In this interview, Gonchi Rostán shares how his photography projects are related to Transpersonal Psychology, and gives us a hint about the workshops on multiple exposure, EBS, filmswaps and anaglyph photography he will host at this year's edition of EXP.22 (July 20th-24th.)
Hi Gonchi, could you introduce yourself to the readers of our Online Magazine?
Hi Lomographers, I’m Gonchi Rostán, a 31 year old experimental photographer from Uruguay. I’m passionate about film photography and my work is based on the concept of Reality. I’m also a transpersonal therapist, with training in systemic constellation. The integration of these fields of knowledge has been of great contribution to my artistic work. I’m co-founder of Behique Lab as well, an experimental film lab where we work with alternative developing processes, filmsoups and run workshops on experimental techniques. I also have a degree in Change Management.
Tell us about your photographic background. What is your story? When did you start photographing?
My interest in photography started back in 2016, when I quit the office life I was living until then (I worked at a private bank for nine hours a day) and started a year-round trip across the world with a camera as my partner. During that trip, I spent a long time in southeast Asia, India and Egypt, where the experiences I went through struck deep in me, to the point that my perception of reality changed significantly since then. This experience enabled me to discover other realities and approach different ways to see life and photography was my channel to materialize this shift that was being brewed inside me. Something like traveling outwards, to reach inwards. Since then, I’ve been studying transpersonal psychology and in between experimenting with film photography in a self-taught way, and through sharing with other artists from the analogue world that have come across my path.
Your photo projects are based on the concept of reality. Can you explain more about this?
Yes, that’s right. Since 2019 I’ve been working on an individual project that I called “La Otra Realidad” (The Other Reality) and I’m glad to share with you some pieces of this work. What’s reality? Where’s the limit between what’s real and what’s not? And in which parameters do we draw this limit? These are questions that are frequently on my mind, I am increasingly convinced by the idea that there is so much more to discover if we embrace the idea that we are spiritual beings living an earthly experience. This paradigm shift allows us to connect with our true potential as beings. Materializing in images what lies behind the veil of ordinary reality is my main challenge as an artist. The techniques with which I resonate most for this purpose are multiple exposures, EBS, redscale, color and effect filters, in-camera masks, expired film, ICM photography, light-painting and filmsoup with natural elements which have a symbolic meaning for me. “La Otra Realidad” brings to me the possibility to connect with different perception of creation, enabling myself to continue learning through a conscious experience, allowing synchrony and magic to do their part in creating unique frames.
How does your work as a transpersonal therapist affect your photo projects?
My photo project is, without a doubt, closely linked to my transpersonal training. In a few words Transpersonal Psychology seeks to claim the importance of spirituality in the psychotherapeutic approach. This point remains so complex that even the word "spiritual" sounds elusive, but we can refer to it as the search for a transcendent meaning, which goes beyond the intellect and the ego, and without it, life becomes arid or simply empty. The term transpersonal means "beyond" or "through" personal, so it generally invites people to contact with a more significant comprehension of reality. And this is precisely what I seek to do with my artistic work, to be able to see beyond what our eyes allow us to unravel. I define my work as conscious photography. This is, I reflect what is in my unconscious in a frame, afterwards when I look at that frame I am able to connect with my unconscious and make it conscious. It is the way in which I learn from myself and evolve through transforming the imperceptible into perceptible. In my opinion, that’s what art is, connecting with that creative essence that soaks everything, and is inside of every manifestation of life.
In an undeniably digital era, why did you choose analogue photography?
I think mainly because analogue photography preserves the essence of what photography is; paint with light. Although the digital age has brought advances regarding the immediacy of the processes, I still prefer to connect with the alchemy of the analogue world and impregnate the light on the film. On the other hand, analogue photography has given me uncountable creative possibilities, in which I don't know exactly what the final result will be, so I focus on enjoying the process. Something like trusting and letting my unconscious do the part of it. Experimental analogue photography is like a leap into the void, in which I invite myself to release control, giving free rein to my creative channel when it matches with luck, looking forward to create my own perception of existence.
You will be participating at the upcoming edition of EXP.22. Can you tell us what activities you will be hosting?
Yes, last year I enjoyed the EXP 21 as a participant and this year I have the beautiful challenge of hosting workshops at EXP 22. This is a great honor for me and also a wonderful opportunity to share my vision of photography and life with a community of amazing experimental artists from all over the world. On this occasion I will host workshops on multiple exposure, EBS, filmswap and anaglyph photography. We will also co-present a conference with Mayra Biajante on multiple exposure and photo-embroidery, a very interesting mix of techniques. So I would like to invite everyone to join us in Barcelona this summer in EXP 22. You will find a very horizontal artistic community, with plenty of artists eager to share and create new things in unison.
Who or what inspires your work?
I think what inspires me the most to create is being able to contribute in some way to a paradigm shift like the one I experienced a few years ago. Showing my way through my work allows me to reach more people who perhaps do not feel comfortable or in resonance with the life they lead, who in many cases do not even choose it in a conscious way. In some way, we are all artists because we have the power of co-create the reality we live in. We just have to take care of it, and that is usually the most difficult part, but enriching at the same time.
Do you have any interesting projects or collaborations planned that you would like to share with us?
Yes, I am pleased to tell you that we are preparing a collaborative project with Lena, a.k.a @lalouve, an artist with whom I feel many points of contact. So, I am very happy and honored to be creating something together. By way of advance, we are thinking of mixing as many experimental techniques as possible in a single roll. Could you imagine what madness that could be?
Check all the great works from Gonchi Rostán on his Instagram profile.
Ready to learn, teach and share experimental photography? Register to join EXP.22 before tickets are sold out. Payment allows access to the following activities: 40 panel discussion, presentations of projects and experiences, 80 workshops, 10 portfolio reviews and the possibility that your images can be selected to be a part of any of the 5 exhibitions.