Orhan Pamuk: Balkon
Istanbul panoramas from the author of My Name Is Red
In the winter of 2011 Nobel Prize–winning Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk took 8,500 color photographs from his balcony with its panoramic view of Istanbul, the entrance of the Bosphorus, the old town, the Asian and European sides of the city, the surrounding hills and the distant islands and mountains. Sometimes he would leave his writing desk and follow the movements of the boats as they passed in front of his apartment and sailed away.
Pamuk has been taking photographs for more than 50 years, but as he obsessively created these images he felt his desire to do so was related to a strange particular mood he was experiencing. He photographed further and began to think about what was happening to himself: why was he taking these photos? How are seeing and photography related? What is the affinity between writing and seeing? Balkon presents almost 500 of these photos selected by Pamuk, who has also codesigned the book and written its introduction.
Born in Istanbul in 1952, Orhan Pamuk intended until the age of 22 to be a painter. In the 1960s and ’70s, as he describes in his book of autobiographical essays Istanbul (2003), he photographed the streets of Istanbul to use in his paintings; his early desire to take photos is explored in the introduction to the illustrated version of Istanbul (2017). Pamuk won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006; among his best-known novels are My Name Is Red (1998), Snow (2004) and The Red-Haired Woman (2016). His 2008 novel, The Museum of Innocence, became an actual museum, which he opened in Istanbul in 2012 to exhibit the objects, pictures, papers and photographs described in the story. The Museum of Innocence received the European Museum of the Year Award in 2014.