Welcome to this, my annual retrospective for 2018. It’s such a pleasure to look back at the year and see what has passed. So many fleeting moments that impress emotions upon us during the year get lost amongst the next wave of moments as we ride the tide throughout the year. Taking this time allows me to reflect on what has passed, what has been achieved, and what is to come. In this first part, we will journey from January to March of 2018 and take a look at all the things those months entailed. As always, this will be a mix of my personal work and commissioned work. For a look at 2017, please start here.
January began as it always does, with a short lull after the new year before things kick back into high-gear. I took the time to explore Seoul during the frozen months and capture some slices of the city I haven’t yet documented. The below image is of yet another space that won’t last much longer. However, it was the blankets and newspaper wrapping the fuel tank that truly gave me pause here. Seoul’s winters are brutal and this is a testament.
We had a particularly cold spell in early January this year and the Han River properly froze over for the first time in a while. It was a great chance to get out and see another extreme of Korean weather. Some took that exploration further than I did and walked out on the ice. I guess there’s merit in letting nature decide?
After a few days of rest and enjoying the place I live in, it was time to get back to doing what I love: making meaningful photographs. First up this year was a wonderful session with the Sebens family for the custody of their son. We had a beautiful meeting that went very quickly from shyness to bright smiles and play.
Although I would miss the Winter Olympics due to a personal project, I did get to participate in the recreation fo the Imjin hockey match between the Korean and Canadian armies for the Canadian Embassy here in Seoul. To add to that match, we had some war veterans and the Canadian ambassador join us for a torch relay with the official Olympic torch. Following this, I had one more job with the Canadian government. This time, the new premier of British Columbia was visiting and I spent a few days documenting that time. There were a huge variety of activities which made for an interesting few days. On top of that, the premier is a Taekwondo player and was awarded a belt at the Kukkiwon.
Next up was a winter couple session on Nami Island before heading out to Myanmar for the month of February. Winter is a wonderful time for a couple photography session on Nami Island. Although we only had an hour because of the freezing temperatures, we had the island to ourselves in the early morning.
Although the Olympics was on and there was plenty to see and do in Korea, I had planned to continue my Tattoos of Asia project and booked flights to Myanmar. This time, I would visit eight tribes of the Chin people and learn about their various tattoos and cultures. I spent nearly four weeks in the southern Chin State mountains exploring by boat, bus, and motorcycle to find the villages where I would meet these people. It was a wonderful experience and I came back with some photographs I am truly proud of and stories that I will share with you on my dedicated site for the project (link above).
On my return, it was straight back to work. My first couple of sessions were a family photography outing with the Redeaus and an engagement photography session with Karina and Matt. For both, we used Seoul’s beautiful palaces and the still-cool weather gave us space to work without the crowds.
Following these, I had the chance to test and work with the Laowa 9mm f/2.8 lens for a few different reviews I was writing. This took me around Seoul and also down to Tongyeong, where I got to visit my good friend Roy Cruz for a few days of photography. A few images from this ultra-wide lens are below along with a couple of my favourites from Tongyeong and Seoul at this time. One of these even ended up printed at Laowa’s Photokina booth this year!
Lastly, I worked with the Blanco family during their visit to Korea and got out into the soupy polluted air with my friend Greg Samborski to make a picture for my at-that-time upcoming eBook on flash photography. I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into the first quarter of my year. From April to June, we get extremely busy with families, editorial, events, and even a graduation party. Check back in next week for the continuation of this year’s work. Thanks for reading!