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  • Writer's picture Kester Eddy

The Street Photographer - They Don't Make 'em Like This Any More! (Updated)

Updated: Aug 5, 2021

And note the trendy footware! Every Picture Tells a Story [Don't it]? 29 - In fact, by the time I took this piccie in 1984, our friend here was already a rare and dying species. But where might he be? Just the country - the town itself is rather small and little known.

The age of digital photography makes me somehow depressed. I see folks these days using their phones, with a weight of perhaps 200 grams, and they can get sharper photos (and in far worse light conditions) than myself back in the 70s and 80s, when I'd be humping cameras and lenses and other gubbins weighing 10 - 14 kilogrammes.

But there again, maybe this gentleman street photographer was looking at me with my 35mm gear and thinking: "Boy, you think you're so good - but I've got a real camera here, and you wouldn't be able to work it if I gave it to you." (And he'd be right.)

I really meant to make the next EPTASDI posting a continuation of the South African story first begun on May 31 (The Homeward Trudge) - But since the website operating system stubbornly refuses to work properly and upload fresh photos, I'm stuck with working with the odd few that I uploaded to the blog itself earlier as drafts, but didn't publish. In fact, I got this one ready in January, only to (fortunately) have held off using it, leaving it 'in the locker', as it were.

I don't know how much money this poor fellow made at his trade, but having invested into this unwieldy plate camera earlier, and, I suspect, with few other skills, he was stuck with trying his luck. In truth, there may have been a practical reason just out of town why people may have needed photos here, but I suspect they would not have wanted to wait while he developed his plate negatives and. having dried the result, stuck it into an enlarger to create the print.

Anyway, over to you. I'll update this post with the answer at the weekend.

UPDATE: Well, in spite of what Hubert “Poirot” Warsmann wrote (“Not many hints in this picture”) this one didn't prove very difficult. Tom Chilton kicked off with: “We're in Greece (Crete to be precise) and I guess the old photographer was too. Could be Cyprus though. I'm counting on the beads for this one!” Well, could be, but in this case it isn't. Still, hope you are having a great time, Tom – I must admit I thought you'd get this one, because almost everyone else did. Hubert went on to say: “Most likely Middle east, Turkey or Syria, I'd say.” Hmmm. We shall see. Erik Werkman asked; “Is it Turkey?” - and when I asked in return “What on earth gave you that idea?” Erik backed off and suggested Georgia or Bulgaria. Sandor Nemeth and Stefan Szecsei both opted for Turkey too. AlHakam Shaar was rather greedy. “I love this and I've probably never seen like it, but I have a feeling it's next to some official administration (e.g. the civil registry, or the courts of law, or both - in smaller cities these come in bundles), and it looks and feels very Mediterranean to me. My guesses, in order, are Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Tunisia. Hakam, no more countries you'd like to throw in there? :) Well, Hubert's answer one might say was, well inspired. When I first went to Turkey in 1974, there must have been hundreds of thousands of street photographers with plate cameras as depicted here across the country. But a decade later, they had become quite rare. With the onset of mobile phones that can take photos, they are surely an extinct species. In 1984, I spotted this man in the small town of Kilis, which is partially enclosed by Syria, the border being 3-4 km west of the town centre. (Indeed, according to Wikipedia, the town belonged to the Aleppo administrative district before the demise of the Ottoman Empire, Aleppo being only 60 km to the south.) Although a small town, alas Kilis has been in the news in recent years, it's proximity to Syria has led to sporadic missile attacks between the warring factions. This was probably the last pic I took in Turkey before, from memory, I walked to the border crossing to the south of the town. (My less-than-friendly welcome there is described in the post on December 15 - Syria: Dark, Brooding Ruin - Tumultuous Past, Tumultuous Present.) Congratulations to all contestants, most of you were spot on! (Erik, don't be put off by my bluffs! :))

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