I aim to capture the essence of a scene, be it a location or an activity. I simply use the camera as an optical instrument with which to create abstract expressions of what I feel is present. Though remaining recognizable, the subjects are not represented exactly as they appear to the human eye. By submitting them to abstraction using a manual process, I intend to encapsulate an intrinsic quality. In effect, the images are perceived in a more intuitive way.
2017 Pulse Art Miami, Indian Creek Park, Miami/USA
2017 Fine Art Photography Awards, London/UK
2017 Galerie Sakura, Paris /FR
2016 World Art Fair Dubai, Dubai/UAE
2016 Galerie Sakura, Paris/FR
2015 Concours Photo Ville de Calais/FR
2015 Whiteconcepts Gallery, Berlin/DE
2014 Galerie V17, Berlin/DE
2013 Salon de la Photo, Paris/FR
2012 Galerie V17, Berlin/DE
2009 Ministry of Art and Science, Wiesbaden/DE
2009 69th Photographic Salon Tokyo/JP
2008 ArtMbassy Gallery, Berlin/DE
Nominee, Fine Art Photography Awards. London 2017
3x Honourable Mention, International Photography Awards, Los Angeles 2013
Honourable Mention, International Photography Awards, Los Angeles 2012
Winner‚ The 69th International Photographic Salon Of Japan, Tokyo 2009
Winner, Datacolor Competition, Zurich 2009
Jazz with a Camera – About the pictures of Cristobal
“Just like in the early days of photography, when it found its way into art, painting progressed from naturalism into abstraction. In the same way our craft needs to develop further in an artistic sense in the age of digitalisation and smartphones. I chose the path of abstraction in photography; a purely manual and artisanal technique without digital manipulation,” says visual artist Cristobal.
Cristobal describes a special moment in which the desire for simplification, for abstraction, suddenly and surprisingly became concrete for him: a day at Venice Beach in Southern California. The beach promenade, the “Ocean Front Walk”, is an open-air stage for artists and musicians. There, Cristobal experienced the free, spontaneous and improvised way of playing jazz music as a direct model for his own creation. In that moment, he decided to develop a subjective approach to his photography. Everything should be new, intuitive and subjective, jazzed up.
Now, his work no longer depends so much on details. Instead, the psychological allure of a parallel world, characterised by fuzziness and blurring, is more important, as the artist says: “jazz with the camera, free interpretation of what is present”; this is how he has described the process of finding these images that originate solely through manual handling during exposure.
Cristobal’s new group of works is an example of how enthusiastically artists are researching the possibilities of abstract photography, which now has a long history. The photograms of Christian Schad or László Moholy-Nagy – drawings of light on photographic paper, photographs generated without a camera – are among the important early examples of abstract photographic art. Most notably, the Bauhaus teacher László Moholy-Nagy formulated his vision of abstract photography back in the early 20th century: “Painting without pigment, only with pure light in the borderland between painting and photography.”
Yet the history of photography is only one of Cristobal’s sources of inspiration. Above all, the artist finds his themes in life itself. This is exactly what he is searching for in his “American Dream” series.
This takes him to Las Vegas, where, in the light spectacle of the casino buildings at night, he captures astounding aerial images of this multi-coloured, glittering, shining, mythical city. In no other place is the American Dream more present. The words, “Anything is possible,” electrify the city – visualised here through the rays of coloured light that seem to carry the wild goings-on out of the spectacular buildings and into the world outside.
His search also takes him to the beaches of California, where he pours the soul of surfing, the spiritual character of wave-riding, into auspicious photographs whose soft, pink-blue fuzziness once again evokes the sweet myth of the West Coast: a countercultural, anti-materialistic myth of life in harmony with nature.
He also finds inspiration in Californian pools, where beautiful women glide through the refreshing blue. Here, Cristobal shows us utopias, images of yearning, a Californian hedonistic dream. The models for these works are to be found less in the sphere of photography than in painting. Think, for example, of the pictures of swimming pools by the English painter David Hockney, who lived in California for some time in the Sixties. The brightness of his pictures and their seductive atmosphere are recreated in Cristobal’s photographs.
These pictures of American myths are examples of the allure of photography, which is always new. They reside in a visual borderland between painting and photography. Cristobal blurs the traces of reality in his work, without wishing to dispense with it altogether. Things are merged together and given a sfumato effect, and they leave the sphere of reality. In this way, imaginary, atmospheric images, or visions, are generated.