Time and money permitting, one of the things I like to do in a new city, especially a large one, or one where I don’t speak the language, is to book a local, private guide to help me get to see places I wouldn’t easily discover on my own.
In Istanbul, I treated myself to an afternoon and evening with a local resident, tour guide and photographer. Kemal Nuraydın, founding partner of Istanbul Photography Workshops, is a trained lawyer turned photographer, whose photographs and articles have appeared in National Geographic Magazine, Geo, Cosmopolitan, Readers’ Digest, Die Zeit and Atlas Magazine.
He is a charming, fun and knowledgeable guide who speaks fluent English and is a great teacher as well as a guide. Once I had booked my preferred time slot and payed a deposit, we agreed a rough itinerary by email. Kemal knows the city and its people like the back of his hand and has a number of itineraries that you can choose from. I opted to visit some Bosphorus villages during the afternoon and add on a session on flash and night photography.
We started with a wander around the Grand Bazaar, visiting a caravanserai, a rooftop with pigeons and views, and some workshops. Later we took a ferry up the Bosphorus, stopped at a few villages, wandered the narrow streets, tasted excellent local yoghurt, took some lovely night shots, with and without flash, and ended up at a bar for a beer. Not only did I learn about local culture and architecture, I also met some of his friends and family, had my fortune told and improved my photography.
If you are lucky enough to find yourself in Istanbul, I highly recommend booking a session with Kemal. I am confident that you will be delighted. I will certainly book again if I have the opportunity.