Soot Suits

Over 3 months have passed since I last posted here… busyness due to stretching to absorb new activities.  We have an active amateur photo group here in Istanbul with volunteers who plan excellent photo treks all over.  Between joining those treks and participating in various workshops over the last few months…I’ve amassed a lot of photos, at the expense of maintaining this blog.

As the novelty of living here has worn off, so has the novelty of writing about beginners’ impressions.

Shifting direction, I’ll show the Turkey I am experiencing more through images than words.  One of my regrets in art school is not poking my nose into the photo/video area.  I used digital images extensively for reference shots and serigraphy. Now, I’m learning to move out of my camera’s auto mode.  Seeing this place I love through the lens, and the camaraderie of the international group of mostly women who participate in the group is great fun. After Jeroen from Holland left, Jim became the sole male member…hopefully we’ll pick up more men soon.

A recent trek was was to the area near Çatalca where charcoal is classically and manually made from wood. Their market is home-grillers and restaurants in Istanbul. This is laborious and dirty work, probably not very healthy, but picturesque.

In Istanbul Province, between the Marmara and Black Seas, on the European Thrace.

In Istanbul Province, between the Marmara and Black Seas, on the European Thrace.

After cutting the wood, it takes a week to build the pyre, which will burn for another week.

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_DSC8156cropsmWorkers live in little huts next to the burning site, tending pyres 24/7.

_DSC8188smOnce built, they cover the wood pyre with soil and combustible material, like hay.

The sacks contain combustible material that is added during the burning process as necessary.

The sacks contain combustible material that is added during the burning process as necessary.

Once burning is complete, they dissemble the burned down stacks and stack the charcoal.

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This guy's been at it a long time.  We were told he is in his 70s.

This guy’s been at it a long time. We were told he is in his 70s.

This process is traditional and manual and somewhat hazardous, components of the Turkish life that can be very charming.  You can see a few more photos of Çatalca here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/31594849@N04/sets/72157641856380293/

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