Turkey for Le Monde d’Hermès

Sean Rocha first went to Istanbul in 1992 and returned, half a lifetime later, on assignment for Le Monde d’Hermès, looking for storytellers to photograph.  But after all the formal meetings with artists and writers were completed, Sean decided to wander the streets of Istanbul asking passersby if he could take their portrait and would they tell him a story of their own.  Who would have time to stop to talk to a stranger, he wondered, and what would they tell him?  Braced for rejection, he found a city that at first professed not to know any stories but then soon revealed dimensions to Istanbul that he could never have imagined: of aristocratic gay men who visit fortune tellers to learn if they will be beaten or killed in the streets for going to prostitutes, of gang fights in Tarlabasi, literary dreams in Cihangir, and modern dancers giving up their hope of finding an audience that understands their art.

Click here to see the tear sheets of the Istanbul storytellers article published in Le Monde d’Hermès in Spring 2010.  The photographs below are outtakes from that assignment and offer a glimpse of the city in which they are set.

Click on image to enlarge, then on the arrows to scroll through the gallery.  To inquire about contract or stock rates click here.