All History Together with Ilker Gurer

Istanbul has been the center of history for millennia. Originally called Byzantium upon its founding more than 2600 years ago, the occupants of this city have gone by more names than the city itself, each building their lives on top of the history below them. Photographer Ilker Gurer has lived there since birth and has taken it on as his own personal creative challenge to give a visual voice to this incredibly rich place. “Istanbul is a never-ending story,” Ilker tells Wonderful Machine, “caught in the middle of the past and present—thus, timeless.” He’s put together a collection of photographs into a series he calls ‘Layers,’ that shows us how Istanbul’s history converges in unique ways.

“For the last eight years, I have been reflecting on the everyday life of the city with my own perspective to show Istanbul’s many faces,” he explains. “‘Layers,’ is an endless project—it reflects Istanbul as it is. The feelings of Istanbul show through reflecting the life of ordinary people digested in the chaos.” Each era butts up against each other in Ilker’s photographs. There’s spray paint graffiti next to the Hagia Sophia. Soccer fans celebrating on streets thousands of years old. Pop songs sing out of digital speakers and echo off buildings built by the Ottoman Empire. To understand the complexities of a place like Istanbul is to understand how it's culture has gotten where it is from where it was. Lucky for us, Ilker is our guide.​

View more of Ilker’s work on Gallery Stock.