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[ PIK ] PHOTOGRAPHERS IN KOREA | ISSUE 8 , may 2014


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[ PIK ] PHOTOGRAPHERS IN KOREA | ISSUE 8 , may 2014


“When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.”

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p h o t o g r a p h e r s i n k o r e a . c o m

This issue is in honor of the victims of the Sewol. We would like to dedicate this issue to Korea as a nation and as our home. As parents and teachers living in Korea, words are not enough to express our sincere sympathy and heartache. We can only find comfort in the thought that life doesn’t end, but rather transformed; to be able to enter a bigger door. Tragedy should be utilised as a source of strength and hope should never be lost.

Joe Wabe

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ISSUE

CONTRIBUTERS JOE WABE

founder, design & art director

LORRYN SMIT chief editor

JORDAN VANHARTINGSVELDT press sub-editor

RELJA KOJIC

photograpy columnist contributer

YEOUL PARK translator

JOHN STEELE

photography editor & consultant

cover by Sinji Jung

[ PIK ] PHOTOGRAPHERS IN KOREA | ISSUE 8 , may 2014


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Mark Eaton

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24 Sinji

Jung

p h o t o g r a p h e r s i n k o r e a . c o m

Simon

J. Powell

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p h o t o g r a p h e r s i n k o r e a . c o m

Max Dannenberg

Dominic

C. Harris

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54 [ PIK ] PHOTOGRAPHERS IN KOREA | ISSUE 8 , may 2014


Spring The icy cold winds and freezing temperatures of winter have finally left us and the beauty of spring embraced the entire peninsula a little earlier than expected this year. The return of the warm weather brings an array of wild flowers to bloom all over the country making for a photographic paradise. A blanket of cherry blossoms, Abeliophyllum, Pruni, Magnolias and Canola (just to name a few) covers the country for just a few weeks and draws thousands of photographers out of hibernation. This spring we asked our readers to send in their favorite spring photograph and here we have chosen the best of the best. Thank you to everyone for their submissions. Enjoy!

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1- Joe Wabe 2- Aaron Choi 3- Can Nerse 4- Eric Hevesy 5- Macbeth Omega 6- Roy Cruz

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7- Marco Devon 8- Indy Randhawa 9- Jayne Cho 10- Jeku Arce 11- Julie Harding

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13 12- Lorryn Smit 13- Simon Slater 14- Scott Rotzoll 15- Eyok Wun Sim 16- Michael Sta Ana 17- Douglas Macdonald 18- Dylan Goldby

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19- Nathan Rivers Chesky 20- Martin Bennie 21- Paul Youn 22- Albert J. Kim 23- Steve Robinson

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[

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with Dylan Golby

1. Why photography? I’m terrible with words. It’s as simple as that. I have things to say and I find it easier to do that visually. I believe that if you can make an image that requires no explanation to be powerful, then you have succeeded.

that I can continue to produce photographs and that each will be something new keeps me walking out the door. Aside from that, I’m highly inspired by editorial photography. People like Gregory Heisler and Joe 2. What has been your biggest McNally keep me realising the value accomplishment so far regarding in this kind of photography.

your photography?

Getting over the fear of rejection. I always wanted to work with people, but could never muster up the courage to ask for what I wanted. It has also helped with sharing work. Now I just ask myself every time I approach someone, or upload a photo, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

3. What serves as your inspiration? Knowing that my next photograph will be better than the previous. I have a healthy disdain for everything I’ve produced in the past. Knowing

4. Who or what would you say is your biggest influence? Influence versus inspiration is a tough distinction. I am inspired by many different photographers to incorporate parts of their work into my own. I would say that Jeremy Cowart’s work has had the biggest influence on the way I approach my photography. It has given me one of my biggest lessons thus far; things don’t have to be perfect. We get so caught up in lens sharpness, perfect framing, and showing our subject so clearly, that we often forget to work on the art side. Sometimes it’s okay just to make a cool image.

