Hero der Woche

Jeff Czum's Photos Are Minimal Magic

Welcome to Hero of the Week, an ongoing series sharing stories from some of the best photographers in the Pexels community.

Freelance creator Jeff Czum creates fantastical worlds out of everyday scenes. There's a very magical feel to Jeff's photos, even though they tend to feature regular places. He's an expert at what he calls "minimal makeovers": removing distraction from a shot to highlight the most important elements.

We reached out to Jeff to find out more about what drives his photography, and he shared how he uses his work to express difficult feelings and find a powerful creative outlet during the strange stressful year that 2020 has been.

Photo von Jeffrey Czum · Photo anzeigen

Where are you based, and what do you do?

I’m a freelance digital creator from Buffalo, New York currently utilizing my "quarantine time" to make 2020 a little more tolerable. While photography and graphic design isn’t my full time job, it’s something I’ve always been drawn to, and will constantly make time to put myself out there.

I guess I would say it’s one of the only outlets where I allow myself to become completely vulnerable and try to show exactly what’s on my mind.

Pexels: How long have you been taking photos, and how did you get started?

Jeff: When I was 11 years old, my parents bought me a super cheap disposable camera for a trip to the Grand Canyon. I’ll always remember the feeling I had when I got them developed and saw that there was something there and that they actually turned out.

I fell in love immediately with photography and have always found myself going back on and off throughout the years. It wasn’t until the past year or so where I actually developed a serious commitment to photography and graphic design.

What camera gear do you use?

I’m a little all over the place but I try to shoot an even balance between film and digital (Canon EOS 5D Mark IV for digital and a Canon AE-1, Yashica Mat 124G for 35mm and medium format film).

What's your favorite type of photo to shoot, and why?

I will always love shooting analog photography as that’s what started it all for me. There is a sense of patience that goes into it as well as the physical aspect of it all. You really have to plan for the shot, and there’s just something about the look and feel you can’t replicate digitally.

Photo von Jeffrey Czum · Photo anzeigen

What inspires your photography?

The cliche answer would be "I take inspiration from almost everything around me," but the current state of the world has really been driving me to speak my mind and attempt to create a story through each new piece I create. I find myself pushing my own boundaries with each new photo.

Tell us about a favorite photo on your Pexels profile. Why is it your favorite?

Photo von Jeffrey Czum · Photo anzeigen

I think I would have to go with this one. This was created right at the start of the Covid lockdown, when I wasn’t going out to shoot as much (for obvious reasons). I chose a photo I took in Paris back in 2018 and gave it a "minimal makeover." The text was added in Photoshop as my way of venting, and it was really the start of a new series that I’ve been working over the past six months.

Who are some other photographers or artists who inspire your work?

There are so many artists that have been using this time as a creative outlet and it’s been really inspiring to see. I love what photographer Tony Kelly has been working on lately. His use of color and story telling is just un-comparable.

Tyler Shields is another photographer that I absolutely love. When it comes to portrait photography, he absolutely kills it.

Photo von Jeffrey Czum · Photo anzeigen

What is one goal you have for your photography?

As corny as it may sound, I have always felt most comfortable when I’m behind the lens of a camera. I absolutely love how a quick scene can create such a vibrant story for the viewer and if I can ever add to that in any way, I’ll be happy.

Pexels Heroes is our invite-only community of the top photographers on Pexels. Find out more and apply to join here.

Photo von Jeffrey Czum · Photo anzeigen

Photo von Jeffrey Czum · Photo anzeigen

Photo von Jeffrey Czum · Photo anzeigen

Photo von Jeffrey Czum · Photo anzeigen

Bedanke dich bei Jeffrey Czum

Geschrieben von Pexels-Team · Nov 18

Diesen Artikel teilen

Grisha Stern

Born in Siberia, based in Moscow, photographer Grisha Stern brings magic to editorial shoots.

rikka ameboshi

Japanese photographer Rikka Ameboshi finds the poetry in everyday life with instant film.

Elijah O'Donnell

The Ukrainian photographer loves the magic and mystery of nighttime shoots.

jasmin chew

Toronto photographer Jasmin Chew shoots dreamy portraits in the most magical outdoor locations.

Jeffrey Czum

The New York State photographer creates fantastical worlds out of everyday scenes.

Philip Justin Mamelic

The Filipino photographer takes dreamy portraits guaranteed to inspire.


The Toronto artist has been creating wild and colorful photos ever since she was a creative kid with a pink digital camera.

Nugroho Wahyu

Indonesian photographer Nugroho Wahyu shoots perfectly minimal portraits and lifestyle snaps.

Sinitta Leunen

From portraits to landscapes, Belgian photographer Sinitta Leunen is carving out her own photographic niche.

Deden Dicky Ramdhani

Bandung photographer Deden Dicky Ramdhani captures portraits with a cinematic feel.

Arnie Watkins

Photographer Arnie Watkins is always on an adventure, shooting wherever it's warm and sunny.

Nadi Lindsay

Capturing lush landscapes, delicious breakfasts, and city streets, Nadi Lindsay looks for the beauty in every scene.

Choose your language: English Português Español Català Deutsch Italiano Français Svenska Bahasa Indonesia Polski 日本語 繁體中文 简体中文 한국어 ภาษาไทย Nederlands Magyar Tiếng Việt Čeština Dansk Suomi Українська Ελληνικά Română Norsk Slovenčina Türkçe Русский