Istanbul Is A Passion

158Therese and Gerard Valck are two photographers who are in love with Turkey and with İstanbul in panicular. They visited Turkey many times, and as they went back to their homecountry France, they told the people about the beauties of our country and our people. However, eveıytime they tried, they received negative reactions, and failed to break the prejudices in people’s minds towards Turkey.It was thought that Turks were barbars, they spoke Arabic and use only camels for transpoıtation. When they understood that the words won’t work, they decided that their an would. One time, they came to İstanbul just to take its pictures. Financially they suppoıted themselves. They leased a hall for their exhibition from the City of Paris. The company, which sponsoı·ed for the framing and invitations, did not hesitate to spend money from their own pockets again to re-print the invitations to remove their own logo, as they saw the Turkish flag on the invitations. Their reason was because they were afraid of the reactions of their Aımenian customers in France. They invited the Turkish arnbassadar to their exhibition which was held between March 3rd to April 30th, 2003. What they tried to achieve was to eliminare the prejudices by their photographs. They came to the Bazaar at the end of 2003 and found me. Gaye Petek, who was the director of a Turkish Cultural Center in Paris, directed them to me. W e started to work on a new project. Since the Grand Bazaar was the only place that could be called the World Culture and Trade Center, they decided to make the Grand Bazaar their next exhibition’s subject. They took hundreds of photographs. I did my best to help them. I shared all the mysteries I had known about the Bazaar. I had a surprised visit from them in the first week of August, 2005.

They were holding a catalog and invitations, along  with the second issue of a French magazine named Cultural Mosaic, which was published both in French and Turkish. It was written on the magazine d1at: “Therese and Gerard Valck are two photographers who are in love wid1 Turkey and with İstanbul in paıticular. In 2003, d1ey offered a unique İstanbul trip wid1 their exhibition tided “The city of contradictions, the open city İstanbul.” This year, with their new exhibition titled “Did you say the Grand Bazaar?,” we are getting into the world of the biggest histarical shopping center through their perspective. The spices, carpets, traditional dothes displayed on the colorful display windows gain a different meaning d1rough d1e lenses of Therese and Gerard Valck.” The effoıts of d1is beautiful French couple were the best response to the prejudices of d1e people in France about Turkish people. However, I was so disappointed that not a single news appeared on Turkish media on d1em. I infoımed the İstanbul Province Depanment of Cult:ure aboüt their exhibition. I also talked to Mr. Fatih, who was d1e press director of the City of Eminönü. I tried to explain them that having this exhibition in İstanbul and advenising it via intemational media would be wonderful for the publicity of our countıy. However, I could not get any results. I hope dut the reason why d1ey missed such an oppoıtunity was because of my uneffectiveness on explaining my thoughts about the project; not because of their unwillingness to spend money to host d1e French couple. About Therese and Gerard Valck. .. since the day I first met d1em and the day of our second meeting in 2005, I had one question in my mind: Why? I have always wondered the reason that lied beneath d1eir attempt to cany out such a buı·den, d1e reason behind d1eir effoıts and battle to promote this countıy. At last, I asked them. They responded wid1 a single word: “Passion.”

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