By: Barry Weintraub
Entertainment Daily, June 2000

Hossein Farmani was born in Tehran, Iran, the son of a middle class iron worker in a family of three brothers and three sisters.

Growing up in the city of Shiraz, Hossein began demonstrating his organizational skills at the age of 9, when after developing an interest in
acting...he founded the Black Cat musical theater group which grew to tour cities across Iran. Hossein also happened to live near a photography processing studio and was so curious he would take the discarded chemicals and tried experimenting to see what "developed". Perhaps this was the very start of what was to become his true passion and calling in life?

Upon graduating high school, Hossein left his native country for the United States, where he planned to study Cinematography. But once here, Hossein could not ignore this new interest and love for photography. His path was set on a course to learn all he could about the field, Hossein obtained his degree in photography from Orange Coast College and was immediately recruited to teach at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, California. Hossein's professional photography experience led him into trying his hand at publishing, a new forum for his art, founding the award winning "International VUE", the first EVER Los Angeles based fashion magazine. After the success of Vue, Hossein developed yet another new venture. This time, he chose to combine his passion for photography with his experience in
publishing. FotoFolio was the result of that effort, born to promote the work of contemporary photographers across the country. FotoFolio too, won numerous awards of it's own and is in the permanent collection of The Library of Congress.

After little more than a decade in America, Hossein Farmani was already a living billboard for the American dream. In ventures of his own choosing, Hossein proved time after time that a good idea and hard work can result in great satisfaction and accomplishment.

The success of VUE and FotoFolio served to immerse Hossein in the arts community, where he soon found himself losing artist friends and acquaintances due to a newly known disease, AIDS. Hossein was at the very forefront in creating a benefit/auction, at a time when the general public was a fearful at the very mention the word. The Focus On AIDS (FOA) Foundation, was established in 1987, a volunteer-based non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to auction photography, donating 100% of its net proceeds to AIDS research, care and education. To date, FOA has raised over $3 million. Through FOA the world's top photographers donate their prized works to raise funds that can save lives. Contributing artists have included: Herb Ritts, Greg Gorman, Annie Leibowitz, Richard Avedon, Bruce Davidson, Horace Bristol, David Bailey, Bruce Weber, and William Claxton. To date, FOA has created the first Children's AIDS Hospital in India (Asha Kirana) and is about to open doors to a "safe house" Arnold's House, for AIDS street orphans in Tanzania, among many other hands on organizations directly benefitting from it's funds.

In the aftermath of the September 11 tragedy, while most people were still in a state of shock, Hossein decided he had to be proactive and "do something". He immediately  organized a fund raising auction entitled "Art for New York." Three weeks later, using his contacts, Hossein convinced artists from all over the U.S. to donate their work and in one afternoon, raised nearly $100,000. All proceeds went to help the children of New York cope with the trauma from the attacks on their city.

Launching magazines and creating charities aside, one of Hossein's dreams was to have an "Academy Awards" type ceremony honoring the long overlooked iconic masters who have made such an impact the art of photography and in our lives. That seemingly wistful idea became an incredible reality when 8 years ago, the world renowned Lucie Awards came to be. The Lucie Awards is now synonymous with the greatest achievements in photography today. It's foundation has created mentoring programs, scholarships and funded grants to insure future masters their voice in visual expression. Hossein, spends much of his time in Europe, but far from relaxing sipping coffee at a   sidewalk cafe, he's gone on to establish the highly regarded, Px3, (Paris Prix Photo) an outstanding competition based within the European photography community. The list of art festivals that he has formed include the Istanbul Photo Festival, Cambodian, and Burmese Film Festival. Hossein has made photo festivals around the globe and has generously offered to help others to do the same in their own communities.  In Los Angeles in the Spring, Farmani has created, MOPLA, a month long photo event that includes venues throughout the city, with projections, gallery shows,  seminars, workshops, with a huge participation of known and newly discovered photographers world wide coming to participant in this major event. Fresh Look and Fresh Fair was formed to help emerging and established photographers connect with top level reviewers to get feedback, as well as display and sell their work to a willing and enthusiastic public who throng to buy it directly from the artist.    Hossein seemingly just can't resist new challenges, not only in photography, but in illustration, the Green Awards, International Design awards, Scarlet, an all woman's roster of talent, in many creative arts areas and many more proactive events and festivals his name appears on their board as a member or organizer. Hossein is also a regular reviewer of many other renown photography programs internationally such as Arles, Perpignan, Cali, Palm Springs Photo Festival, Miami Snap and so many others that this list alone would fill the page.    Hossein privately owns one of the largest collections of photography in the United States. He has championed photographers he believed in and it has paid off in acquiring their work, long before they became famous, His eye for doing this is a gift in itself. In every sense of the word and in every proactive way possible, Hossein Farmani is living, with a passionate and compassionate eye, what he loves most: creating, nurturing, impacting and involving, in every way possible, a promotion of all aspects of "The Art of Photography" to a VERY grateful world-wide community.

To speak with Hossein Farmani, you can reach him at:

Farmani Group