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5. What is your biggest dream in photography? I want to continue making images, both for others and myself. Of course, I’d love to see my work in galleries, major publications, or in advertising. But that is all temporary. It’s pointless if you can’t keep doing it.

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[ Mark Eaton ]

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I am drawn to water. Is it because of some subconscious primeval longing for or memory of life’s beginning eons ago?

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Is it because of the times my father took me deep sea fishing off the coast of southern California? Those experiences of the ocean were awe inspiring, and I marvelled at the power and the mystery of the sea. Is it because of growing up in the American southwest, and venturing into the wilderness and backcountry areas of that region? Learning the location and accessibility of springs, natural pools, and streams in the desert meant beating the man-killing heat, if even for a short while. Those experiences taught me the importance of maintaining a clean environment and respecting nature. Is it because I embrace the dichotomous nature of water in that it is a giver and a taker of life?

tourist area in westward and eastward directions. I call the fishing villages located to the west and to the east the “working areas of the bay” for it is from these villages that men and women toil daily to fish and to harvest different types of seafood for consumption. It is from these working areas I conduct my longitudinal study of Suncheon Bay. The study has two major components: ‘The Boats of Suncheon Bay’ and ‘The People of the Mud’. While there are overlapping facets to the study, the two components are distinct.

It is possible that I may never fully understand why I am drawn to it. I long to understand the reasons why, but perhaps it is sufficient to only know that I do appreciate and love water, the seas, and the oceans. Perhaps that is enough for me to know.

Most of my photographs have a gritty textured feel and appearance. It reflects my view of how I actually see life in Korea. The reality of life on this peninsular country is downin-the-mud hard work. This grittiness more accurately and effectively shares the emotions and feelings of those who work diligently and hard to feed people.

Be it fate, fortune, circumstance, or good luck, I reside in Suncheon with my family. Though geographically larger than Seoul, Suncheon is a small city. Fortunately for me, I live close to one of my favorite locations in all of South Korea: Suncheon Bay. With relative ease, I can walk or bike to the well known tourist area of the bay; however, I don’t often go there. I prefer to take a municipal bus to any of the fishing villages which flank the

The current work of ‘The People of the Mud’ is intended to show a perspective of size and distance. Mankind’s relationship to Suncheon Bay is depicted by a harvester sledding on top the mudflat toward a fishery during the low tide phase. There are some fisheries close to shore, but there are many more fisheries far from shore. At first glance, one may wonder if the eyes are playing a trick when one looks out over the bay. No,

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something is definitely moving out there. Something is moving along that fence-like structure. That has to be a person.

the harvester toils at the nets collecting seafood. Distant from the shore, that person appears to move with ease around the nets, and sometimes over the nets themselves if need be. And it is. Governed by the tidal flows, With a minimal set of tools, a small the harvester kneels on a circular pad scythe-like blade, a more traditional on the wooden sled firmly gripping knife at the belt, and a pair of gloves, with both hands the large container the harvester kneels very low and that will be filled with the catch of stretches to reach into the net traps the day. It could be razor clams or it to collect the desired sea creature. could be crabs; it depends upon the Into mesh bags go the shellfish and season and the location of the fishery. the crabs. The harvester must tie the That container is the fulcrum needed bags containing the crabs, because to propel the sled, with one leg only, the crabs are of a mind to climb back across the bay. If it is a good day, the to safety. harvester will make a few trips from home base to the fishery and back. That tiny speck out on the mud eventually turns towards the home base The solitary harvester is alone with on the shore. Growing larger with his or her own thoughts while trek- each push of the leg, the form of king and working. Be it rain or shine, the person becomes more apparent.

Hunched, wiry, and lean are the harvesters. Though often a dot or a speck on the mudflats of Suncheon Bay, there isn’t anything insignificant about any of the harvesters or the work they do. It is they who provide the seafood we eat. These days when I sit and sup with my friends, I raise my shot of soju or my glass of beer and give a toast of praise and thanks to those who work on Suncheon Bay.

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[ Sinji Jung]

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For the last couple of years, I’ve taken photos and written essays of sweet grannies on my island home, Jeju-do, South Korea. I grew up on Jeju, but left the island soon after graduating from high school.

