Born in Baltimore, MD, U.S.A, Elif moved to Turkey and remained in Istanbul most of her life. After graduating with a B.A. in Graphic Design, she traveled the world for a year taking black and white photos in numerous countries such as Cuba, Yemen and China. She opened an exhibition of her Cuba photographs in 1997 at the British Council in Ankara. After finishing the first of two master's degrees in Graphic Design and Film Studies respectively, she photographed and filmed the urban transformation of Galata in Istanbul. For example, In 2006, she started a long-term first documentary film showing the changes in a building, Bereket Apartmani, built in 1896 and acquired by the owners in the 1940’s, that had to be sold for financial reasons. Comparing the original owners’ points of view with that of the new owners after renovation five years later in 2011, the documentary was shown and became a finalist in the Boston Turkish Film Festival. From then on she became interested in the relationship between cities and their inhabitants.

She roamed the streets of Istanbul vigorously photographing city life . A joint project with photographer Markus Anderson opened doors to do a two-year Sydney-Istanbul ‘Mirrored’ project that resulted in an exhibition at the Australian Center for Photography, Sidney, NSW. 

After artist residencies in Belfast, Ireland and in Barcelona, Spain, Elif's Jiwar project, ‘ Memory and the City,’ in which she interviewed, photographed several people throughout the 10 districts of Barcelona about their lifetime experiences in one living space, culminated in a series of exhibitions in Spain. Traveling to Vienna, Budapest and Paris she photographed and interviewed city inhabitants to extend her research into life residence in urban landscapes.

Her passion for cities and the stories of their long-time inhabitants is what drives her to continue with photography to portray the dynamics of urban culture throughout Europe, documenting it visually and verbally, past and present.

Elif is a member of photography groups, Tiny Collective and Gözaltı Zine (a photography zine that is published every 6 months in Istanbul that won the 2021 IFSAK (Istanbul Photography and Cinema Artists Association) Photography Publication Award .

You can also follow her photographs on Instagram as @fisheyedreams.

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