Robert Root, M.D. is a San Francisco-based photographer and psychiatrist. His first book of photography, Image In Mind: The Psychiatrist as Photographer, offered perspectives on culture, landscape and the photographic relationship. Since its publication in 2007, he has shown the book at conferences in Boston, San Diego, Montreal and Istanbul. Dr. Root trained in Psychiatry at The New York Hospital in New York City and currently is medical director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at California Pacific Medical Center. He lives with his wife and two children in San Francisco.

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Lucienne Thys-Senocak is an associate professor in the Archeology and the History of Art department at Koc University in Istanbul. She is a specialist in Ottoman architectural history and the author of a recent book called Ottoman Women Builders: The Architectural Patronage of Hadice Turhan Sultan. She is currently directing a restoration project of an Ottoman fortress in the Dardanelles region of Turkey. Lucienne lives in Istanbul with her husband and two daughters.


Inspired by an image on a postcard, San Francisco-based photographer Dr. Robert Root couldn’t stop thinking about this mythical city, crossroads of ancient civilizations and a thriving modern metropolis. “Imagining Istanbul” presents a gallery of his first impressions, and a unique perspective on the people and panoramas of this complex, multilayered society.

"After photographing elderly religious men and conservatively dressed women in black chadors in Fatih, I crossed the bridge back to Beyoglu. Here, I was swept up in the stream of people along Istiklal Caddesi where the streets are filled with cafes, street musicians, and contemporary art galleries. Young couples hold hands, share their iPods and browse in the ubiquitous electronics and music stores. What a contrast to the old-world faces of the bread maker and garlic seller I encountered when exploring Cukuruma just a few side streets away."

In a companion essay, Lucienne Thys-Senocak, an American professor who has lived in Istanbul for two decades, reflects on the act of seeing a familiar place through fresh eyes. "I return again to the images in this book... Istanbul will always be for me a place of surprises and discovery. This potential to discover, and the joy in encountering the unexpected, is something which binds the first-time visitor with the native. Both are able to experience, albeit in different ways, the intense visual and cultural richness of Istanbul."