Getting Scammed Shooting Street Photography in Istanbul

/, Culture, Turkey/Getting Scammed Shooting Street Photography in Istanbul

Getting Scammed Shooting Street Photography in Istanbul


The devious con-artist clearly had a nose for fresh meat as we fell prey to a scam on our first day out in Turkey. We had not long started our exploration into Istanbul shooting street photography.  Maybe we looked like we’d came down with the last shower of rain.

As we strolled along the sidewalk a man passed by and a brush ‘fell’ from his box.  Being good citizens we called out to alert this fellow of his mishap.  Slapping his forehead in disbelief he shook Darrin’s hand, picked up the object and started to walk off.  As if responding to his conscience he thought better of it, set down his box and offered Darrin (quite insistently) a shoe shine as a sign of gratitude.  He was a shoe shiner.

For a start Darrin was wearing trainers still wafting that ‘brand new’ smell but being the ‘Saint’ that he is and not wanting to offend, relented and his shoes got a swift wash.

Once done the shoe shiner offered a parting handshake which quickly morphed…into an open hand for payment.  We’d been scammed – even after a good night’s sleep we fell into the trap!

Falling for the ‘shoe-shine scam’ in Istanbul, it all happened so quickly!


Having been out of the travel sphere for a few years we soon realised our ‘streets smarts’ needed re—honing, a key component for what we were doing.

The Life On The Bosphorus

Shooting street photography in Istanbul is a Turkish delight (ahem), the city’s mosques, minarets and labyrinth of busy streets makes an opulent feast for the senses and camera lens.  Walking we find is the best way to explore new places and this intriguing city. To discover more of Turkey a train journey from Istanbul is recommended, or simply cross over to the Asian side of the city. Here are great recommendations on where to stay in the city.

Of course, we didn’t let the scam spoil our day and continued on to see the Bosphorus up close in all its plankton-induced glory. Which by the way, was so turquoise it would’ve even put Bradley Cooper in the shade.


Photographing Istanbul

The Bosphorus strait separates the European and Asian sides of Turkey, there’s so much life around, on top and beneath its waters; ferries, fishermen, mussel divers, food sellers, tour operators, souvenir vendors… we could’ve spent all day there just watching.  Gulls shrieked overhead, fishing hooks got cast out, boat wakes slapped ashore and dogs lazed in the shady spots.

Yes, dogs – and cats.  It was bizarre seeing stray cats and dogs in the street.  All quite placid and indifferent to people milling around, seemingly very much part of the city’s make-up.  Our natural instinct was to pet them but unsure of temperaments and wary of showing encouragement we refrained.

Shooting street photography in Istanbul – a taxi driver stops to take a phone call.

Shooting street photography in Istanbul – Clocked!

Shooting street photography in Istanbul – quiet streets on a Sunday morning.

Read: Visiting the Hagia Sofia Museum


Shooting street photography in Istanbul – Mobile Food. A street vendor checks his phone during a quiet moment.

Street photography in Istanbul – huge Besiktas flags suspended over the city streets.

Street photography in Istanbul – the stray dogs in Istanbul have ear tags which show they’ve been checked by the vet and are healthy.

Shooting street photography in Istanbul – a street musician adding character to the street scene.

Read about The Galata Tower


Photographing Istanbul - we were lucky enough to witness the stunning turquoise of the Bosphorus caused by an influx of millions of microscopic plankton.

Photographing Istanbul – we were lucky enough to witness the stunning turquoise of the Bosphorus caused by an influx of millions of microscopic plankton.

Street Photography In Istanbul – A Sensory Overload

Galata Bridge is THE hangout spot for local fishermen, drinking tea, smoking, chatting, baiting tackle.  There must be miles of fishing line hanging from the collection of rods suspended from the top of the bridge into the water.

Making his rounds was a ‘simit’ seller balancing a tower of sesame-seeded bagels on top his head stopping every few paces for a sale.  Fishing on the bridge did seem more of a social pastime than a productive one!

Back on the streets photo ops presented themselves at every corner; pedestrians dodging trams, shops selling juicy kebabs, woven carpets, silk scarves and rainbows of sweet treats. A sensory overload. Click here for the Backpackers Wanderlust guide to great Turkish food and Irma Naan World’s delicious take on what to eat in Istanbul.

