Far from the smog and glamour of Tehran, down by the Persian Gulf, in the port city of Bushehr, lives a young photographer named Hossein Zare. Self-taught, self-motivated and extremely talented, he is the recipient of many photography awards, including (for added trash glitter value) a shout out by Jared Letto on his blog.
Remember Walter Mitty? If he would go to Bushehr, Hossein is who he would be going to visit. Their dreams share the same visual vocabulary, welcoming vast landscapes filled with harmony and promise. How nice to find someone who’s dreams look like yours.
Hossein’s photos are surrealist. Not in a “symbolic donkey with a cat’s head” kind of way, but in a vast dreamscapes way. Lands where everything is possible, it’s just up to you to dream far enough.
He tells me his starting point is often spending time with an archive of unassuming photos he has taken of his surroundings in Bushehr or the shores of the Persian Gulf. He then uses Photoshop to manipulate the photographs into his wonderful visions – a great reminder that rather than being a tool for giving impossible proportions to 16 year old models, Photoshop was actually made to push what a camera can do further towards what a brain can dream up.
His photos take us traveling to new places, from our world to his. They are a journey and an adventure.
His characters are always alone, but never seem lonely. Silently walking into the distance.
He often uses himself in his work, but he is by no means self-absorbed. I ask the question: “what do you wish for” – to which he responds: “Simply the happiness of those around me”. I ask, “but what about you” he replies: “When the people around me are well and happy then I have nothing to be unhappy about”.
His work explores emotions, feelings, outbursts of passion but also the relationship between humans and nature. About the photo which features the sun (below) he tells me “I was simply wondering what it would be like to be friends with the sun”.
Whilst Hossein’s work is often a beautiful show of human emotions, I believe that above all else, they express true freedom. Free from any hinderance, the characters walk towards or simply plan out their destinies.
Photos © Hossein Zare