2019 Year in Review Part 1 – Seoul Photographer

Ronning Family Photos Changdeokgung Winter Session

Welcome to the first part of my annual Year in Review series. 2019 has been a year filled to the brim with commissioned work, personal work, and plenty of travel. Reviewing the images I’ve made along the way has given me a chance to relive some of the moments of this year that has been so long and so short. As usual, I’ll break this post into a series of four parts so I can share more of the year that was 2019. Since many of the clients I worked with over this first period had no-sharing clauses in the contracts, part one will be the shortest of them all, but hopefully a fun one nonetheless.

January – Pre-wedding, Family, and Event Photography

January 1st was my first session of the year and I was joined by the Ho family on Nami Island for a frigid afternoon once the busloads of tourists had left for the afternoon. We had a few corners of the island to ourselves and although there was no snow, we did get to see the beauty of the area without having to dodge selfie sticks. I had a wonderful time keeping two little people involved enough to forget the cold for a short while and was really happy with the images we made. A great way to start the year, for sure!

Winter Nami Island Family Photos with the Hos

Winter Nami Island Family Photos with the Hos

Back in Seoul the next afternoon, I spent the last hour of light in a quick couples session around Samcheongdong. The couple wanted to keep this one really casual, so we mixed in a cup of coffee with some roaming around the streets to come up with a nice afternoon out for them.

Samcheongdong Pre-Wedding Photography

A couple more shoots after this (unfortunately the type I cannot share) and I was off to Australia to visit my family. We don’t get over there very often, so it was nice to relax in our small town and feel nature all around us. Waking up to the sun rising over the mountains, cockatoos and galahs visiting the front yard, and warm weather were a welcome change from the Korean winter. Teaching my wife to play pool was a fun time as well!

A Rosella perches on our feeder in the front yard

Jeehe playing her first game of pool

Sunset from our village main road

After flying back to Seoul, I had the chance to work with the Donovan family who had, as luck would have it, flown in from Australia. Thankfully, we had a reasonably warm afternoon and were even able to get our jackets off for a few images at Changdeokgung.

Donovan family winter session at Changdeokgung

As the winter days continued, I found myself choosing the warmest days that would fit into my families’ schedules in order to get our sessions flowing as well as possible. We ended up scheduling the Summers and Ronning families on one afternoon back to back in order to make use of the warmer temperatures. This is only possible during the winter as we have quite good light for most of the day. The sun never quite gets high in the sky during this time of year, so light looks great in the mornings and afternoons. Temperatures usually peek around 2-3pm, so scheduling around that gave me the best light and warmest weather to work in. Here’s a couple of images from those back-to-back sessions.

Summers Family Photos Changdeokgung

Summers Family Photos Changdeokgung

Ronning Family Photos Changdeokgung Winter Session

Ronning Family Photos Changdeokgung Winter Session

Ronning Family Photos Changdeokgung Winter Session

Next up for this freezing month of January was the annual Australia Day celebrations with the Australian Embassy in Korea and the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Korea. This year, the embassy took the lead and the celebrations were of epic proportions. Taking over the entire ballroom area of the Grand Hyatt, they set up all sorts of activities to promote Australia’s position in Korea. In front of 3000+ guests, the ambassador appointed two cultural ambassadors and played an oversized game of tennis to celebrate the Australian Open. For some light musical entertainment, Nat Conway was flown in to sing and the room was filled with Australian food and various companies offering up an Aussie experience. It was quite the evening!

Australia Day Seoul 2019 - Korea Event Photographer

Australia Day Seoul 2019 - Korea Event Photographer

Australia Day Seoul 2019 - Korea Event Photographer

Australia Day Seoul 2019 - Nat Conway - Korea Event Photographer

My final session of January was a quick jaunt around the streets of Jongno with Han Lin and Charissa. We managed to snag shots at Gwanghwamun, inside the metro, along Jongno, at in the party streets of Jongno-2-ga all in 90 minutes! It was a busy session, but we had a great time before the evening cold set in. What a way to finish the winter run.

Gwanghwamun, Seoul, Pre-Wedding Winter Photo Shoot

Gwanghwamun, Seoul, Pre-Wedding Winter Photo Shoot

Jongno-2-ga City Lights, Seoul, Pre-Wedding Winter Photo Shoot

February and March – Tattoos of Asia and Travel Photography

At this point, my client work drops off as I take my annual trip for my Tattoos of Asia Project. During this journey through India, I met the Ollo, Wancho, Kui (Kutia Kondh), Langia Saora, and Ramnami peoples. We covered a few thousand kilometres in 4 weeks and I met nearly 70 people who had tattooed their faces in the name of culture or religion. Those stories and photographs are beyond the scope of this blog, so please do visit the links above to learn more about them. I’ll be headed back to Myanmar in February to complete another section of this project, at which point I’ll be ready to start working on the book! Please subscribe to the newsletter on my personal site if you’d like to keep up to date with that! Here are some images from this year’s trip to India.

Ollo Woman

Wancho Hunter

Kui Woman

Langia Saora Woman

Ramnami Man

After this month of mountain and village life, I flew back to the big sticks of Delhi to meet my wife and travel postcard-India for a month on top of this. We spent some time in Old Delhi, a couple of days with the Taj Mahal, a week in Varanasi, some days in Jaipur and Jodhpur, and wrapped things up by throwing a bunch of coloured powder around with the crowds for Holi before flying back home. It was great to show her one of the places, albeit the sanitised version, that I have been travelling for my project. Enjoy a few images from that time.

Jama Masjid, Old Delhi, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Old Delhi, India

Ganga Maata Blessing, Varanasi, India

Auto Rickshaw Driver, Varanasi, India

Rickshaws, Varanasi, India

Jodhpur, India

Smoking man, Jaipur, India

Royal Palace, Jaipur, India

Holi, India

The morning after my return to Korea, I met up with the Bruno family to make some portraits with them as they finalised the adoption of the 6th member of their family. It was a beautifully warm day at Gyeongbokgung and we got some really fun pictures to remember their time by.

Bruno Family Portraits - Gyeongbokgung, Seoul

Bruno Family Portraits - Gyeongbokgung, Seoul

Bruno Family Portraits - Gyeongbokgung, Seoul

Bruno Family Portraits - Gyeongbokgung, Seoul

So here we are at the end of March. I hope you’ve enjoyed this first slice of 2019 with me. We’ll be ramping things up from April with a constant run of event photography, family portraits, couples, and a little more travel goodness. I hope to have you join me again next week for the ongoing journey of 2019. Thanks again for stopping by!

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