The book is entitled Women of Istanbul. It is signed by the photographer Luc Choquer. The critic and curator Alain Mingam presents it as follows:
Luc Choquer is to photography what freedom is to human rights in general, but especially for the rights of women in Istanbul. Istanbulite women without borders are revealed to us, veiled or not in the diversity of their conditions on the edges of the Bosphorus.
At the heart of Istanbul – a traditional hyphen more necessary than ever between East and West, but today subject to contrary political winds. They are there: all these women in front of Luc Choquer, who has for objective in the viewfinder of his expert eye portraits whith simple majesty, to restore the beauty of their solidariy fight. Mothers, wives, lovers or not, young teenagers, all generations and genres combined offer us a face to face, of which Luc Choquer is the precious revelator. To make each of his clichés the fixator in our memory of seemingly ordinary moments that reach however the universal status of the women of Istanbul .
In some photographers the need is permanent to make the exceptional their ordinary – in Luc Choquer it is the ordinary is transcended and beomes the exceptional. Just like this shot of seagulls or doves. And Mahmoud Darwich could repeat ” doves are flying, doves touch down” flying over young couples entwined alone in the world, such as this young teenager, between two mothers pushing strollers, blowing the ball of hope for an emancipation to come. On the sofa of a living room, a young couple is kissing – eyes closed with love – stuck close to a mother with a look between wise fatality and resignation.
Nothing is ever gratuitous in the vision of Luc Choquer, because he transforms an apparent banality into the work of an artist of the human soul. Closer to the people, as he loves them with total empathy that comes to us to better seduce us. Between street snapshots, or posing at home, between wedding scenes or picnic on the grass, it is the daily Istanbul show around the women and with the women.
Also present are the veiled women who project their furtive and fearful shadows on the white walls of a city under political and religious pressure. In the manner of this woman who only shows the tip of her nose and her eyes in the darkness of her “niqabe” prison. Or these three generations of women leaning against each other, magnetized by the screen of their smartphone.
The photographer worked in Istanbul for three years, to better show the peak of his art. Because each photo at the detour of each page is an important milestone – to escape the caricature or cliche and rejection of the other-especially when she is a woman and definitely proud. This modest but beautiful and useful book “Women of Istanbul” is a tribute that makes each of the portraits a mirror effect, which goes straight to the heart and the mind.
Hala Kodmani, a Franco-Syrian journalist and a senior reporter at Libération, had already pointed out during the Arab revolutions: “Revolution, freedom, equality, dignity or justice, in Arabic as in French are female names”. Luc Choquer had anticipated it and checked it from Paris to Istanbul. In complete complicity and moving solidarity.