Iko Salas is the photographer behind ARTEGOPH, a series of visual stories exploring what it means to be queer. We talk muses, goals and selecting subjects for his book.
YOUTH and ROLEMODELS
Did you have a role model growing up that influenced your decision to pursue photography?
To be honest, I don’t have, not until I knew Bj Pascual. He’s one of the best Fashion Photographers here in our country and ever since, I’ve been fascinated on the creative process when it comes to magazines. I collect them and scan through them and it just fuels my thoughts and soul.
What advice would you give to your adolescent self?
Don’t be afraid to feel what you truly feel inside, because at the end of the day, It is you who controls your life.
“It’s my medium to let other people know that we exist in the community.”
Can you tell us about your book, Artegoph, and the motivation behind creating it?
Well, ARTEGOPH is the Art of being a Gay Man. Basically, it was a product of random thoughts and a really bad break up. I channeled my heartache into a visual piece and from then on it benefited my viewers because they connected to some of my visual stories.
It is a form of my contribution to my community, by helping the younger generation to accept themselves more, to make them understand that it’s okay to be different, to be queer and to be a member of the LGBTQ community. It’s my medium to let other people know that we exist in the community.
Lastly, I want to be a good role model so that the younger generation have that “someone to look up to” growing up which I never had when I was younger.
How did you go about selecting subjects for the book?
I wanted to showcase different people, normal people, that have some story to tell and to share. I thought that by selecting “normal” inspiring people to be featured, my viewers could easily connect to my stories, compared to getting a model with a “good physique” that could play on their insecurities.
What has been one of the most impactful stories shared by one of your subjects that has stuck with you?
Good question, well the one with grief, my muse lost his partner because of cancer, it hit me so hard and ended up crying while working on the set – I can still feel the pain whenever I think of it.
“I learned that there’s nothing permanent in this world except change.”
What have you learnt about yourself this year?
I learned that there’s nothing permanent in this world except change.
Are there any young creatives that excite or inspire you for the future?
Excited for Paolo Dumlao, one of my favorite muses.
Goals for 2018?
Publish a visual book and create a space for young creative queers out there to inspire other queer lads.
Do you have any future projects that you can tell us about?
I’m currently working on a book about being gay here in the Philippines, well that’s the only thing I can share to you guys for now.
What would you graffiti on the back of a toilet door?