In the city, I encounter myself along with other stray beings…

Using my cell phone as a camera offered me the ultimate invisibility in the very crowded city of Istanbul. Although my first (and primary) love in photography will always be film, I enjoyed the lightness and randomness that I felt while shooting with my phone.

I started to lose my purpose and wander more. I was a “Başıboş,” a word in Turkish that means vagabond and/or stray. I was the ultimate loner with no set route—just like the stray animals in my city. We were partners; we were Başıboş together in our city.

—Elif Gulen

If you enjoyed this article, we’d also recommend these previous features: Strangers in the City, a photo series made in Iran that highlights the chasm between tradition and modernity in the country; Detroit Stories, an ode to a city that has experienced a series of seismic shifts over the past few decades; and Please Take Your Shoes Off, a report on Ethiopian Orthodoxy in Jerusalem.