Photographer's Note

Three children (there is a small girl in the background) and a headless hen in a "less privileged" part of Afyon, a relatively small provincial capital in western Turkey, halfway between Ankara and Izmir on the Aegean coast.

I spent a day and a half in Afyon (official name Afyonkarahisar, meaning "Opium black castle/fortress) in August 1974. It is not an incredibly interesting town but it is scenically located beneath a remarkable steep hill with the ruins of an ancient fortress at the top. Afyon used to be the centre of the Turkish opium industry. The little that remains of it is now strictly controlled (I assume) and is only for medical purposes.

I had a good time in Afyon, mainly for fine photo opportunities. I spent a couple of hours in a tea house where I walked between the tables taking photos of practically everyone present, and in the afternoon I walked the narrow streets of the old area on the slopes of the mighty rock.

Seeing these photos now I am appalled by the squalor and poor conditions. I had to take a look in my diary to see if my reactions were the same 42 years ago. To my surprise, and shock, I described this as the largest and best maintained area of traditional Turkish architecture I had seen anywhere.

I guess I was brainwashed by my travel experiences in the early 1970's. One year earlier I had returned home from a journey of 10 months in Asia. After I had flown from Istanbul to Copenhagen I watched with amazement the streets between the airport and the city centre and wondered "how can it be that there are no cracks in the walls, no plaster falling off, no paint peeling, no broken windows, and where is the garbage that's supposed to be lying in the gardens and the streets? How could everything be so clean and tidy? Was it really like this before?".

Here is a larger version.

I have shown many photos from Afyon earlier, among them one of the hill with the ruined castle, and a portrait from the teahouse which is among my personal favourites.

I have added two workshops from this cosy area, one showing a girl and a horse, another showing mainly a girl in a steep street. All photos were scanned from Ilford FP4 B&W negatives.

I have borrowed the title from a 2011 movie (original title Bir zamanlar Anadolu'da) by Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11958 W: 567 N: 22861] (98790)
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  • Date Taken: 1974-08-16
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  • : , Workshop
  • Date Submitted: 2017-02-06 7:08
  • : 2 [view]
Viewed: 1870
Points: 86
Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11958 W: 567 N: 22861] (98790)
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