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For 12 years I lived abroad: studying in Japan, surfing in Indonesia, almost settling in New York. During those years, I tried to find somewhere to dig in my toes and build a new nest, but I never truly succeeded; people who I adored; encompasses sad and resentful emotions. Wherever my feet roamed, there was always something missing, an invisible, yet fundamental element within me; I felt like a broken kite floating in the air. When I returned to Jeju after my long voyage, I felt lost and found that many of my relationships had fallen apart. I soon found myself taking photographs as a means to face my reality and hold a mirror up to the fear, sadness, and disappointment of my recent life. If my feelings had wings to fly, or if my brain possessed the sanity to embrace my emotions, I would never have taken these self-portraits back then. Taking photos of myself was the only means by which I could transform the whirling negativities into figures of stillness.

Then I met the grannies (‘halmang’ in Jeju dialect). Most of them live alone in peaceful rural villages, set against the mountains and ocean. Kids long ago left their old towns to run away to the city and many halmang lost their beloved ones to the tragic Jeju 4:3 massacre (1948-1954) or the Korean war (195053). Depths of sadness are never truly comparable, but I realized my melancholy was as a speck of tiny dust in a vast galaxy whenever I listened to their stories. In a halmang’s universe, time passes slower and smoother. Without speaking too many words, their stories spread like endless tree-rings. Their houses now have so many empty rooms, but each is filled with warm legacies of acceptance. Encountering halmang gave me huge inspiration and wisdom. It helped me to overcome the sadness of loss and to gain an understanding of ‘han’. Han is a concept not easily translated because it compasses not only sad and resentful emotional, but also attitudes of acceptance, patience, hope, and progress.

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Since then, I have shared more than 40 stories and 250 images about the life stories of Jeju halmang in various newspapers and magazines as a freelance writer/photographer, in addition to stories of Jeju villages and traditional markets. At the same time I continue to shoot self-portraits. Life is always under construction, just as wrinkles continue deepening with the passage of time. It is not always easy to dissect and understand. However, I strongly believe that ‘understanding’ begins when we try to see something invisible. In Korea, we have an expression: “a candle does not illuminate its own shadow”. But my camera enables me to shine a light on the darker side of my life. Journeying through my camera, I finally feel a sense of being at home.

MaYa Sinji Jung is a multi skilled storytelling artist, trying to inspire people by her images, sounds, writings and smiles. You can view more of MaYa’s works on JPGmagazine(http://jpgmag.com/people/mayacafe), Flickr(http://www.flickr.com/photos/mayasinjijung/), or Facebook(https://www.facebook.com/MaYaSinjiJung) [ PIK ] PHOTOGRAPHERS IN KOREA | ISSUE 8 , may 2014


[ Simon J.Powell]

I am taking toddler steps ther an exaggeration nor a cal knowledge is rudimenta

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in the world of photography. It is neian embarrassment to admit that my techniary at best. ISO and shutter speed?

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I have the basics. HDR and Photoshop? Not a clue. Here is the little I have learned so far on my nascent journey. Since I started taking photos with any serious intent, just six months ago, I have been surprised by the number of times I encountered this most dubious form of praise: “Wow! Great shot! What camera did you use?” During my years working as a chef in England, despite receiving daily compliments from content customers, I cannot recall a single occasion when I was asked: “What oven do you use to confit the canard?” or “Which brand of pan do you favor for searing scallops?” If, in the culinary world, ingredients and skill are universally acknowledged to trump equipment, I believe the same should be true in the photographic realm. As photographers, all our necessary ingredients can be found in the world before our eyes and our skill in seeing is surely more valuable than the price of any camera. As these pages testify, I am increasingly inclined to work in monochrome. Black and white suits my natural predilection for shape, line and pattern, from which pretty or complex color easily distracts. Furthermore, I find color images of people sometimes accentuate the external, whereas monochrome can convey an impression of something deeper; it reveals our subject’s soul. On the subject of soul, for me subtler sentiment trumps the immediacy of sentimentality. This spring I felt no compulsion to take pictures of cherry 32


