Yet another year has passed here in Seoul. It was a big one for me as a photographer and it seems to have gone by particularly quickly. Maybe it’s the amount of work I’ve been doing, maybe it’s the trips I’ve taken for Tattoos of Asia, or maybe I’m just starting to get old. Whatever it is, this has been a whirlwind year at WelkinLight Photography and I’d like to share some of it with you today. As always, I’ll start with highlights from the Seoul winter in January and February, followed by the beginning of spring in March. Somewhere in between, I’ll take a few trips to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
January – Family and Travel Photographer
The year started, quite literally, with a family photography session out on Nami Island. January 1st is not often a date I get asked for in Seoul. For most, it’s just too cold and, for many others, too painful. Not for Gloria and her family! We all made our way out to Nami Island and spent an hour running, jumping, hiding, playing, laughing, and of course, sipping warm beverages. A couple of my favourites from that session are below.
Next up was a session that had been in the works for a while. These two lovely ladies were in Seoul for a week or so and we managed to schedule a couple of hours to take in some of Seoul’s urbanity, tradition, and nature together. With Seoul being a fairly conservative place, I don’t get to do a lot of LGBT sessions and this was a great breath of fresh air from my usual sessions. We took to the back streets of Jongno and Euljiro for some urban grit and then headed over to Gyeongbokgung to use the gorgeous architecture and evergreen pines. One of the benefits of having your session in the holiday week and freezing cold is that there are very few other people around. Thanks again for an awesome session!
What would a couple of weeks back in Seoul before heading out on winter holiday be without some Jongno Gentlemen. Marco and I headed out to track down and make portraits of these fixtures of the Seoul landscape again. Despite the cold, we managed to stop several dapper gents for portraits in the streets of Jongno. Check out the rest of the series on Facebook.
Then, well, let’s be honest, the winter got to be too much. My youngest brother was about to start his final year of secondary school as well, so we decided to go on a trip together. We picked Cambodia and Vietnam for our adventure and started with the city of Angkor. As usual, the smiles and warmth of the Cambodian people were a joy to be around and we could have stayed a lot longer than we did. But alas, we had to go and meet Jeehe over in Vietnam to enjoy yet another country full of warm smiles and, well, some of the best food in Asia.
February – Travel, Band, and Couple Photographer
While I was away, we had worked on finalising the placement for my intern Jonne to fly into Seoul from the Netherlands. At the last minute, we confirmed everything and she would be flying in on the 7th of February. As we had confirmed this so late in the game, I had already booked my flights to Laos for my Tattoos of Asia project. I would be leaving just 4 days after Jonne’s arrival, so I asked if she would like to come. We ended up meeting in Seoul and then flying straight to Laos a couple of days later for a week-long ride through the countryside in search of the Brao people. It was a pretty good introduction to the way things go around here, I think. We also took my book with us, which was a hit. The similarity in facial structure and the fact that another people have facial tattoos led to the question, “Are they also Brao?” a lot.
The day after I flew back into Seoul, I met up with a local band, Wooden Lucy, to shoot some promo work for their album release. It’s always a good time when you can shoot gritty black and white for a change. We had a great time and pulled off some fun images of the band in a few different locations. After that, there was another last-minute confirmation that took us out into the streets of Seoul for a surprise proposal and then some braving the winter with Albert and Logan. After being in South East Asia for a few weeks, this day was even cold for me, but I don’t know how everyone else did it. None of them were ready for the cold of a Seoul winter.
March – Food, Hotel, and Family Photographer
I had the pleasure of working with Chef Ryu at Ryunique on some clean and simple dish shots for his social media presence after this. It’s been great to see those used over and over again in magazines and websites. His beautiful plating makes the job easy, that’s for sure! After that, I found some time to do one more thing I love before the busy season kicked in – I hit the streets to document some more of Seoul before the gentrification makes every street corner look the same.
Then it was time for the busy season to start again. March is when everything ramps up. To really get things rolling were a couple of families I have worked with in the past. The Visingards were back to visit their son’s foster family and spend some more time exploring Seoul. I got to spend a few hours with them as they reconnected with the foster family again. The Tsongs were up next. I was with them when they took custody of Daniel as well, and this time we scheduled a session of fun in Seoul’s Changgyeonggung during their short visit.
Then I had the pleasure of working with the Bolenders as they prepared to leave Seoul. We met just about a year prior when their son was born for some photos with the whole family, and this time we got together for a Day in the Life documentary session as they were leaving Seoul. We had an absolute blast eating several breakfasts, playing in the washing basket, and eventually heading out for a walk around the city. Lots of fun to be had. To wrap up March, I worked with the Italian Chamber of Commerce for their AGM and work with the New Seoul Hotel on their new promotional shots.
That’s all for the first quarter of the year. Come back next week for plenty of families, couples, a ball, and some time with the BBC. Until then, have a great week!