Have you ever seen this picture? Did you notice that was taken at the University of Seoul (UOS)? The one who took this beautiful picture is Yong-sun Kim, an architectural and urban photographer and UOS student (Dept. of Architecture, ’09). After attending his lecture in the Do-cafe, located near the main gate, The UOS Times sat down for an interview with Kim. The lecture was about how to take good pictures. Although the lecture was brief, it was really informative for reporters who have had much difficulty taking good pictures. Moreover, we could better understand the world of photographers.
Question 1. Can you introduce your job? And what draws you to this?
You may have seen a lot of photographers in the vicinity. General photographers take wedding pictures and pictures of humans or living things. Among the different fields in photography, I focus on architecture and urban pictures. Since my major is architecture, I got used to observing different styles of architecture and it felt natural for me to take pictures of them. Also, whenever there was an event at school, I took pictures of it. Then, I was offered a career in photography. Because the amount of money I received was quite high, I had to register my photography as a business. Thus, I went from an amateur photographer to a professional photographer.
Question 2. What kind of endeavor are you doing?
I used to earn money through hobbies like bartending and computer programming. During that time, I always did my best and strived for more. Unfortunately, those hobbies were not suitable for me as careers. For me, they did not carry a bright outlook. Eventually, I gave up on the idea of doing those things for a living. In contrast, photography was a promising career. Moreover, by taking pictures, my character has changed and I feel that my view of the world has also changed. When I see the senior photographers, I always think of how I can take good pictures like them. I research and study in order to grow myself. Also I like to try challenging things with a spirit of experimentation.
Question 3. Did you have any special reason for giving a photography lecture?
I came to give this lecture accidently. When I was young, I was introverted so I never thought I could give a lecture in front of a large group of people. One day, through UosScape, I received the opportunity by chance. At the time, the one who supposed to give the lecture did not come. Someone asked me to do a short lecture instead of him. Luckily, I was able to prepare for the lecture by creating presentation materials. That’s the story of how I began lecturing. Besides lecturing about photography, I also like to share stories about my personal life. This part is more about helping students who have yet figured out their lives. I went to help people who agonize about their futures and life events by telling them about my own experiences.
Question 4. Isn’t it hard to work and study full-time at the same time?
Absolutely! Even though I do not have any special schedule, I am usually very busy. There are a lot of assignments special to my major, architecture. Additionally, I’m doing a double major of philosophy. As you can see on my schedule, I was not only working as a photographer but was also the leader of several club activities and was doing many activities outside of school. This hectic schedule is something that everyone can try at least once, although I do not recommend it. After too many busy days, I eventually got sick. I think we need to learn how to give up one thing for another.
Question 5. In the middle of the lecture you said you will publish your works. Is that correct?
Actually, I would like to take academic pictures to deliver my work to the worlds. Publishing my works means organizing the ideas in my mind. What I felt while working was that it is easy to chase profits but it is hard to act with consistency: some people advise others to act in a certain way but do not act that way themselves. Observing that situation, I was very disappointed. I now want to reorganize how I observe the world and its parts; this includes what my mind is thinking when I take pictures.
Question 6. Do you have any advice for the UOS students who want to be photographers?
There is no major related to photography at UOS. Do not limit yourself to one major. Most of the photographers around me studied majors other than photography. So do not be afraid that your talents in taking pictures is not related to major. If you find that your talent in photography is getting you jobs or gaining you a lot of special praise, feel free to confidently move ahead with your goals. With continuous efforts, you can achieve what you want: a career in photography. I hope you trust yourself enough to develop a keen sense of how to taking pictures. Also, never underestimate your abilities and the pay you can receive.
Incidentally, although disappointed at first from seeing only poorly photographed pictures of the campus, he is now fully satisfied when viewing his own photos.