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blossoms, pretty girls, or pretty girls posing with cherry blossoms. Neither am I overly enthralled by the prospect of churning out foliage-fringed, soft-focused, sun-dappled shots of couples precariously poised on the brink of touching lips. I find that less is more. The same goes for captions – a word at the most. A good picture should communicate for itself. Despite living on scenic Jeju-do, I rarely shoot landscapes. Ironically, the rugged panoramas and kaleidoscopic colors of my island home have so impressed me that I doubt any photograph could ever really succeed in capturing their quintessential beauty. When we experience breathtaking scenery in the flesh, we engage not only our eyes but all the other senses we are restricted from using when merely viewing a reproduction on a piece of paper. These moments I prefer to enjoy immersively, unfettered by the burden of needing to capture the magic in a machine. Sometimes photography can steal our memories as we are in the process of recording them. Images that portray a photographer’s deep personal connection to the character of a landscape are undoubtedly of value, but I am still in the process of forging a meaningful relationship with Jeju.

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“Maybe the only thing each of us can see is our own shadow…we never see others”.

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I am currently working on my first personal project, Camera Obscura. A Chuck Palahniuk quote sparked my initial inspiration:

world. I am increasingly stimulated by the surrealism of reality - the curious and unusual that resides, overlooked, within the commonplace and everyday. I would rather dedicate myself to searching for my own interesting perspectives on the world through inquisitive observation, than resort to superficially appealing but ultimately trite tricks, such as long-exposure blurred traffic and misty water or gaudy and cartoonish post-editing.

“Maybe the only thing each of us can see is our own shadow…we never see others. Instead we see only see aspects of ourselves that fall over them…The same way old painters would sit in a tiny dark room and trace the image of what stood outside a tiny window, in the bright sunlight. The camera obscura. Not the exact image, but everything reversed or As I continue to nurture my craft, I hope to be constantly re-examinupside down.” ing, developing, going deeper, and Camera Obscura is a work-in-prog- becoming more lucid and free. I ress that brings together my inter- would be happy, in one year’s time, ests in street photography, line and to disagree with much of what I have shape, the heavy aesthetic impact of written here. Although I am always high-contrast black and white, and conscious of my actions with camera my desire to find new and intrigu- in hand, I admire Henri Cartier Bresing angles through which to view the son’s sentiment: “Thinking should

be done before and after, not during photographing”. There is a fine balance to be struck between reason and the unconsidered. By analyzing my results, methods and motivations at home, but relying chiefly on my instincts when shooting, I aspire to the day when my work may evolve from simply showing to truly being. Most of all, I intend to continue roaming unabated. Moving to Korea was essential in stimulating my interest in photography. Travelling and living abroad shatters the monotony of everyday life, forcing us to view life from fresh and original perspectives. It engenders a childlike curiosity in me at even the smallest details of the day. Wanderlust and wonder are intimately intertwined. Before buying new gear, I would always choose to buy new experiences.

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[ Max Dannenberg]

My name is Max Dannenberg Although I originate fro been living in and trave I was young.

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g and I am a German-Canadian photographer. om a small town outside Toronto, I have eling through over thirty countries since

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I was born into a family of travellers and creatively minded persons who led me through a diverse and alternative upbringing with both formal and informal educations in the arts. These formative years ingrained in me a longing to create and travel, which I carry on to this day. I started doodling abstracts as a kid but only really came to discover my preferred medium in university. My initial interest was in photography’s marriage between the technical and creative, as well as allowing me to apply my inner creative aspirations to my love of exploration. I fell in love with the science and physicality of photographic equipment and its unique ability to produce images. The camera fascinated me and I became enthralled in old camera technology, which would let me become knowledgeable enough to buy and sell vintage cameras on the side. This inevitably led to an obses-

sion with film photography and the whole analogue process from shooting to printing. Film and analogue cameras bring me back to a simpler time where hard work was needed to produce results. I have fallen to the emotional draw of the tactile experience of all mechanical cameras and the signature of film images. Shooting with analogue cameras which only have the essential controls for making an exposure let the camera get out of the way and let me focus on the experience beyond the camera and on my artistic process. Photography is a way to filter and explore my thoughts and feelings through its unique process, bridging my internal experiences and the external environment. It effectively links what is going on in the depths of my consciousness with what I am experiencing in the physical world. The process involves going out solo and getting lost in some place that draws

