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Narayan Mahon May 25, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Cyprus.

Lefkosa, Northern Cyprus 2008

Narayan Mahon (b. 1980, United States) is a Seattle based editorial and commercial photographer. Narayan earned a Master’s of Science degree in Photojournalism from Syracuse University. He has recently received a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to continue working in Somaliland and selected as a winner of Magenta Foundation’s 2009 Flash Forward- Emerging Photographers and participated at the Eddie Adams Workshop in 2007. Narayan’s clients include Crowne Plaza Hotels and Nike and his editorial work has appeared in The New York Times, The Economist and powerHouse Magazine, among others.  Narayan’s personal work include Lands in Limbo, an ongoing book project about unrecognized countries.”

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was made during a trip to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, in Lefkosa, the capital, in April 2008. Lefkosa (Nicosia in Greek) is the last divided capital in the world, split down the middle by a “Green Zone” administered by the United Nations. This image respresents the no-man’s land that cleaves the city, creating an emptiness in the heart of the island. The evening this image was made, celebrations were happening on both sides of the city. Both Greeks and Turks were embracing the opening of a symbolic border crossing on Ledra Street, first closed and walled-off nearly 40 years ago, when the island split apart. The opening sparked optimism for reunification, which has since faded. The trip to Northern Cyprus was a part of an ongoing long term project documenting unrecognized countries. In addition to Northern Cyprus, the project includes Abkhazia, Nagorno Karabakh, Somaliland and Transdniestra.”


1. Q - May 25, 2009

Small correction: Nicosia is NOT the Greek name – Lefkosia is the Greek name, Nicosia is the English name.

Also, the opening of Ledra Street came years after the first border crossing and did not spark optimism – it was, as stated, only symbolic.

2. Geoffrey Hiller - May 25, 2009

The following is from the photographer Narayan Mahon:

The Turks use the name Lefkoşa while the Greek side uses the more commonly used Nicosia (which is also the english name, but some people also use Lefkosia). It can get confusing when there are 3 different names for 1 city. Many Greek Cypriots call it Nicosia, while few Turks will. It’s easier to differentiate the two sides with more distinct names, which are still correct.

And yes, Ledra street was not the first opening, but a very symbolic one, as it was one of the first to be closed. This did spark optimism (along with having pro-reunification governments on each side at the same time, which helped make the Ledra Street opening possible).

I hope that clears things up

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