Overhead the patriotic red of giant Turkish flags and the black and white of Besiktas, the city’s beloved football club, rippled in the warm breeze.  Flagging a bit ourselves we headed back to the air conditioned sanctuary of our hotel room.

But not before…another brush fell across our path.  We didn’t flinch, just chuckled and totally ignored it – fool us once…  The guy who dropped it laughed too, his nose was off kilter – our meat wasn’t so fresh anymore!

Hope you enjoyed our collection of street photography in Istanbul.


Street photography in Istanbul – A fisherman on the Galata Bridge.

Street photography in Istanbul – We were fascinated by the balancing skills of this ‘simit’ seller on the Galata Bridge. A simit is a ring of Turkish bread, covered in sesame seeds, also known in other countries as a Turkish bagel.

Shooting street photography in Istanbul – the forest of fishing rods poking out from the Galata Bridge.

Shooting street photography in Istanbul – flags, minarets and pigeons.

Shooting street photography in Istanbul – get your fresh kebabs here.

Shooting street photography in Istanbul – could hardly look as people dodged out of the way of heavy trams that ran through the city.

Street photography in Istanbul – we came all this way and the Grand Bazaar is closed.

Street photography in Istanbul – pavement gossip.

Street photography in Istanbul – we came all this way and the Grand Bazaar is closed.

Shooting street photography in Istanbul – Make Art, Not War. Local ladies posing for us with some of the city’s graffiti art.

By |2019-03-11T04:13:25+00:00October 23rd, 2017|City Life, Culture, Turkey|11 Comments


  1. Teeny November 2, 2017 at 10:28 am - Reply

    Evocative phoTos and post. Captured Istanbul perfectly guys 👍

  2. Christopher Daniel October 24, 2017 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    Thanks for Yet Another Turkish story. You manage great street Photos of the sort that I often hesitate to take for fear of intruding or offending. Some of my ‘best’ photos are ones I never took! What are your tips?

    • WTSDN November 2, 2017 at 3:38 am - Reply

      Thanks for your feedback Christopher. know exactly what you mean, many of our ‘best’ shots are also the ones we didn’t take! A few comes to mind. Sometimes though you just want to live the moment. Yes there’s always a fear of intrusion but always show respect to people and the environment and you shouldn’t get into trouble.

  3. Rick and Sally Stucker October 23, 2017 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    Darrin and sharon, we always love your photos and blog posts. having been in istanbul very briefly on our way to st. helena in 2015,your turkish posts have been of particular interest. bravo!
    on another topic, we will be back on st. helena later this year, december 6-21, and would love to meet you if you are there and have the time. i believe you have our email address if you want to reach us.

    rick and sally

    • WTSDN November 2, 2017 at 3:31 am - Reply

      Thanks Rick & Sally. As you can tell we totally enjoyed our time in Istanbul, wanted to stay longer actually. We’re back on St Helena soil and will be here during your stay – have already scheduled you guys in for a beer! 🙂

  4. bill fulgham October 23, 2017 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    greetings from across the pond, Sharon and Darrin. I hope you are back on paradise turf, I was getting worried because we had not gotten a Blog refresh in several weeks. both of you are to be congratulated for your excellent International travelougs. looking forward to the flights now that they have started. I hope to fly in sometime in the spring of ’18. cheers, bill fulgham, k5eys,

    • WTSDN November 2, 2017 at 3:28 am - Reply

      excellent! Will look forward to seeing/meeting you next year Bill. 🙂

  5. Liam October 23, 2017 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    Awesome! You two are living the dream ey, watch them scammers Darrin!

    • WTSDN November 2, 2017 at 3:26 am - Reply

      Hee hee will do Liam – we’ve upped our ‘street smarts’ a bit since. 🙂

  6. Chris Pashley October 23, 2017 at 11:25 am - Reply

    Brilliant work, Darrin – well composed write-up Sharon

    • WTSDN November 2, 2017 at 3:25 am - Reply

      Thanks Chris! 🙂

Leave A Comment

error: Content is protected !!