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me in. I often spend hours wandering through old, gritty, or forgotten neighbourhoods on a sort of autopilot, letting my mind run through its paces while looking for some sort of corresponding connection to reality. Although it is one of the only things I do where I am so consumed I often forget to eat for hours, it is also incredibly calming and grounds me like nothing else can. It essentially allows me to completely tune out the everyday humdrum and go into a sort of trance. In this sense, I do these sessions not only to produce images, but also as a meditative and therapeutic act. While my visions in photography are constantly evolving and diverging, the underlying assumptions and beliefs are a constant. Although pho-

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tographs seem to portray objective accounts of reality, they are fictions, which we manufacture and orchestrate through our vision and framing. This is reflective of how we construct and perceive visual thoughts and memories in the mind. This property of the photographic image allows for a play on what we perceive to be real in photographs. I aspire to accentuate this phenomenon by creating images that allow and cue the viewer to question and form his or her own motives and narratives behind the contents of the image as well as those of the photographer.

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[ Dominic C. Harris]

My name is Dominic C. tographer from Los Ang when I was born three m

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Harris. I am a fine art landscape phogeles, California, USA. My story starts months premature.

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My story starts when I was born three months premature. The first month of my life was a struggle, and doctors told my parents my survival was slim. Stories are told of me doing pull-ups on my incubator tubes. This remains my greatest obstacle to date. As a child, I can always remember gazing at the sky in my backyard or looking out a window, mesmerized by nature. It is almost natural that I now capture what I see as beauty and feel compelled to share it. I was always a shy kid, never really speaking much, but photography has given me more than words. At the age of twelve I moved to Las Vegas, NV and lived there throughout college. I was an intern at a public radio station in my college years and later I began my career as a radio personality in Las Vegas. I guess you could say I eventually overcame my timid nature. While I loved the field, I felt a different passion brewing in my heart. So, jumping into the unknown, I packed my bags and set off to Korea (for a teaching contract). That first year sparked an interest in photography, and I returned for a second year with every intention of photographing the different landscapes of Asia.

When it comes to photography I try to interact not only with the environment but also with the people around it. One day I noticed a man with his child playing with huge bubble blowers. The sunset was stunning, so I had an idea. I captured the scene through the bubble, a second lens. That day was one made timeless through these pictures. My ideal type of shoot is spontaneous. I’ll plan a time of day depending on what I’d like to accomplish, and freestyle it from there. I love letting the photos come to me, a bit like life. You put yourself in the right place for an opportunity and grab hold of it when it presents itself. In photography, this often comes in the form of a perfect scene. Another thing I love about taking photos is your ability to constantly evolve. I’ve gotten used to constant change and my photography is no different. I started off taking pictures of mostly sunsets on the California coast, and then I began taking more expressive photos that could be mistaken for paintings. Soon, I will begin working on a yearlong time-lapse project that will focus on my fascination with the sky in locations around the world. I can hardly wait to unveil this project and I’m very eager to get it going.

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Photography has given me a way to offer my energy to the world. I want to give people a certain feeling of tranquility and positivity when they view my work, and to highlight the beauty in nature. Ideally, I hope to inspire others to protect our planet and treat it with respect. Life is such a blessing. To go from barely making it into this world to traveling across it makes me appreciate it so much more. All my life I’ve felt I’ve been somewhat reserved, but photography has given me words more powerful than I could imagine. We are all here for a purpose, and it feels damn good when you think you’ve found yours.

