For the final quarter of 2020, we’ll be focusing heavily on families and scenes of Korea. While I was certainly quite busy, there are still a few assignments I won’t be able to share until next year. Either way, I hope you’ll enjoy the images from this last section of the 2020 Year in Review.
October – Family and Editorial Photographer
October kicked off with our annual Chuseok holiday. Normally, this is an extremely busy time for travel. This year, the country just slowed down and at least some family time has returned to Chuseok. Over the course of this holiday were both my wife and niece’s birthdays, so we made sure to celebrate those, as well. One had miserable weather and the other some of the clearest skies of the year. Here are a couple of images from those days.
After this week of relaxation, it was back to work with a couple of families and an editorial assignment for Avison Young again. To get things going, I met with the Aiossa family. A few years back, they had contacted me for their first adoption but I wasn’t available at the time. So, it was great to finally meet them this time around. We had a fun session out at Gyeongbokgung on a nice warm morning.
Then it was over to Changdeokgung for a session with the Michas family. I’ve posted this full session before. It was a great example of how post-custody sessions usually go so I recommend it for those considering one. For now, here are a couple of my favourites from that session to get us started. We had a very playful time with plenty of pine cones being passed around and made into orderly lines.
In between and around these sessions, I had a few days of work photographing the Gwanghwamun area for Avison Young’s Micro-Retail Trend Report again. As with the Gangnam assignment from April, I had the freedom to explore each of the areas in the district to my heart’s content and come back with a set of images that had the look and feel of the area. Below are a few frames that didn’t make the final cut. Once the design is done and the magazine printed, I’ll certainly share more.
For the next week, I spent some time riding the Han River trails again and even made a short trip out to Seoraksan National Park for a sunrise hike with a friend from Hong Kong. The skies at this time of year are usually very hit-and-miss with the changing temperatures and this year was no different. Autumn was starting to get going, though, so when we had a sunset, the colours were magnificent.
Following this, I headed back to Seoul for a quick session with the Young Family before departing on my cross-country cycling trip. This session was one of those where you learn just how much fun peek-a-boo can be all over again. Here are a couple of fun frames from that.
Over the next 6 days, I would do something I really wasn’t sure I was up for. At the start of the year, I was incredibly unfit and could barely ride 10km on my new bike. But, thanks to the pandemic, I had more time than usual and worked hard to get myself to a level where 50km was an easy stretch. Rather than starting out with some of the shorter rides in Korea, I decided to hit the big one first: Incheon-Busan. It turned out to be one of the best weeks of my year and I’m glad I did it. You can see a full selection of images and read more about the ride over on my personal site. Here are some of the highlights.
November – Family and Event Photographer
Heading back to Seoul, I was greeted by the last fragments of autumn up north. I took the opportunity to visit Gyeongbokgung and was rewarded with some lovely scenes. After this, I joined the Hunter family at their first meeting with Yeongmin. This little man was full of giggles and the family quickly discovered the best way to bring those out. An extremely ticklish young fellow, Yeongmin absolutely delighted in his family’s willingness to entertain that love.
The next day, I found myself assisting the venerable Roy Cruz on a corporate headshot session that took us to their rooftop to get supporting images for the company website redesign. It was great to see Seoul from a different point of view. Add to that some beautiful afternoon light and a few remaining autumnal trees and we have a winning afternoon.
Then it was time for a couple more families. First up, I joined the Bowden family as they were adding their fifth member! For this post, we’ll concentrate on the littlest of them and his love for autumn leaves flying from the sky. I don’t think there is anything that would have made him happier on this day.
Then, I met up with the Chien family. Jenny had reached out and wanted to have an autumn session but also include the palace architecture. I quickly checked the traffic cameras around Gyeongbokgung and things were looking great. The ginkgo trees were still covered in beautiful yellow leaves and it looked like we’d have a great session. Unfortunately, a bit of rain and wind knocked all those off a couple of days before the session and I scrambled to find a replacement for the family. I found a beautiful patch remaining at Seoul Forest park and we agreed to a very early start so we could get this in and also head to Gyeongbokgung to be the first in the gate and get the shot that the family wanted. It was a great morning and a blog post about this session is on the way. For now, here are a few from that wildly early start.
My next family was a small one. Julie was over here on her own to finalise the adoption of her daughter, Gahui. Since the rest of the family couldn’t be here, she wanted a beautiful document of their first moments together to share with Gahui’s dad and siblings. We started with a fun-filled custody session and then some beautiful first moments back at the hotel room. Then, we met up a couple of days later to make a few portraits in the grounds of Gyeongbokgung. I hope you enjoy these few fun images.
In between sessions, I took the opportunity again to make the best of some of our prettiest light of the year and the remaining warm days before winter kicked in. There is so much variety to be found in Seoul that I always recommend visitors get out of the tourist areas and enjoy the rest city, as well. There is just so much to see, especially during the autumn.
To wind up the month of November, I had a quick family session with the Bertocchi family and a very interesting corporate event to photograph. The KGCCI put on a special show for their Innovation Awards this year by innovating themselves in the time of COVID-19. Rather than cancel the event, they made masks mandatory, reduced the seating capacity, and made the presentations and discussions virtual with a special guest who was brought in live from Germany.
December – Family and Travel Photographer
The final month of the year started with a huge e-commerce shoot for a new shoe store opening up in Seoul that had several family sessions dotted over the same days. Going in and out of this shoot to photograph families gave a much-needed energy boost. First up, I met the Hunter family once again for their custody day. Yeongmin, as with previous meetings, was a riot of laughs and exploration, but the real beauty happened when he first arrived at his new home. These are some of my favourites from that day.
My next session would be a whirlwind shoot with the Venneman family as they brought their lovely daughter home. With the dropping temperatures and fading light, we worked quickly to get some lovely frames of the kids’ personalities before we had to pack it in or freeze to death!
Next up would be the Ha, Hunter, and Hirashiki, families. All of these were said and done in just two days! They would be my last sessions for the year and I’ll be bringing full sessions to the blog soon. Here are a few to get us through for now.
We also had some wonderful, and rare, snowfall in Seoul just a couple of days after this. I made sure to head out to the palaces and get some photographs of this beauty before it all turned to brown mush and ice. If you see snowfall in Seoul, head out immediately to enjoy it!
To wrap up the year, I took a short personal trip down to some lovely coastal villages to continue writing my Tattoos of Asia book. As always, thanks for joining me on this yearly journey. I hope you and yours are safe and healthy. Have a wonderful holiday season and a great start to 2021. Take care!