Whirling Dervish by Amy Elkins in Bursa, Turkey

Whirling Dervish Ceremony at the Karabash-i Veli Dergah in Bursa, Turkey.  During these ceremonies, the dervish believed that through their motion, they attained a place closer to God, and considered their actions a prayer to connect to God. These men whirled, most with their eyes shut for what felt like an eternity without wavering or losing balance.  It’s one of the most beautiful things I have seen/heard in my life.

Name:Amy Elkins

Place your photo was taken: Bursa, Turkey

Place you live:  In flux

Can you sum up the place you live?  I honestly don’t have a clear notion of home at the moment.  I’ve recently returned from 3 months of solo travel.  I went from Portland, OR back to New York (a place that was home for 7 years prior to Portland). Then I went to Turkey for a photo exhibition, Denmark to make new work, Germany for a photo exhibition and art residency, France for Paris Photo, England and Iceland to explore.  Upon returning I packed everything into a storage unit and I’ve traveled back and forth between Portland and LA for going on 2 months now with just photo gear and clothes. I’m exploring new places to call home. I have a love/hate relationship with the flux and upheaval.

Occupation: Fine Art Photographer

Preoccupation: Co-curator/founder of Women in Photography.  Travel. Yoga. Dabbling in raw food diets.

What is a perfect day? Throughout these past 5 months of travel and living without a clear sense of home, a perfect day always involves waking early, coffee, picture making, exploring and learning to accept, embrace and be grateful for the fleeting moments the world provides.

If someone was visiting, what must they do?  I’ve been in 7 countries in the past 5 months. In Portland, swim in a river or ride a bike, drink local beer, eat from one of hundreds of food carts.  In NYC, people watch, gallery/museum hop, walk, walk, walk.  In Turkey, see a whirling dervish ceremony, shove through the crowded old marketplaces and eat everything provided.  In Denmark, ride bikes everywhere, drink the coffee and look at the gorgeous people.  In Southern Germany go to the big beer halls, go to the Bavarian Alps, stare back at strangers. In Paris, walk, walk, walk. Embrace the many random encounters, get lost, look up often.  In London, visit the Tate, walk in the rain, ride the tube, hit the many marketplaces.  In Iceland,get out in the middle of nowhere, marvel at the landscape, sit in geothermal hot tubs/springs with strangers. In CA, eat burritos, thrift, drive down the PCH, explore the million pockets of LA and go to the beach often (at night is especially lovely).

A perfect meal in the place you call home? Currently I’m spending most of my time in Southern CA. Perfect meal is usually Mexican food. Especially with all the homemade tortillas and salsa.

What is the best thing about your spot? While in Southern CA, the weather and proximity to mountains, ocean and nearby cities (LA, San Francisco).

What is the worst? The traffic.

A little known fact about where you live? Avocados and citrus fruits seem to fall from the sky.  The state will probably eventually fall into the ocean.

Where is your favorite place in the world? After this last trip abroad, I think it might have to be Paris.  The city blew my mind.  Though Iceland had the most gorgeous and surreal landscape I’ve ever seen.

Who are your three favorite photographers? Off the top of my head: Rineke DijkstraAugust Sander and Irving Penn (though I have far more than three).