“I wanted to create a portal to show the best of the best, inspiring everyone to be more competitive and fight for a spot in the magazine,” Wabe said. The monthly’s first issue in October featured dozens of photos from expats across the globe, as well as informative, photo-laden articles on topics such as “Getting the Right Colors” and “Effective Composition.” The issue also showcased artistic works such as “The Natural Beauty Project,” an undertaking by Irish photographer Aoife Casey that spotlights Korean women who have pushed back against the social pressure to get plastic surgery. Another article highlighted the rise of Jorge Toro, creator of the website My Seoul Photography. The article told how Toro went from having a general interest in photography and a simple DSLR to developing his own style, which ultimately led to him becoming a profes-
sional nightclub photographer. PIK also runs a Facebook page with additional submissions. Aside from organizing work into themes such as “fall foliage” and being a great place to check out photos of Korean landscapes, people and festivals, the page serves as a place to connect with other photographers and communicate with the PIK team. There are no limitations to the kind of work they welcome, but, according to Wabe, the panel does place high standards on quality. “It’s not only limited to composition, but also technique, creativity and post-processing,” he said. Wabe added that the purpose of the site is not to establish a members-only community of elitists. Rather, the magazine aims to serve as an inspirational tool for others: “Learning occurs when we are inspired by work that is better than our own.”
PIK evolved from Wabe’s previous online magazine, Art Elemento, which featured artwork from expats in Gwangju, where Wabe lives. With a background in graphic design, Wabe ran the site himself for two years, but with a lack of support from the surrounding community, he was forced to shut it down. While working on Art Elemento, his network of photographers grew, and he decided to try and expand to a larger, nationwide audience. In order to get PIK running, however, he needed to reach out and enlist the help of a team of volunteers to take on roles such as editing, social media management and translating, to name a few. “During (my time with Art Elemento), I took most of the duties, from design to layout, PR and contacting artists,” he said. “Wearing so many hats on a project leads to mediocre work. I didn’t want PIK built on the same structure, and so before taking off I spoke with key people that I wanted on my team, asking them to take over important roles.” The magazine is picking up steam, with submissions and viewership growing larger every month — it has hundreds of “likes” on Facebook and a growing list of
followers at their Twitter handle, @PikEditor. The October issue reached over 12,000 views and PIK’s rise in popularity has Wabe eager to find sponsors so he can get the magazine in print. “We know we are just a baby, and there is much growing to do, but this baby is growing pretty fast,” he said. His most aggressive goal for next year is to offer a print book with the best work of 2013–14 and make that a yearly publication. “The quality of work that we have received will make a solid and beautiful publication not only for people who are photography lovers,” he said, “but for anyone who wants to see Korea from the eyes of expats.” Ultimately, he hopes this will help lesser known and aspiring photographers get exposed to a larger audience. “Everyone who has submitted pictures to us is very famous,” he said. “They just don’t know it yet.”
To view the online issues or more information or to submit your photos, visit photographersinkorea.com or facebook.com/ PhotogsInKorea.
Groove is Korea's English magazine for Insight, Travel, Culture, Dining and Shopping