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Into Athe Fire: New Direction

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#Douglas McDonald

The sun had begun to dip below the horizon as I set up my camera and tripod on a steep hill about 100 m from Saebyeol Oreum, an ancient volcanic cone in southwestern Jeju Island, and hunkered down in the cold to wait for the 2010 Jeongwol Daeboreum Fire Festival to begin. As darkness fell over the massive crowd of spectators below, a long procession of locals carried lit torches to the oreum, chanting and ringing bells along the way. Excitement began to build as torches were exchanged and a man stepped forward and lit the dry grasses that had been placed at the base of hill. I watched in awe as the entire hill erupted into a massive ball of flames. I quickly snapped a few photos of the blazing inferno before realizing the best action would be down below. I raced down the hill and made my way through the crowd as flames shot up all around me. The silhouettes of onlookers shimmering in the heat of the flames was fascinating and I snapped what would be my best photo of the night. Little did I know that one photo would change my life forever.

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As darkness fell over the massive crowd of spectators below, a long procession of locals carried lit torches to the oreum, chanting and ringing bells along the way. Excitement began to build as torches were exchanged and a man stepped forward and lit the dry grasses that had been placed at the base of hill. I watched in awe as the entire hill erupted into a massive ball of flames. I quickly snapped a few photos of the blazing inferno before realizing the best action would be down below. I raced down the hill and made my way through the crowd as flames shot up all around me. The silhouettes of onlookers shimmering in the heat of the flames was fascinating and I snapped what would be my best photo of the night. Little did I know that one photo would change my life forever. Nine months later I received a message on my flickr page from Todd Thacker, the editor of the local English language magazine The Jeju Weekly at the time. He liked the photo and asked me if I would be interested in having my work published in the magazine. “Of course!� I said and the rest is history. With no previous photojournalism experience I was thrown into the fire and over the next two years I was given a wide variety of assignments: an emotional memorial for Japanese victims lost in the March 11th, 2011 tsunami, electrically-charged protests over construction of a military base in Ganjeong on the south-side of the island, the grueling Jeju Iron Man triathlon, and the awe-inspir50


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ing synchronized cheering competi- for The Jeju Weekly was put to use tion at the Jeju High School Soccer at the Jeju 4.3 Memorial last month. Championships. Every year a vigil is held at the Jeju 4.3 Peace Park to honor the approxChange came to the magazine in imately 60,000 Jeju residents who late 2012, bringing with it a new ed- were killed in the 1948 Jeju Massacre. itor, Darren Southcott. I immedi- At 7 am, hours before the actual cerately meshed with Darren and 2013 emony would take place, I stood in a brought another flurry of exciting as- hall at the Peace Park and watched as signments, from the ancient shaman- an elderly man slowly scanned a wall istic rituals of Yeongdeunggut and covered with the names of people the colorful Buddha’s birthday cele- who had lost their lives in the tragbration to the fast-paced action of the edy. After several minutes, he raised Ultimate Frisbee Championships and his arm and pointed at a name on the atmospheric and hip Jeju Step- the wall. Then, as I positioned myself for a photo, his arm dropped and ping Stone and JET rock festivals. he quickly placed his hand over his I’ve had to learn on the fly: Where to mouth to muffle a cry, tears welling position myself to get the best imag- in his eyes. It was a powerful, decisive es. When to move in for a shot and moment. when to give the subject space. When to linger with a subject, waiting for The last three and a half years have just the right moment, and when to been some of the best years of my give up and move to another location life. I get to do what I love to do and for a better shot or angle. How to get the job has allowed me to grow as a close enough without being a distrac- photographer. It’s made me more tion. How to slow my thought process confident, both as a photographer down and take my time when events and as a person, and it’s made me feel good about the work I do. Thank you are moving quickly around me. to The Jeju Weekly and to Todd and All that I’ve learned while shooting Darren for giving me this wonderful opportunity.

