Keep Dreaming: Inspiration from a friend across the world

A few years ago, I met Hamzeh Mohammad Hosseini a young award-winning Iranian photographer who has become a dear friend. I admire his work, passion, intellect, creativity, curiosity, and of course, friendship & opportunity for cultural exchange. Although this world is immense and our everyday lives and experiences as global citizens so far apart, we all walk together upon the same threads of the human condition that connect us to one another — and it is here, within this web of understanding, that we are able to truly connect. I am thankful to know Hamzeh and blessed to have the opportunity to learn from him — about photography and life.

Hamzeh graciously shared some of his images made in Iran and abroad, and answered a few questions about himself and his craft.

Thank you, my friend, for insight and inspiration during this difficult time as people around the world struggle to survive, make sense, and stay creative during the global pandemic and its aftermath.

 What first made you interested in photography?

One day when I was fourteen, I saw a television documentary that discussed the mechanics and operation of single-lens reflex cameras. And that really caught my attention. After seeing the show, I became interested in cameras and of course photography, and after a while, I bought a Russian camera (ZENIT 122).  I learned photography myself by studying, practicing, and experimenting. My training and experience was very limited, but I worked hard to pursue my dream.

This is one of the first photos I took at the age of 14 with my Russian camera

Where is your favorite place to photograph in Iran & why?

I have always loved traveling and photography and it does not matter where the destination is. I have traveled almost all over my country and taken many photos. But I like Oramanat very much. The reason is that I am originally Kurdish and I am very interested in the Kurds and the rich culture and lifestyle of the Kurds. Oramanat Hewraman is a mountainous region in western Iran and borders eastern Iraq and has beautiful and pristine landscapes and very warm and kind people. I have traveled to this area twice and I have enjoyed it a lot and I have taken many photos there.

Two Kurdish men talking in a village in the Oraman region

 If you could photograph anyplace in the world for 3 months, where would you go?

Most definitely, my answer to this question is Afghanistan because Afghanistan is one of the most challenging and unique countries in the Middle East and has a lot in common with my country, as well as linguistic and cultural commonalities. Their years of coexistence with war and life under the shadow of war and their resistance against foreign and domestic enemies can be a unique subject to tell through very interesting and different stories. However, similar stories have been told many times by professional photographers.

 Any advice for beginning photographers?

“It doesn’t matter what camera you choose for photography, a loving and receptive heart is the creator of the image, not the camera.”
Paul Martin Lester

About Hamzeh:
Hamzeh Mohammad Hosseini, a native Iranian, was born in 1983. Although he graduated in Control Engineering (Instrumentation major), he has been seriously engaged in photography since 2010 and is self-taught. He has worked as a professional photographer since 2012, including employment with several Iranian news agencies such as Mehr news (MNA), Fars news (FNA) and Tasnim news (TNA). Now, he is mainly focused on documentary photography concerning social issues in Iran.

See more about his award-winning project, “Where is Your Child?” here:

Where is your child?

About 26,000 children who are orphaned or do not have proper care live in Iran under the protection and support of the national Welfare Organization, directly or indirectly. Of these, 85% of them are from families whose parents are unable to properly care for their own children.

Follow Hamzeh on Instagram!

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