I first met Katie Belliel several years ago at a Mother and Baby group on the Asian side of Istanbul. At the time I was living on the Island of Heybeliada and was returning to photography as a way of coming to terms with life in a new country with two children under three. Looking back at that time I see that the moments at which I felt most connected to my fellow Islanders had a lot to do with food. Soon after arriving I asked my next door neighbour for cooking lessons, and, as she didn’t trust me to do it right, this really meant she cooked for us a couple of nights a week while I watched and tasted. She took me to gather vine leaves from the garden and supervised my trips to the market. I think it would be fair to say that every decent meal our family ate during Anton’s first year was pretty much down to her. The times she called over her balcony to check what I was cooking for my family that day (ummm, sorry, pasta again) were more than made up for by the jars of orange jam with thick curls of rind, bowls of wild strawberries and cake she passed from her house to mine (knowing full well there was nothing but empty dishes coming back). Then there were walks up the Island for tea and chocolate from Belgium with Sophie, and ridiculously abundant breakfasts and great afternoons rolling sigara böreği with the wonderful women from the café in the park. When I spotted the news that Katie and her great friend Rose Margaret Deniz were editing a book called: ‘Expat Sofra: A Gathering of Foreign Voices around the Turkish Table’ it made total sense to me. As they write:
““At the heart of every story is a flavor. Expats pack their bags with spices from home to find that incorporating it into meals, and subsequently their life abroad, can require trial and error, a sense of humor, and even failure. Relationships flop. Meals get burnt. Life abroad does not taste the same. But it evolves. Becomes enriched. And can even become decadent.”
So of course I was delighted when Journey Collective (aka Martina and I) were asked to do the publicity photography for Expat Sofra. I enjoyed spending time with Rose and Katie immensely. We spent a great day with make-up artist Gipsy Shears trying to make having their picture taken as painless as possible for these gorgeous women. I absolutely love the results.
Expat Sofra is open for submissions until the 1st of April and all the information can be found at www.expatsofra.com.