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This shot was taken during a photo walk around Istanbul, as part of our recent Faces and Places Photo Tour to this fabulous city. I can't remember the exact area of the city we were in, but it was largely residential with a few small shops, winding streets, and a host of interesting things to photograph, including these two children – noses pressed up to the glass, watching the world go by their window.

As an aside, this image captures the flavour of Istanbul in a way that isn't apparent from the image itself. To explain ...

We'd been walking through the streets of this area, photographing the people we met, the buildings, the skyline, and pretty much everything that caught our attention. When I spotted these two children I automatically started shooting, as did several other people in our group.

After a couple of minutes an adult appeared behind the small girl, and from what followed I assume it was her mother. As soon as she appeared I realised what we were doing – taking photographs of small children in the privacy of their home. Had I been in the UK there would probably have been one of two outcomes: either an angry exchange with the parent regarding my invasion of their privacy or, worse, a discussion with the local police regarding the inappropriateness and illegality of my behaviour.

In this case though, rather than snatching the small girl away, she lifted her higher, waved, and smiled at us all as we photographed her children. In the scale of things it was a small event, but it neatly summarises my experience of Istanbul: one of the largest cities in the world, but also one of the most open and friendly that I've visited. I wish more of the world was the same.

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1.28pm on 11/11/11
Canon 5D Mark II
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3x2 + travel [Istanbul, Turkey] + children [portraits] + no print + show the original