In April 2014, a group of 20 strangers in real life decided to embark on a journey together to travel around Turkey for the most epic Instameet. We have interviewed them here on the INK361 blog to hear more about their trip!
Christina @expacs - Tell us a little about your trip.
The trip was everything we could hope for. Turkey is a beautiful country with amazing food and welcoming people. As Instagrammers, we all had more or less the same goal (take a shitload of pictures), so everyone was happy when we did just that.
Mandy @kaecreative- Tell us about your group.
We are a group of 20 Instagrammers that were all strangers but friends on Instagram that decided to do the most epic Instameet in Turkey in April 2014. Our group is made up of people from 5 different continents who are passionate about photography. Together, we photograph everything from portraits to ruins! You can check out our group account at @ig.instameet or our hashtag from the trip #istaninsta2014
We are @annettehoerstchen, @christmaselk, @danamarieku, @davidcrunelle, @dawa_lhamo, @doacusta, @expacs, @genyvb, @hai_huynh, @heraldherrera, @jeromerafael, @kaecreative, @manciniv, @notesofnomads, @npieper, @saverome, @tanergungor, @brubov, @atombaj, @_kai_zen_
Geny @genyvb - What was the inspiration behind this meet up?
I always contact one or two local IGers whenever I’m visiting a city, I enjoy exploring new places with people who are passionate about photography. So one night in May 2013, Christina (@expacs) and I were chatting about how we both want to visit Istanbul for photography and we thought it would be a great idea if we can invite other people to join us. After a few hours, 10 other IGers signed up, the next day I designed the logo for the Instameet and after 2 days we already have a 7-day itinerary for Turkey.
Vini @manciniv - Was organising the trip difficult?
This trip was one of the most memorable experiences of my life, for sure. Since I was involved with it for one whole year, helping to organize it and supporting the other group members, I was totally excited to meet all the other IGERs, cuz we were used to have contact only through the digital environment. When we met each other in person for the first time, I had the certain that it would change my perception about the Instagram experience. I can’t wait for the next one!
Kristin @christmaselk- Did you have any expectations before coming on this trip?
Travel has always been an enriching experience for me, so I also expected this to be the case in Turkey. I wanted to find amazing places to photograph, but I’d hoped to make lasting friendships as well. I was surprised and overwhelmed by the hospitality of the locals. I came away from this trip loving Turkey, its people, and my trip mates more than I thought possible.
Dana @danamarieku- How was finally meeting everyone in person?
It was surreal having face-to-face contact with people I had only known through IG for over a year. Many of us communicated regularly through social media prior to the trip, and I can hardly explain how exciting it was to finally shake hands and give hugs. Seeing personalities come to life was incredible. What was most impressive was how genuine our connections were with one another. The laughter, the stories, the early mornings and late nights, they are all fond memories of these newfound friendships. Also, we had the chance to meet and interact with IGers whom we had no idea would originally be in Turkey while our group was touring! Seeing such a beautiful country with others who love photography was my favorite part of meeting this talented group.
Doac @doacusta - What did you learn from this trip?
Well, first of all i learned alot of things about the cultural heritage of my country within the community. Couldn’t have time to visit these places before. And needless to say that the trip helped me to know the igers whom work i do love. We shared not only good time, but also our photography in an inspiring way.
Taner @tanergungor- What was the most difficult part about being a tour guide?
I think the most difficult part of being a tour guide was to get together people all the time =) Because, I had the responsibility to watch out everyone. Sometimes people can be late and I had to manage that somehow =) Yes I think this was the most difficult one =))
Annette W @dawa_lhamo - What was your favourite part of the trip?
It was an absolute thrill being able to meet instagrammers from all corners of the globe in what once was the city of Constantinople, an ancient meeting place where east meets west. Mind blowing.
David @davidcrunelle - What is the best Turkish food?
Best food in Turkey is hard to chose. Because they are delicious, many of these dishes are somehow available in other countries, but to try the real versions of each was just spectacular. That humus I had on my first day is still in my dreams, and the grilled meat assortiment we had at our first dinner would definitely help you to never consider becoming vegan. Simple daily life food was a true pleasure, not sophisticated, not too spicy, just real.
Ah and also Turkish junk food has a standard level that made me reconsider the “junk food” term. Seriously, food taken off the street in small kebab shops is terrific and so tasty.
You can visit all the churches and mosques and ancient cities you want, you haven’t seen anything of this country if you don’t have a serious food tour.
Annette H @annettehoerstchen- Which was your favourite place and why?
My favorite place was Galata bridge. This bridge is a symbolic link between the traditional city of Istanbul with the imperial palace and principal religious and secular institutions of the empire and the districts on the other side of the Golden Horn where a large proportion of the inhabitants were non-Mulims and where foreign merchants and diplomats lived and worked. Whenever I passed the bridge, I liked to make several stops and look in either direction, indulging in thoughts about how life was here in former and ancient times and at the same time enjoying the view, feeling the slight breeze and being part of the vivid life and colourful scene around me. From the bridge I could see many beautiful and interesting buildings I have already been to as well as many places I long to see in the future. I will come back!
Hai @hai_huynh - What did you learn about Instagrammers?
What I’ve found with Instagrammers is that, socializing throughout the process can be just as important as the resulting photos themselves. We all come from different backgrounds and being able to see each others’ creative processes whilst the photograph is being taken is invaluable.
Jess @notesofnomads - What was the most interesting fact you learnt?
I love learning the stories behind things that continue to permeate a country’s culture to the present day. The blue evil eyes sold as souvenirs and displayed in businesses and homes around the country are hard to miss. So I was fascinated to learn that they actually represent the eye of Medusa! With a cursed glance that turned people into stone, her eye became a protective symbol, forever keeping watch and evil at bay. Now that’s someone I wouldn’t mind having on my side!
Herald @heraldherrera - What do you love about Turkey?
Aside from these locations we went to that we can all agree are every photographer’s haven, you can’t resist to love the country more because of its people and food. When you are surrounded by very hospitable, kind-hearted people which I think Turkish people naturally are, and combine it with sumptuous food, then you’ll be head over heels for that country.
Jerome @jeromerafael - Was there anything that surprised you about Turkey?
What surprised me the most about Turkey aside from its picturesque sceneries is the people. I felt that Turkish are genuinely hospitable and kind-hearted people which made our trip extra special. Not everyone speaks good english but they make an effort to communicate with tourists to help out which I think is really kind of them.
Norbert @npieper- Which was the best place to photograph in Turkey?
From all awesome locations in Turkey the Ephesus Open Air Museum stands out for me, because I had the chance to speak to a conservator while she was busy preserving a dwelling unit. After a short conversation she kindly agreed to let me take images of her deeply concentrating on her work. I remember this situation as a valuable moment of comfort and trust between photographer and subject.
Kai @_kai_zen_- What was the most fun you had in Turkey?
I really enjoyed making new friends and hanging out with all the instagrammers, whether it be on a bus, ferry or plane. We saw amazing ancient ruins such as Pergamon, and incredible sites such as Pamukkale. And it was lots of fun eating and sharing a big house together!