A little girl and boy chatter away, oblivious to the grandeur of the Hagia Sophia

My post last week tried to show something of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul – a glimpse, I hope, of more than just appearances – what does this look like? – but photographs that, perhaps, maybe, if I am lucky, encourage us to ask, what does this mean, what does it represent, what does it say to us?

In this black-and-white image, however, it is not the Hagia Sophia that speaks to us, it is a little girl and a boy, chattering happily away, not overawed at all, scarcely aware of the architecture, the monumental grandeur, the weight of religion and history even as, off to their left, a woman with her hair covered reads what might be a Koran or religious text.

It’s one of my favourite images of the Hagia Sophia, perhaps because it brings it all down to the human scale, the intimacy of the moment, reminds us that, without these children there, all this magnificence is just a heap of stone.

A little girl and boy chatter away in the Hagia Sophia, Istanbul