than these B&W shots that could be taken anywhere… Istanbul is thousands of years of history, crossroad of civilisations, Christian, Roman, Ottoman, and this heritage is so overwhelming there, the colors of the Bosforus at sunset so unique that you really feel you are in a very special place. Just go and visit St. Sofia cathedral, take shots the light is incredible and the size of the place…. and imagine you back in year 1000. And that’s one bit of Istanbul. Sorry I cannot share the appreciation for these shots…

    • mmhhh can’t agree 100%

      My All Time favourite photographer from Istanbul, Ara Güler, made a lot of b&w photographs in a grainy and harsh way. They show the ‘Everage-Man’ life beeing inside these ancient relics. When I visited Istanbul two years back in December, my wife made me a birthday gift with one of his books about this city. In these photographs I can see the so called ‘huezuen’ which Orhan Pamuk wrote about in his book about Istanbul.
      For me the above photographs are similar but shooting color is totally different and requires more additional visits……

      Bogdan, here some color impressions:

  17. Very well done, indeed. You convey a place both ancient and very much alive. Hard to imagine a spot on the planet with a more vibrant history.



  18. Excellent, the last shot of the boy being my favourite! I also shoot medium format on a Rolleiflex 2.8E but have never tried street with it… yet 😉

    Thanks for sharing.

  19. Gentlemen, with a little respect to this city and it’s inhabitants, the name should be correct even in the headline…….it’s ISTANBUL……..ok?………much much older people would spell it Konstantinopel. Thanks.

    The photographs I like a lot. They have the mood of the 50th, 60th.


  20. I’m sorry I didn’t visit Istambul when I was in the region.

    Nice work. I particularly like the last two. Nice slice of life.

Comments are closed.