Winner: Guy Martin
Artist Statement: City of Dreams
A woman prepares for a prisoner exchange, outskirts of Istanbul.
A fake Mosque being built. Film lot, Beykoz district, Istanbul.
Residents of the Kartal suburb watch filming of "as time goes by" a multi-million dollar soap opera with the biggest soap stars in the middle east perform in their drive-way
Cityscape backdrop, Istanbul, 2013
A man and his wife sit in a car on the outskirts of the city prepairing for a journey into the centre.
People watch and film police confront a crowd, Gezi Park, Istanbul.
Murder of the mistress, Istanbul, 2013
The Kanlicia neighbourhood of Istanbul, Asian/Anatolyian side of the Bosphorus Sea.
The femme fatal awaits instructions, Beykoz film lot, Istanbul.
Women watch police fire tear gas canisters close to where they are standing. Gezi Park, Istanbul.
A man comforts his girlfriend in a mansion on the Bosphorus, Istanbul, 2013
A man approaches a murder scene, Istanbul, March 2013
A woman waits for an illicit meeting, Nightclub Cassablanca, Istanbul, February, 2013
Young army recruits respond to an emergency, Beykoz, Istanbul, 2013
Scripts in an apartment block, Istanbul, April 2013
Taksim Square, June, 2013
A murder scene, outksirts of Istanbul, 2013
A woman collapses into her chair after a heated argument. Beykoz, Istanbul, 2013
An injured man on the grounds of the, Dolmabache Palace, Istanbul, June 2013
A damaged bust of Kamal Attaturk founder of modern day Turkey, Istanbul 2013
Guy Martin — City of Dreams
Marital affairs, blood feuds, divorce and murder; scenarios that although may not reflect
the reality of contemporary life in Istanbul, are the plot lines of Turkish soap operas that
are drawing in tens of millions of viewers from Athens to Riyadh.
The rise in popularity across the Arab world and Balkan countries has made Turkish dramas a huge commercial success, and a vital component of Turkey’s soft power strategy. It is a way for Turkey to export its culture of secularism and wealth to an audience dying to know more about its close neighbour.
Arab viewers are fascinated with the shows because they purport to reveal how Turks, particularly Turkish women, handle modernity. One series finale pulled in staggering global audience figures of 85 million, with over 50 million of those viewers reported to be female.
Now, as the Arab world finds itself in a period of flux, many television viewers are, consciously or not, looking to Turkey for a lifestyle and governance that is both Muslim and modern.
But in May 2013, as these shows were in their final weeks of filming for the summer season, Istanbul was witnessing its’ own, very real, dramatic events. Thousands of young, secular Turks took to the streets to initially demonstrate against overzealous construction projects, but these rallies quickly grew to wide scale protests against a series of government-backed policies that were seen to curb civil liberties and promote Islamic conservatism.