This famous photo of a newspaper-selling boy was taken in 1958 at the Little Hagia Sophia district in Istanbul by the journalist Hilmi Şahenk (1903-1972). The 9-year-old boy is running, waving a newspaper in his right hand, and there’s a small bunch of newspapers under his left arm. There’s a 1950 Plymouth in the background.

Newspaper-selling boy. Istanbul, 1958
The famous photo of a newspaper-selling boy. Şehit Mehmet Paşa street in the Little Hagia Sophia district (see notes 1), Istanbul, 1958. The photo was taken by the journalist and photographer Hilmi Şahenk (1903 – 1972). Şahenk was working for the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet (Freedom).

Hayrettin Baş was the newspaper-selling boy in the photo

The name of the newspaper-selling boy was Hayrettin Baş. His father was a carpenter, working for a radio maker, making the radios’ wooden frames. Hayrettin was working as a pupil at this radio-making shop, varnishing the frames built by his father.

In his spare time, he was selling newspapers. He was earning 30-35 pennies, which was about the price of a loaf of bread. Hayrettin recalls “I was giving the bread to my mother”.

Hayrettin remembers the day, saying “there was a photographer in a beige trench-coat, he was wearing a fedora, and his camera was really big”.

Haytrettin also became a carpenter when he grew up. He died on July 6, 2021, aged 72, due to diabetes.

Newspaper-selling boy, Hayrettin Baş
Newspaper-selling boy, Hayrettin Baş died on July 6, 2021, aged 72.


  1. Little Hagia Sophia district is named after the Little Hagia Sophia, formerly the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, a former Greek Eastern Orthodox church dedicated to Saints Sergius and Bacchus in Constantinople. It was built between 532 and 536, and converted into a mosque during the Ottoman Empire. This Byzantine building with a central dome plan was erected in the sixth century by emperor Justinian (482-565); despite its Turkish name, it likely was not a model for the world-famous Hagia Sophia (“Holy Wisdom”), with which its construction was contemporary, but it is nonetheless one of the most important early Byzantine buildings in Istanbul.
Little Hagia Sophia
Little Hagia Sophia. Photo by Bollweevil – Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link


Özgür Nevres

Published by Özgür Nevres

I am a software developer, a former road racing cyclist, and a science enthusiast. Also an animal lover! I write about the city of Istanbul on this website. I live in Istanbul since 1992.

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