In this interview, Hon Hoang interviews Yoon Jeong Vin, a street Photographer from South Korea currently in Kuwait.
The original interview was featured in Enflight.Design on November, 2017. It is now being featured on Asia Photo Review.
There’s a lot that goes into making a photograph. People consider concepts such as composition, colors or lack there of, lighting, etc. But what often seems to be forgotten are the emotions. Emotions felt at the moment, captured and confined within a frame. Something that is felt and is not as quantifiable when calculating the construction of an image. It’s more about the moments and sensations in life that makes you want to turn it into a frozen still as oppose to the elements of design that are in front of you.
In this interview, Yoon Jeong Vin speaks about his work, travels, and the emotions involved in capturing photographs.
What were some of your early experiences with photography?
Since early 2015, I had a desire to get into photography to give an emotional expression, but I didn’t know what was an essential point of that feeling until seeing photos by great photographers like Henri Cartier Bresson, Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, etc.
I realized that the small details make a great picture. At that moment I tried to find my way.
What do you do for work? How does this work affect your photography?
In my previous job, I would get a two week vacation every four months, and it’s not easy to get a vacation like this if you work in Korea.
Then there was a time where I worked at an overseas plant construction site. During this a period, I could concentrate more on myself.
How did you begin your photography career? Do you remember a moment when you realized that this is what you wanted to pursue?
In the beginning of 2016, I had enough time to quit my job and go where I wanted to go. From that time, I traveled with a focus on photography.
I participated in a photo workshop and began to think about why I take pictures. Maybe this is the beginning. I started to have a great interest in establishing a relationship visually with places and people.
Where were you born and where did grow up? Did these early life experiences affect you and your photography in any way?
I was born in a small mountain village in Korea. So it seems that I have always had a longing for a big city.
Last year, when I selected a place to travel to and stay in Korea, I shot the scenery and people of big cities.
You travel often to many cities around the world, what is it that you’re trying to capture when you go to a new destination?
I draw a big picture and arrive at a travel destination, but sometimes I change my mind while staying somewhere. Before I went to India, I was attracted to famous pictures I had seen in the past.
After staying for a few days and concentrate on my daily life in a big city. In the end, what I want to shoot is more like the feeling I feel after arriving at the scene.
How do you blend in so your subjects don’t react to you and your camera?
I mainly make snapshots. Or, take a shot first before talking to a subject, or take a shot at a sudden situation. Staying in the same space for a while seems to reduce the alertness.
What is your process like when you take photographs? Do you have a goal in mind or do you wander until something catches your eye?
In the past, I took pictures based on my interests and traveling to new places. Nowadays, I shoot the same place many times. I do not want to deal with a huge situation when I take pictures. I shoot if I have something that makes me feel different from other things. I think photography is another expression of dreams.
What inspires you and your work? Are there any photographers that influence you in particular?
I get inspiration through various medias. Music, movies, paintings, etc, there are no restrictions. I like the pictures of modern photographers of Magnum homepage and Instagram. (e.g. Garry Winogrand, Trent Parke, David Alan Harvey, Christopher Anderson, Maciej Dakowicz etc. so many)
Are there any long-term personal projects you’re hoping to explore?
I want to show contrast between the big African cities and the surrounding area. I want to repeatedly capturing and collecting images of what I see around me.
How much of the tension and emotions of a situation affect your photography?
I want to express it with a picture when the subject and I have a sense of tension. Using color and light.
What was the most tense moment you have experienced? What did you do in this situation?
The sight of a man full of tattoos in Bangkok’s alleyway caught me by surprise. I got permission to take his picture, I shot it, but this guy did not laugh afterwards.
Would you have any advice for aspiring photographers? If you had to start all over again, what advice would you give yourself?
This advice is for me not for others. I take pride in taking the idea that I am the best photographer in the world. Do not hesitate.
Photos courtesy of Yoon Jeong Vin