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Interview with Hossein Goshtasbi

Hossein Goshtasbi is a Conceptual & Fine Art photographer based in Iran.

After graduating from photography studies, he began to refine his style which he deems Poetic Conceptualism, using self portraiture to create surreal and thoughtful images.

As opposed to taking images for simple the sake of documenting, Goshtasbi uses photography to portray a concern, or unspoken feeling, in order to address a particular thought or concept.

The cinematic and story-like aesthetic of his pictures results in surrealist, meaningful and emotional visuals that challenge his audience to think deeper.

Goshtasbi states that he has "never wanted anyone to look at my photos for just a moment” and that he wants to "create pieces that make people think”. He says that these are some of the reasons why he loves conceptual art.

As meaning and purpose have great significance in his photographs, the titles of his images often imply a sense of peace and harmony. Nonetheless, being an artist working in Iran comes with both its creative restrictions and its influences.

Goshtasbi states that “everything in our art is influenced by culture, geography, and politics etc”. He sees art as the language of expression and has had a unique and at times challenging experience with the laws of the country in which he is operating in.

However, even though these challenges have been impactful and sometimes severe, he believes that in any difficult situation, he strives to find hope even though that doesn’t mean that he sees “everything as beautiful” he says.

To understand more of the context in which Goshtasbi is creating artwork, he tells us a story about the beginning of his photography career in 2013 when he was working on a project that expressed the restrictions and violence against Iranian women. “After the completion of my photo collection” he says, “my model (she) forced me to delete the photo collection due to the pressure of her family and their Islamic beliefs”.

These challenges which he refers to as both “bitter and sweet events” finally led him to the current style that you see from him today, self portraiture in which he can convey deep meaning through total control of the image and what is in the frame.

Goshtasbi mentions that “although these issues (violence against women) were always my concern and I’ve dealt with them again in other projects”, that it was these situations that drove him to be the model in his own photographs in order to avoid problems like this happening again.

“all of my photos are in farms and nature because I worked many days on farms as a working man. I whispered my dreams while working, and the farms are full of whispers of promises that I made to myself”

As far as what inspires this unique genre in which he has crafted for himself, Goshtasbi reiterates that his past, his emotions, and his overall concerns all affect his art and therefore become the subjects of the photos themselves.

“As you see” he says, “all of my photos are in farms and nature because I worked many days on farms as a working man. I whispered my dreams while working, and the farms are full of whispers of promises that I made to myself”.

This experience in the landscape as a labourer is deeply engrained in his creative psyche. He says that he "will never forget those days and it will forever be a source of growth for me”.

As much as the conceptual planning, influences and process is central to Goshtasbi’s work, the part of creating that he likes most is when he sees the final result of the image. It is at this moment that he feels more alive than ever, and that "repeating this moment and feeling has become extremely addictive”.

Constantly making new artwork is both emotionally and creatively taxing for artists. For Goshtasbi he sees “creativity as an exercise that I have been doing casually since childhood”. Furthermore, he finds inspiration in being present and observing in the moment, seeing and hearing his surroundings in order to visualize and conjure up creative ideas.

When looking at his surroundings, he likes to ask the philosophical question “what else can this be except what it is?”. This type of philosophical thinking is reflected in the surreal and uncanny images that he creates, where reality is distorted even though the images feel natural, organic and undoctored.

Goshtasbi has recently held a solo exhibition of his work in partnership with Artifact Dot Art in Iran, and he continues to create new artwork amidst the social and political challenges that his country is enduring.

As for his long term plans, Goshtasbi responds that his focus is not only on the Web3 space but on his art in general. He desires to spread his artwork for the world to see and most importantly find effective and useful ways to create an impact with it.


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