POYi reveiw

Photo nerds enjoy saying, “Photos change the world.”

Well, even though i am studying photojournalism, i was pretty skeptical about it. 

Change is not something that can happen with PHOTOS, i believed. 

But given LA Times photographer Barbara Davidson’s work on a burning child,  it seems obvious that at least photos can change one person’s philosophy to see the world. 

Her photos dont take nicely written captures to understand the story because themselves show everything. 

Apart from everything, I appreciate Barbara that she successfully opened the subjects’ mind, so she can approached them in an honest way. i believe every photographers should appreciate it. That is not something everyone can do. I have learned that great photo stories made not only by talented photographers but by the subjects who are willing to unveil their privacy. No one can make any story without great subjects. 

Every photo in Barbara’s story has rich emotions: innocence, fear, pain, tragedy, love and joy. Some people say as a genre photo story’s day has gone just as LIFE magazine; it cant deal with complicated issues and multimedia has the solutions or whatever. But I have never seen any multimedia piece and even Hollywood movies. They made great story but they fail to put all the emotion in a piece.photo 

Emotion follows empathy. Empathy makes a great photo story teller because it allows photographers to see the things from the subjects’ points of view. To do so, photographers should be ready for putting themselves into the subjects’ lives. And I believe Barbara’s story shows the quality. 

Sometimes, I miss those days when i have no idea about photos: the days I have old nikon cropped body camera; the days I could just have fun with the little toy. the more I know, i found, the more it’s frustrating me. The gap between what i can make at the moment and what i wish to make is too huge. I still have a lot, i mean A LOT, to learn. 


But, as Anne Lamott says, “But be careful: if your intuition says that your story sucks, make sure it really is your intuition and not your mother.”


Dear Mother Review


“I need to find a subject,” W. Eugene Smith said in the documentary movie that Rita showed us. That might be a hard part for photojournalists to make a story. The hardest part for me is to allow the subjects to unveil their lives—because it is not easy for photographers to figure out how much is the actual situation and how much is the fake.

Few days ago, i had a chance to watch a T/F film director panel discussion at the Missouri Journalism school. it was petty fun to watch, when a panel said, “docu films cant be judged by the journalism standards,” in a response to the critic over some parts of his so-called documentary that would mislead the viewers to the false. Well, it is pretty amazing and pretty dumb at the same time given that he said that in front of a hundred of journalists.

If photographers have only one day to make a project, it is even harder to determine if it is reality because photographers dont have enough time to learn the characters. Being a “fly on the wall” to the subject is not as easy as it sounds like. As a photojournalist, i dont wanna use any photos making me feel like this is manipulated—as i dont wanna manipulate the subjects.

I still dont know how much true i can find through Dear Mother project. But it always gives me great feelings to photograph babies.

photographers in slaves’ world

I hated to visit Seoul Art Museum for field trip during the school days, which happened pretty much every year, simply because I don’t like all the sculptures and paintings in it. It seemed the people over the gallery were all snobs. When the art teacher saw me complaining, she told me, “You can only see how much you know. You will see why they are so beautiful when you know them.”

I read a philosophy book when around the time I graduated from a college that I can’t even translate the title into English. But its topic is pretty clear: the way not to be a slave of capitalism or something like that. To make 1000-paged book short, it is basically about a letter from an old philosopher to young generation.

The philosopher claims in the book—and I agree— that people in today’s world need money to be free. It is like a homeless on the street doesn’t seem to have freedom; when a BMW-driving young frat boy seems to have all the freedom. The homeless should be looking like a slave from others’ points of view. Young people don’t like the frat boy but they want to be rich anyway by getting a job leading them to make a lot of money such as lawyers or doctors at a hospital because they wanna be free men.

What is compelling is that they wanna be doctors not because they have missions through practicing medicine but because it will be able to get them plenty of money: freedom in other words. In short, to be a doctor is not something they want to be. How many medical students can we pick at the medical school of missouri who actually plan to join the Doctors without Borders or whatever.

People doing something they don’t wanna do, we call them slaves. They would say, “I don’t live to work. I work to live.” But it is nothing but an old excuse. But the key is that finding something you wanna do apart from money, not the one that society forces you to do. Yea, it hit my head with hammer so badly, because I am one of them.

photographers ,they wont be slaves

photographers ,they wont be slaves

Now I think I found something I wanna do: photography. But I am facing another question to answer: “Then, what are you going to do with it?” Yea, David Hurn is right when he said, “The reason is that photography is only a tool, a vehicle, for expressing or transmitting a passion in something else. It is not the end result.”

Okay, then what do I really love to show the world? I wanna be a war photographer, but Hurn just defined me a poser in the essay having a fancy camera without brains. I might be able to do that when I know what I can do in the conflict zone. No rush, you know. Well, I don’t know exactly yet to be honest with you. But what is clear is that there are at least several things making me wanna puke(I am sorry I failed to find something I can purely love unlike Hurn): how the Chinese government treats North Korean defectors in China and how Samsung treats their workers and others. Racism, sexism, nepotism and any other “shittism.” Don’t be surprised. I am one of the assholes who hates more than loves.

To make beautiful images, a lot of advice is found from the hot shots in the old days: Lewis Hine, Robert Capa, W. Eugene Smith and others. But yea, Lamott and the legendary photographers are correct: what is important is what you have in the lunch box, and you don’t even know what you’re gonna get until the polaroid photo reveals everything.

Uh, when it comes to arts, I am still learning. Maybe one day, I will love them but just not yet. I am still learning what I can do and what I will love. But I am pretty sure I will deny to be a slave. At least I will do something I wanna do.

martin parr’s sarcasm

“With photography, I like to create fiction out of reality. I try and do this by taking society’s natural prejudice and giving this a twist.” 

photojournalists are obsessed with the old catch phrase “Voice to the voiceless.”
They are striving to find the story ideas among the minority categorized fault lines, sex workers, poor people, criminals, war victims and anyone in jeopardy. 
To them, it seems average people or rich ones dont even have stories to tell or it doesnt matter to them.
According to them, it’s out of photojournalism tradition that was built by Lewis HIne, Margaret Bourke-White and Dorothea Lange.
Or it is newspaper photographers’ works, not for freelancers.
This photojournalists’ trend became obvious when you look into award winning photographs. 
But British photographer MARTIN PARR‘s series of photos called LUXURY suggests photojournalists different point of view. 
LUXURY mostly focus on the rich with somewhat critical points of view.
In LUXUARYsubjects wearing fancy dress dont seem to be happy probably because PARR excludes radical emotion in the photos. 
They smile, but it is only on the surface. 
it is sometimes to make fun of his subjects as if Parr indicates them, “Do not be a snob. Your life is no better than others,’ by putting a fly or stain on the subjects’ fancy dress. 
Putting plain and opponent colors in the frames are other points to enjoy his photographs.