Elsa Bleda Captures Neon-Lit Istanbul in “Mirror World / Istanbul”

All images by Elsa Bleda. Used with Creative Commons permission.

Elsa Bleda is no stranger to walking the streets at night to photograph neon-lit places and alleys in different cities. If you will recall, we recently featured Chinatown, comprised of glowing photographs of Johannesburg’s Chinatown at midnight.

Today, we bring you her series Mirror World / Istanbul, a part of her Nightscapes series.


As the title of this set implies, the photos are of scenes Elsa took in this Turkish city one snowy night. Presumably, “mirror world” alludes to the reflections visible on the still wet ground.

In Mirror World, storefronts, food carts, empty alleys, and people walking around are all bathed in almost ethereal, glowing colored lights. The Johannesburg-based photographer and visual artist employed long exposure to ensure the lights are captured clearly. The results are nothing short of cinematic, with the colors somehow reminiscent of a futuristic film.

When the sun sets and most people head home after a busy day outside, the city transforms. For this reason alone, it’s always worth doing street photography at night. You are rewarded by unique scenes that aren’t otherwise present during the day. Most importantly, you get to train yourself in doing night photography too.

Elsa’s work brings to mind a few similar series by other photographers. Manu Grinspan takes colorful nighttime street shots in Barcelona, Paris, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, and more upcoming cities for his 1STREET project.

On the other hand, Mark Broyer goes around Hamburg after dark to showcase scenes from around the city in After Hours in Hamburg and the harbor in What the Fog.

Meanwhile, Levi Wedel’s Invisible City is composed of photos of stores, restaurants, and other establishments that are completely devoid of their usual patrons.

See the entire Mirror World / Instanbul series here and don’t forget to visit Elsa Bleda’s Behance portfolio to see more of her photography.