The world of art is clouded by pretense, with critics inserting convention into what’s supposed to be born out of liberality. Case in point: before it could be considered an art form, photography wrestled with the disapproval of those who believed it could never be on par with painting and other traditional fine arts. Eventually, people accepted that there is such a thing as art photography. But just the same, art photographers have to navigate through standards and rules, which determine the quality of their work and the magnitude of their success.
Photographer Czar Kristoff, knows this all too well. He has presented his work in local and foreign exhibitions, online, and in print media. As the director of Every 2nd Project, an online photography exhibit, his goals are simple: to simulate discussion, and to inspire people to be better versions of themselves. His approach is simple as well: by presenting dialogue that resonates with our current climate, online.
“As long as the image shows an amount of sincerity, we are fine with it.”
Every 2nd Project was founded in 2012 by photographers Dago Santos, Arjay Arevalo, and Charles Buenconsejo. When it became inactive, Kristoff approached one of the founders and expressed his interest in continuing the project. “Initially it was supposed to be a portfolio site for photographers in Cebu, where the three founders are from. However, they had a difficult time finding the right photographers to work with, and then they met the photographers in Manila who share the same sentiments and interest. That’s how E2P began,” he says.
In 2016 and 2017, they relaunched the exhibit on Tumblr and Instagram, where images rest against a white background, with no title or description. “The idea to present the images as singles is to liberate the work from its original context, from the series where it came from, and most of all, from its author,” Kristoff explains. “The separation is an attempt to reveal the true sensibility of the image and the artist.”
Their current selection features both established and young photographers, and isn’t limited to purely digital content. They are also open to analog and manipulated images. “It is not our intention to show who is doing well with their practice and who isn’t, which is very common in most photography platforms,” Kristoff emphasizes. “We are interested in connecting rather than dividing.”
When asked about his criteria for curating images, or if there is any specific style he looks for, Kristoff simply says, “As long as the image shows an amount of sincerity, we are fine with it.” True enough, their gallery showcases different genres like abstract, landscape, street, black and white, and more. Some photos are more straightforward, like that of an exhausted kalesa horse or an old man alone on an unkempt bed for two. On the other end of the spectrum are the more experimental images, created through methods like double exposure or expired film.
It is a refreshing sight to see these works on social media. Even if Tumblr and Instagram have their share of quality photos, they have never been thought of as go-to places for art photography. However, in these modern times, social media is one of the most effective ways to present dialogue, so why should art photographers avoid such platforms?
“The only rules that I think we should follow are those that will enrich us, those that will liberate us,” Kristoff shares. “Through this exercise, we aim to free ourselves from the limitations of the medium and its history—that photographs must always end up in print, that photographic practice must always be solitary and not collaborative, and that showing in a physical gallery is the highest form of exhibition.”
Visit Every 2nd Project on Tumblr (http://every2ndproject.tumblr.com/) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/every2ndproject/), and follow their Facebook page for updates (https://www.facebook.com/Every2ndProject/).