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A Break from the

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#Chris Cusick

e Boredom

I’m paraphrasing a little here, but Spike Milligan once said that when you have no plan, nothing can go wrong. I didn’t know it at the time, but there was a lot more wisdom in those words than my young mind could appreciate. It would later become a sort of mantra of mine – one that would eventually inspire an entirely out-of-character decision. Had I given my law school peers too much notice of my “plan” to escape and become an English teacher in South Korea whilst working on my photography, they’d have petitioned to have me institutionalised. Fortunately I was on the flight to Incheon before they could even say “straitjacket.” I’ve not looked back since; I love where I am now and the creative influences around me. And I arrived here by following my gut instinct and going in the direction life seemed intent on taking me, without over-analysing it. Had I not done so, I’d likely be serving a 9 to 5 sentence in a lifeless London office block. It was time to apply the same life lesson to my photography. My need for control had been evident in the mistakes made in my first attempts at improving my craft as a photographer. I stumbled across a school

of thought that over-emphasized the need for planning: know where you’re going and what you’ll be photographing well in advance, predict when the best light will occur, find other images of the area to work out what makes a successful image. This methodical approach, rather than improving my work, stifled my creativity. I would grow tired of a place before I’d even seen it with my own eyes. I was travelling merely to take pre-conceived photographs, the kind I thought people wanted to see, not to experience the places I visited, feel their essence and allow that to guide me. I resolved to abandon the “blueprint” approach and take a fresh route. A recent outing convinced me that an instinctual approach was the right decision. I’d travelled to Jeonju as part of a wider unfinished project of mine, focusing on the Unseen Korea, the stuff that usually goes unseen by tourists and even a lot of long-term residents. Foresight told me I’d most likely end up photographing food, architecture and traditional craft, though I went there open to all possibilities.

Mother Nature did her damnedest to give me her greyest skies, and almost everywhere was closed due to Lunar New Year. I wasn’t going to be coming away with the images I expected. Instead, I left Jeonju with some shots from an abandoned shrine in the woods, urban decay, and the images you see here which form the mini-series, ‘A Break from the Boredom.’ The title is a play on words and marks a turning point in my photography. After spotting the skateboarders from a nearby market, I couldn’t help but feel myself drawn to their energy and I just ran with it. Admittedly my “roll with the punches” photographic-style doesn’t initially sound like the best tactic to come away with great images of a place, and it goes against the grain of a lot of travel photography advice, but I wasn’t photographing Jeonju… I was photographing life here in Korea. That is really what I’d set out to do in the first place, though in slightly misguided fashion. The skaters were a far more deserving subject than the stuff I figured folks back home would want to see. I’ve found that by letting my emotion

[ PIK ] PHOTOGRAPHERS IN KOREA | ISSUE 8 , may 2014


guide me, by allowing myself to be attracted to the things that interest me most, my curiosity has been reignited. It has allowed me to see Korea through fresh eyes, and feels like this was the missing piece of the puzzle all along. I realise now that truly BEING a photographer comes not necessarily from your understanding of photographic principles; sure, they’ll help, but it’s really in the way you look at the world. I remember hearing somewhere that an image chooses its photographer, not the other way round; this sounded ridiculous to me at the time, but now makes a lot of sense. What a funny thing the gift of hindsight is. Try it for yourself: Get out there and really EXPERIENCE a place. Take a closer look, and just photograph what you’re drawn to rather than what

you think other people will want to see. Worst-case scenario is that your photography doesn’t improve all that much but you gain a wealth of new experiences and a new appreciation for your adoptive homeland. If you see somewhere truly incredible, by all means head back there and do it justice when the light is better, but explore more. You’ll likely find something you never banked on that pushes your boundaries as a creative. Sometimes the most interesting places are the hardest to photograph, which will get you out of your comfort zone and help you improve. Korea is the most beautifully awkward blend of tradition and modernity; you’re bound to find something that inspires you which will in turn lead to better photographs.

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[ PIK ] PHOTOGRAPHERS IN KOREA | ISSUE 8 , may 2014


INTERNATIONAL PHOTO STUDIO IN SEOUL

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PIK ISSUE #8 MAY 2014  

This issue is in honor of the victims of the Sewol. We would like to dedicate this issue to Korea as a nation and as our home. As parents an...

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