In recent decades, growing urbanization in Iran has resulted in dramatic changes to different layers of society. This has had many consequences, including a sharp increase in both individualism and isolation.

This alienation is evident all along the street, wherever you go. Faced with the dichotomy between modernity and tradition, lonely strangers feel separated from other people as well as themselves. They are each detached individuals. This is what I have tried to show in my photos.

—Masoud Gharaei

Editors’ note: The first image of this photoessay was selected as a finalist in the LensCulture Street Photography Awards 2016. Discover more inspiring work from all the winners, jurors’ picks and finalists.