Taken during a weekend stay in Istanbul, Ina Niehoff’s latest collection of photographs is a beautiful travelogue journaling her own personal observations and experience of the ancient, transcontinental city.
For Ina, photography and travel go hand-in-hand, each a means of gaining a deeper understanding of the other. Ina explains, “half of travelling for me is exploring a place with my camera. It’s my way of observing and getting to know a place.” Though landmarks appear, they are not the central subject of the series, instead a sense of curious flânerie prevails; photos have been taken during moments of inspiration on ambles around the stretching streets and corners of the city and its ever-present coastline, capturing and imprinting the aesthetic and mood of Istanbul on 35mm film.
As it turns out, Ina was in Istanbul during October last year concurrent to the attacks in Ankara. Still, Ina was determined to capture the beauty of the city even during a state of turmoil, anger and demonstration: “In the beginning I thought: You can’t show such a touristic view of a city in weird political circumstances. Now nearly half a year later I think you can, and you probably should.” There is a clear sense throughout her work of a central concern towards capturing the every day sights and phenomena of the natural and manmade environment from a personal perspective, as her own framed experience and interpretation of reality.
Typically tightly shot, even landscapes, large structures and bodies of water are framed close to the subject. There is a focus on detail rather trying to fit the whole picture in, on minutiae and nuance, rather than expanse.
Ina puts work into presenting her work as part of a coherent collection, she explains: “I like to challenge myself again during the edit to find perfect pairs”. Though each photograph on its own stands as a strong visual considered in colour and composition, her many pairs reinforce each other, collecting together either themes or observations, or structural parallels glimpsed during her time in the city. A tree and a building are thematically juxtaposed, but in structurally reminiscent in how they are shot; a man standing centre-frame against the Bosphorus Strait is contrasted with a wall of glass reflections suggestive of waves. This is something Ina suggests enables her to form “shorter series themselves, within a longer one.”
A student of Visual Communication at each Bauhaus University in Weimar, Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and the Swinburne National Institute in Melbourne, Ina has racked up an impressive list of clients since deciding to go it alone as a freelance photographer little over a year ago. Having worked with the likes of Vice, Interview and Printed Pages, she has just shot a new project for Neon, her professional career continuing to offer ample insight and opportunity to travel and explore with her camera in hand.