I’m always looking for
‘that light’ as I wander around,
paying attention to my surroundings.
Q1: You work around Seoul and the scenery of Seoul comes out a lot in your work as well. I’m curious about your thoughts regarding Seoul.
A1: Seoul is a very dynamic city, and it seems it has become the center of change. I roam around Seoul regularly during my daily life, and every single time, new sceneries come up in front of me. That change was intriguing, and that energy from it fit well in a photograph, so I’ve been continuously taking photos of it. I also observe that city and take photos of the scenes I come across when I go to new places, not only in Seoul, but also in other cities in Korea or abroad.
Uncomposed Composition - Kiwoong Hong
Q2: Coincidences often come into play in the process of photographing real subjects. How do you incorporate elements of coincidence into work?
A2: There are times when I work without being aware of the time and I realize it’s sunset when I check the time. Space and sudden encounters with the beautiful scenery when the light shines between buildings- those, I think, are important factors. Reacting to the change in light that occurs according to change in time. That light is the most important in city work. I’m always looking for that light as I wander around, paying attention to my surroundings.
Sun City Tokyo - Kiwoong Hong
Q3: Compared to your other works, works with the word ‘project’ in the title, like the ‘Jeju Island Project’ or the ‘Untitled Project’ seems to have prioritized content and concept. How did such attempts come to be?
A3: The Jeju project was a project planned by the JAEJUDOJOA team in 2016, in which residential spaces were provided to artists in Jeju and exhibited works they worked on for a week with trash on the sea as themes. When I got to participate in this project by chance, naturally, I proceeded in creating images that weaved together colors I was usually interested in and the natural environment together with Jeju’s landscape and beach trash, which was the theme of the project. I continued to keep in touch with the team, which led to a collaboration with the design studio, CFC, currently ran by my wife and I, and worked on the packaging of the project LP record together. It was an interesting work that connected with my current interest, work, and life.
Q4: Your recent work show elements of space, architecture, and design. I would like to know if there is any influence you exchange through your cooperation with your wife, who runs the CFC design studio with you.
A4: It is true my wife has a great influence on me and my work. When we conduct space shoots at CFC, we consider the points, lines, and plane and the morphological elements we could show in the structure together and talk about parts in which we can reveal design-wise attractive elements such as angle and color arrangement. My wife tends to actively tell me about things that would help image-wise even when I’m working on a personal work. Even in the pre-investigation stage for shooting, we share a lot of things together, talking about the composition of the shot and so on. For exhibitions, in particular, she gives me advice on design regarding ways to maximize elements such as lines and planes in space. There are things that cannot be seen with only a photographer’s eyes.
Rule - Kiwoong Hong
Q5: In your prior works there existed the distance of an observer looking at the scenery, but the more recent the work, there is more active intervention to the formation of the screen. Can you explain about the change?
A5: One thing that’s clear is that I seem to have started to pursue a more organized, tidy look in photos than before. I think it’s also my time and experience with design companies showing naturally in my work, but if accidental encounters and visual reactions were more important in my previous works, now I have become interested in intervening more actively to create organized and uncluttered images.
Intervening more actively to create organized and uncluttered images.
Q6: In the case of your works <Rule> or <Uncomposed Composition>, they almost look like a graphic image. How do you control the natural factors in the frame, and how is the process of creating the image from the moment you see the actual photo shoot like?
A6: Firstly, for <Rule> before going to the space I searched online and discerned the shape of the stadium. After selecting the stadium, I contacted the management team and checked the shooting environment, such as whether there are people there at that time frame. Through this process, I create a work plan, considering the color and shape of the relevant location in my minds. It was also important to check the natural light environment (weather) as well since it was a large space. I tend to organize many parts of work into plan during the pre-work session. I sometimes adjust important details such as color during the post-production and make revisions on the people or obstacle when inevitable. For <Uncomposed Composition>, there were a lot of times I recorded the inspiration I got from the scene I encountered at a certain time and location during my travels with my phone and came back to take photos after forming a shooting plan. The photo of the escalator at Seoul Station was also taken this way, and even for this photo I made revisions on unnecessary things that came into the picture during the post-production session.
Q7: In the case of your work <Nostalgia> or <pm 6:00>, they seem to be related to emotion and memory, unlike your other works. When expressing the inner world, with what criteria did you decide your shooting target and location?
A7: I tend to be impromptu when I work. The <pm 6:00> is a photo I took when I went to Jeju for the JAEJUDOJOA project with my friend on the way from Aewol to Seongsan. That day, I wanted to record the moment, of the color that was created by the foggy weather and time, and the feelings I had of my first trip, so I took my time roaming around and working. I also recorded the feelings I had at the moment when I saw trees that evoked certain memories and emotions for <Nostalgia> as well when I went to Jeju for a commercial photo shoot. Rather than deciding on the subject for work to express inner feelings, I recorded things on the fly and organized them by linking them with inner emotions while working.
Q8: Personal opinion on photo media.
A8: I always think so, but I think the most effective medium for expression, perhaps more so than words, is photo media. Either for work or for art, the more I photograph, I find myself thinking that photography is really difficult. It’s always fun and difficult to create a single image with which to talk and express myself. Even if time passes and I gain more experience, two ideas still coexist when I encounter a new space.
Q9: What do you most value in work and in life?
A9: I always talk about coordinating work and rest well with my wife. For good work, and for a good life, it is always important to balance everything well harmoniously.
I think the most effective medium for expression, perhaps more so than words, is photo media.
I would like to continue with the stadium work. As a matter of fact, the photoshoot of the Japan stadium that was prearranged since last year was canceled because of the Coronavirus. and the Olympic overlapped so we don’t know what is going to happen. Given the opportunity, I want to keep taking photographs, taking my camera around no matter wherever it is.
Artist : Hojeong Kim
Editor : Jeongin Kim
Photographer : Jeongin Kim
Director : Yeonjae Yoon