Street life photography: Turkey, Georgia & Iraq

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By Jake Threadgould
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On a journey through Turkey, Georgia and Kurdish Iraq, photographer Jake Threadgould captured some of the unique people and stories through his series of street life photography.

Backgammon players, Sinop, Turkey

The clacking of plastic tokens and the trickle of dice on polished wooden boards is a ubiquitous soundtrack around many of Turkey’s cafes and side streets. As I rounded the corner of a street in Sinop I discovered these two gentlemen in line with an entire street’s worth of men, engrossed in backgammon battles and swilling Turkish tea right on the pavement.

Protestor, Batumi, Georgia

This young man might resemble an England football fan, but instead he is a supporter of the United National Movement – the principal opposition to the incumbent coalition government. After taking his photograph, he and his fellow supporters melted into the Batumi streets in in a wash of red and white, and loud chanting.

Gaziantep Bazaar, Turkey

Within the warren of alleyways in Gaziantep’s bazaar district is a cacophony of chisels, hammering away on soft metals at outstanding speeds. On the inner-most streets of the bazaar, the merchants sit outside their small shops against a backdrop of intricately carved metalwork. You only have to go around to the opposite side, however, to see the smiths responsible for the polished product.

Carpet repairers, Mardin, Turkey

Mardin’s bazaar district is wonderfully peaceful and entirely hassle free. The market streets were unofficially demarcated by various trades – one minute you’d be walking past craftsmen repairing traditional carpets, before popping out onto a street full of halal butchers, nonchalantly casting goat heads into the drainage areas.

Tea kitchen, Mardin, Turkey

A common courtesy in South Eastern Anatolia, and particularly in the Kurdish regions of Turkey, is to be invited for tea by complete strangers. Several times a day men will usher you over to their table, sit you down and order you some sweet çay. When I bumped into this man near the food stalls he invited me back to his small tea-kitchen, and when I offered to pay, I was turned down with that quintessential Anatolian reaction: tut-tut-tut. 

Kurdish man, Duhok, Iraq

This type of traditional clothing can be spotted all over the eastern regions of Turkey, but nowhere was it in such abundance than in Kurdish Iraq. Despite his stern expression, this gentleman was here with friends, chatting and drinking tea, while selling small firearms to the locals.

Boat yard, Sinop, Turkey

Large ships litter the dry docks of the working harbour in Sinop, and men clamber about welding and sawing at the old decks that look well beyond repair. I found these men sheltering from the midday sun beneath one of the mighty boat’s hulls.

Fishermen, Batumi, Georgia

Rhythmically bouncing their floats up and down, and occasionally pulling in small floundering fish from the harbour, these fishermen use methodical techniques that have been refined to perfection after years of fishing in the same spot. No one speaks, but everyone remains focused on the end of their lines.

Moustachioed man, Sinop, Turkey

Tucked away in the corner of the grand market place in Sinop, where fruit and veg were the main produce, this rather elegantly moustachioed man was selling handicrafts ranging from little beaded bracelets to woven football insignia, all made by Turkish prisoners.

Jake Threadgould can be found tweeting his photographs on @jakethreadgould.
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