Kicking It Old School: The Photography of Anne Kristoff

Ladies by Anne Kristoff

Ladies by Anne Kristoff

I can’t get enough of Etsy! If you’re not familiar with this online gem, it’s a homemade everything paradise. Treasures abound, and one such find is the photography of the lovely Anne Kristoff. Based in NYC, Kristoff’s work incorporates an impressive bevy of photographic methods and cameras. From the beautifully unpredictable Holga, a 35 mm Pentax SLR, her cell phone and even a classic, DIY pinhole camera, she has embraced experimentation. Her work speaks to this approach in its broad range of subject matter: Southern bar interiors, road signs, carnival rides, and rural and urban landscapes. The images have a dreamy, whimsical snap shot quality, almost the personification of fleeting moments and memories. This is most notable in the Holga images, with their vignetted edges and soft focus.  Shot in a variety of locales, the work possesses a documentary feel; this sentiment is echoed in her write-ups of each image on her Etsy store page, in which she gives a brief often hilarious anecdotal context to each image. With digital photography so mainstream,  it’s refereshing to see a photographer still doing it the old-school, film way. So get your nostalgia on, and add some Anne Kristoff to your collection. I know I will be!

Among my favorites are Enchanted ( this was taken with an old film point and shoot with probably 400 speed film. I was on the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota – it’s a little strip in the middle of nowhere with the huge metal sculptures along it”); Carried Away (“this was taken at an annual fair in upstate NY. We used to go there every year when I was a child and it holds a lot of fond memories for me. That ferris wheel is sort of the visual representation of that feeling”); Easy Like Sunday Morning (“that’s my bed. I loved the way the light was streaming in through the windows”);  and my personal fave, Ladies (” taken in a subterranean pool hall in Nashville”), all of which can be seen below.

Read on for an interview with Anne Kristoff in which she explains her process and inspiration.

So where are you from and what’s your artistic background?

I grew up in CT but have lived in NYC for 20 years. I am a music publicist in addition to my photography and I do some blogging and travel writing as well. I have a BS in communications from NYU but no formal art training. I also make mixed media collage.

What kind of camera(s) and photographic processes do you use?

I have an old Pentax ME Super that was my mom’s in the 70s and a Canon Rebel EOS 200 with a Sigma lens, 2 point and shoots, a Holga and a pinhole made from an oatmeal box and another made from an old film paper box. I used to refuse to shoot color and refuse to shoot digital. But I shoot a lot on the go while on road trips (drive by shooting) and need something small and unobtrusive so I began using digital point and shoots. Also, after watching a documentary on William Eggleston and another on Henri Cartier Bresson I began to realize that digital and point and shoot is almost the next evolution of the egalitarian nature of what they did in democratizing photography (both in taking/making photos and the subject matter). I also have an Argoflex 75 medium format camera that I shoot with but have not experimented with yet as far as putting film in it – it takes 620 but I think I can put 120 in it. I’m not a camera snob. I like to experiment. I even get interesting images from my cell phone. I think I’ll always do a mix of hi and low tech.

How does this inform your work?

There is a richness to film photographs that you just don’t get with digital. Lower tech stuff – the Holga and pinhole cameras are also good for giving you a moodiness that you can try to achieve via post-processing with computer programs but…I used to find it really inauthentic but people are really creating amazing effects. There is an art to it. I am interested in processes and try to not to judge.

What projects are you currently working on?

Right now I’m developing some photo based products (i.e. pendants, blocks, etc). From a photo standpoint, I have a few projects that have been swimming in my head  – documenting the widows of St. Anthony’s on Houston St., and something Army related when I begin splitting my time between NYC & Ft Rucker AL (my fiancé is getting stationed at Ft Rucker in July). Also, I just did my first fair/market last weekend – the Brooklyn Flea in Dumbo.

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