Azita Gandjei uses her camera to explore identity and connection. Her art is inspired by her extensive childhood travels, including living in Iran and the UK. Exposure to clashing cultures has compelled Gandjei to seek out universal patterns that form the essence of people, places and nature.
Gandjei uses natural light to disentangle and abstract the main subject from its surroundings. She has a preference for high contrast images that reduce the subject to its pure form. Her practice is focused on two forms of universal patterns, Nature and Human Nature.
"I use Jungian Archetypes in my figurative work, to depict the universality of the human condition. In nature, I look for abstract designs, form, pattern formation and color in leaves, flowers, roots, kelp, ocean waves & foams. Sometimes, I use double exposure to combine figurative and nature images to depict our inter-connectedness with other living forms. Those images are part of my conceptual work."
One of Gandjei's biggest inspirations is the California coast. "There is a wild, rugged beauty to it. In particular, I love photographing at Edward Weston’s former residence, Wildcat Hill house and the surrounding area. The place embodies the history of the region. Entering their windy driveway to the house feels like going through a time warp. I am transported to the heart and soul of Northern California Coast. The place encapsulates the history of the region. It is timeless. As such, I am able to forget my sense of self and experience the immense beauty of the region.
Traveling is a way for me to detach from who I think I am. It is a way to lose my sense of self, how things are, or should be. Experiencing an unfamiliar culture brings me face to face with my many masks--my ego. It highlights my assumptions and belief system. It broadens my perspective and expands how I see things. As such, it has a profound impact on every aspect of my life, including my work and what I choose to photograph."
Based in San Francisco, Gandjei appreciates the local art scene and its history. "Its is one of America’s leading art centers and hubs. There is strong support for individual artists through various programs such as open studios, Art Bias, SFCamera Work, TalkArt, as well as the various museums and meetups."
During 2020 Gandjei plans to have a featured show at Gallery House, in Palo Alto. She is also working on a project exploring the relationship between the popular forms of lighting in photography and how these styles influence the result of our beliefs, assumptions, views of nature and our relationship to it.