From April 1st it was full steam ahead here in Seoul. The second quarter of the year could not have been more different from the few months of personal work and travel that began the year. This quarter was filled with family sessions, editorial, a few pre-wedding sessions, and even a road-trip around Korea to say goodbye to my good friend Andy Faulk. But let’s get started. My very first session for this quarter was with the Visingard family as they took custody of their son Joey. We spent a day together playing in the pool, visiting Seoul tower and chasing each other all around the playground. But first, we had to get dressed, and we did it in style.
Then it was on to Seoul Magazine’s cover shoot, where we did our best to make winter look as warm and inviting as spring; we had a long winter this year. Meeting at the pine forest at the base of Achasan, we worked with the last light of the day to create a warm image for the family edition of the magazine.
Our cherry blossom season this year was also extremely short lived. Every year I get a barrage of requests for cherry blossom sessions, and it is a tough time of year to make any promises. Being the fickle flowers they are, a slight change in weather changes their entire schedule. This year they had just reached full bloom when a day of rain knocked them all straight off the trees! Leading up to this, I had been watching the calendar with the Wales family and we had three dates picked out that would work for them. On two we had rain, and by the third we’d lost our cherry blossoms! However, we got out into the park and between young Levi’s naps, we clicked like crazy to make the most of our time.
In the same space just a week later the greens were out in force, and I had a wonderful afternoon session with Sherlyn and Yao from Singapore. We could not have had a prettier day for this session, with the golden sunlight streaming through the new leaves. We spent just an hour together, and quickly worked from Yeouido Park down to the Yeouido Han River Park for some final shots before the light of day faded.
To round out April, there were a couple of corporate events in the schedule. Thanks to my good friend and colleague Greg Samborski Photography for taking the lead on the Schroders event at the Shilla Hotel, and of course to the Italian Chamber of Commerce for bringing me out to their Italian Food Festival again.
May was another busy month with families and couples. It started with a session in Olympic Park with Amanda and Michael in mid afternoon. This is one of my favourite times to shoot in Olympic Park as there is so much variety to the light. We were able to get the beautiful flare of the sun peaking around the corners of the swimming pool building, before heading to the famed ‘one tree hill’ to catch the sun going down. My next session was with Michelle and Eric out in Songdo Central Park. We had been planning for a while to shoot around an hour before the sun went down, but their flight arrived late and we ended up shooting the entire session at night!
I also had the pleasure of working with the Cooper family before they left Seoul, and the Bush family as they took custody of their young boy Atlas. All that before the capers of the German School graduation.
Then it was time to take a few days off over my birthday and drive around Korea with Andy from Andrew Faulk Photography. The good thing about road-tripping with another photographer is that you can stop whenever and wherever you like. “Oh look at that” or “Oops, we lost our toll-gate ticket” are both great reasons to stop the car and take a few pictures. You also have a great excuse to meet a lot of people you wouldn’t otherwise meet. That’s exactly what we did, somewhere in between dropping a camera in a waterfall and a lens cap in the ocean. We made it home, though. Just.
Two of my next three assignments were international. The first one was personal, and took me to Mrauk U in Myanmar. I spent about 10 days playing football with local kids, talking with monks, and sleeping in village huts in the jungle to take a break from the chaos of Seoul life before flying back to quickly to run a photo-booth at the New Zealand Wine Festival. The next day I flew to Penang, Malaysia for Morning Calm Magazine in order to chase down durian farmers and the production process of the King of Fruits. “It’s not essential, but can you at least stomach the stuff?” My editor asked. Actually, I love it. Rare for a white guy, I know. But this was a great assignment for me, and I really enjoyed getting to the heart of the durian world.