Czar Kristoff is a monochrome artist from the Philippines. His work, almost entirely in black and white, is a brave and sharp documentation of youth and dreams and anything in between. His pictures are fragments that make an incredible whole.
How is it for a young photographer in the Philippines?
It’s kinda difficult to be noticed unless you have such strong works and right connections. I struggled a lot in the beginning since I didn’t know the direction I wanted to take and I didn’t have formal training in photography but I eventually figured it out so yeah. I really don’t care what the mainstream media here think about my work. What’s important to me is to translate my ideas/visions properly and honestly without trying too hard.
How did your love for black and white develop?
Before I became obsessed with the works of black and white photographers that I looked up to, I was already fascinated with the old photographs of my grandparents which are usually in greyscale or sepia tone. I just think it’s beautiful how it truly captures the soul of the subject. So I think it just gradually developed.
What are your influences? What inspires you?
I do have a lot of influences and the list is constantly growing. I would say Ed Templeton, Charles Ray, Wolfgang Tillmans, Diane Arbus, etc. Their works speaks to me the most. Inspiration can be found anywhere and at any time. For me personally, I get inspiration from the street, from objects we overlook everyday, from dreams, my family and friends’ stories about death, confusions, desires, etc.
Where would you like to travel to and take pictures?
I want to go to South Africa or Europe someday but for now since I don’t have much money, I would like to explore the neighboring regions from where I live. I believe there’s a lot of undiscovered beautiful places here.
Which camera is your personal favourite?
I only have two cameras, my trusty Zenit-E which is analog and a Canon 550D which I usually use. I have to pick both as my favorite. 🙂
What is your dream project? What are you working on at the moment?
I have a lot of dream projects to be honest. I don’t want to set one particular dream project because once I achieved it, then what’s left. I think it is very important to dream continously. As of the moment, I’m compiling photographs for a zine I’m going to release soon.
Interview by Amanda M. Jansson