Istanbul: the Two Faces

Arriving in Istanbul, one realizes the contradictory cultures that coexist. On the one hand, Islamic religious culture seeks to assert its dominance in society, while on the other hand a more secular and Western, European-oriented culture is embraced especially by the younger generation. Daily life in the city of 15 million citizens is filled with rival images that reveal the underlying contradictory social norms constructed by the different political, religious, and cultural forces that exist in the country. Images showing the divide in all aspects of life in Istanbul are so vivid everywhere in the city, from those of a male-dominated sociopolitical culture to those of Western culture where gender equality seems to be well established; from those of people living in inadequate social conditions to those living in prosperity; and finally, from those of extreme religiosity to those of secularism. It is clear to Anikitos Hadjicharalamboust that a socio-cultural conflict is developing in Istanbul and that peace must be achieved between the two faces so that the two groups can live in harmony.


Anikitos Hadjicharalambous is a self-taught photographer based in Cyprus. He discovered his passion for photography in his 30s.
In 2000, after becoming a member of the NGO “Doctors of the World – Cyprus,” he had the opportunity to develop several photography projects following the organization in its missions around the world, such as in the Gaza Strip, Iraq, Romania, Sri Lanka, West Sumatra, and Nairobi. Over the years he has developed a photographic style somewhere between street and documentary photography, usually choosing his photographic subjects based on sociocultural themes, always using a humanistic approach in an attempt to expose what is unseen.
He has been invited to participate in several group exhibitions such as “Gaza, Land under Shadows” and “European Vision in Action” as part of an EU-funded project. In September 2004, he presented his first solo exhibition titled “Visitors in their Land,” about the passage of Greek Cypriots in the occupied areas after the opening of the checkpoints in 2003. In 2008 he published his first solo photo album titled: “Visitors in their Land” and in 2018 he was honored with the publication of his second photo album titled “Monologues and Quests” by 1415MobilePhothographers.