(CNN)Hseyin ahin is a graphic designer and art director, but the Turkish artist could be best described as a dream catcher.
ahin uses photography, illustrations and photoshop to create surreal images inspired by his dreams and imagination. He then posts his fantastical works to Instagram, where he has accumulated a large and dedicated following of over 87,000 people.
On his Instagram profile, each photo collage is more mystical than the next: in one, a blue whale swims with mermaids through a forest and cliffs, while in another, a young monk holds the entire world in his hands. He has now recently started to experiment with the graphics interchange format’s moving images, commonly known as Gifs.
CNN spoke to ahin about his work process, how each work is received online and what inspires him to continue to creating one impossible scene after another.
What sort of possibilities does this type of photo enhancement allow for?
I produce the images that I share on social media because I personally enjoy it — I want to recreate a world that exists in my mind and showcase it through imagery.
I’m touching my dreams.
What response or emotion are you hoping to evoke with your photo collages?
I want to give a social message in some images, to draw attention to a subject in some, and to offer some extraordinary visions in others.
But the main focus is to imagine a fantastic scene and attract people by offering a surreal vision of reality.
How have your images been received online and on social media?
I get very good reactions.
People send me messages and interesting comments from all over the world.
What makes me happy is that people from different parts of the world share the same feeling when they see my images. I can say that they meet at the same point.
Sometimes people think that the images they see are an actual photograph and they ask me where I took it.
There are also many artists who embrace my style and it makes them want to improve their work as well.
You said in your bio on Instagram, “The facts are not beautiful.” What message are you trying to tell through your images?
What’s not beautiful is the ordinariness of facts — the facts that we know and we are used to.
The photo of a whale floating in the ocean does not mean much, but seeing a whale coming out of the middle of the desert can make people feel different. Photography can tell a story through its images alone.
Has growing up in Turkey influenced or inspired your artistic style?
Yes, I’m Turkish and in love with Turkish culture.
I believe that we have a quite wide imagination as a society. There are several innovative and crazy ideas that stand out in Turkish history. For example, Hezarfen Ahmed elebi, who is alleged to have created artificial wings and flown an un-powered flight. I also fell in love with the legendary tales of the maiden’s tower [Editor’s note: This is a Turkish fairy tale].
Which picture would you select as your favorite and why?
My favorite picture is the one [in which] I tried to tell the maiden’s tower story.
The story impresses me a lot and I feel very intense emotions every time I look at this image.
I’ve even been told by a few of my Instagram followers that when they looked at the picture, they wept.
When do you decide that a work is complete?
If the visual I work on reflects the state I created in my mind — in terms of everything: colors, lights, all the details.
If I then look at it and can get ‘into it,’ and really feel it, I say, “Okay, that’s it.”
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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