Experiencing Istanbul Chp 4: Get Inked

During my time in Istanbul, I was lucky enough to join my new mate Vale, as she got inked. Hooked up with a special ‘staff price’ by the tattoo artist next door, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get a tatt for under 15Eur ($20). And I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to shoot a tattoo session.

It was about this time that I realised I had no access to money beyond that already in my wallet. My internet banking had been locked out since April (guessed the wrong password 3 times in a row, then guessed the wrong answer to my ‘secret question’ while skype calling to get the password reset), and then my “travel money card” (Preloaded, kinda like electronic travellers checks) also ran out of money. With just enough money for my Kenyan visa, accommodation, transport to Istanbul airport, and food and vodka for the 4 remaining days of my time in Istanbul… I could just scrape through until landing in Nairobi and getting spotted some cash from mum.

Unfortunately, I continued browsing camera shops (see my last post for justification of the following event here). While debating whether to blow my money on a lot of Ilford film, I found a pristine copy of the 28mm f2.8 Minolta lens I had wanted. Knowing it was a foolish idea, and frustrated that I had found the ONE storeowner in Istanbul who refused to haggle, I did what any responsible traveller wouldn’t do, and emptied my wallet to buy this lens.

I justified the decision with three simple points:

  1. 1. The lens wasn’t much cheaper on ebay, and it would take time to arrive in Kenya (or be lost in the post).
  2. 2. I could go without the bottles of vodka
  3. 3. I REALLY wanted it to shoot the tattoo session.

So, with 30 minutes before Vale was meant to meet with the tattooist, I handed over most of the contents of my wallet, and walked on back.

As for the tattoo session itself… The setting was beautiful, on an empty rooftop bar, mid afternoon, sun is out, with a view over the bosphorus river. Unfortunately for Vale, she agreed to let both me, and Paul the German, shoot the afternoon with our analog cameras. I can only imagine that she would have been more relaxed without our cameras in her face, waiting for the moment when she winces. Still, she got some mementos… Aside from the tattoo.

All photos were shot with Ilford PAN400 (b&w), developed and scanned in Nairobi. Quality suffered as a result, it seems.

Pre-tatt destress smoke

Paul getting the shot

Half time break

Oh, as for the money issue, I got spotted some cash from mum before I left Istanbul, enough to hold me over AND buy all that film I wanted. But the shops were all closed for Eid, so I didn’t get the film after all. Devastating news, I know.


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