Photographers in Korea


If you are into photography and you are into Korea, a fine combination of the two can be found in [ P I K ], a new enough free online magazine which uses the accronym of its description Photographers in Korea, as its name.

More specifically:

PIK is an online photography magazine featuring contemporary photography from established and emerging photographers living in Korea. One of the aims of PIK , is to contribute to the development of the scene in Korea and help connect local and international talent within and outside the peninsula.

[ P I K ] May issue cover

[ P I K ] May issue cover / image courtesy of [ P I K ]

I’ve been taking photographs for years, of course, but only of late have I started to pay more attention to the actual process. This process lies between a better understanding of how my actual camera looks and trying to develop my own distinctive style. The learning how to use the camera aspect seems to be the easy part, but publications like [ P I K ] allow for the other important part of learning how to perfect (yes, a bit rich a term but allow me this one) any art form.

Take writing for instance, to become a better writer you need to write as much as possible whilst experimenting with different structure, content, style, and of course material. All of this may remain in your notebook as you busy yourself producing more refined written pieces built around your perceived writing identity. And while you’re doing this it’s imperative that you read.

Smartphones, despite their crticisms, are great ways of utilising two elements of this practive – their relatively decent camera functions and highly usable editing apps make them the ideal piece photography kit, whilst their internet function allows you to connect to pretty much every printed word posted online. That’s a fairly resourceful device, especially for reading. You can even carry around your entire kindle library, notes on dropbox, or if you’re so inclined you can source it from free from sites such as twitter, which if you curate your followings properly can even be used as mean stream of photographic content also.

Back to [ P I K ].

Monthly submissions from around Korea / image courtesy of [ P I K ] facebook account

The magazine started out in October 2013, and has steadily been building and impressive following. Content is made up of, obviously, photographs by Korea based photographers of varying notoriety, accompanied by essays about the particular photographers. There’s also a useful page or two about new gear and online resources. It was in [ P I K ] where I actually came across some really good Facebook groups for Korea based photographers, Seoulighters and FIS. Both are very active in the non-internet world and are well worth joining if you’re into Korean based photography.

[ P I K ], however, serves a much more important function. Magazines on life and living come and go in Korea, and they have their purpose there is no doubt, but for publicity and sharing the variety of not only talent but also perspectives on Korea, they are limited. [ P I K ] does this. Each photographer looks at this country differently, and their photographs come from every corner, and indeed many of the islands, allowing for that wonderful aspect of photography, its presentation of another part of the immediately inaccessible world presented with the skill of a craftsman.

Now that I have finished lauding the magazine I should add that I’ve been fortunate enough to have a photograph featured in their February ‘Love’ issue.

My photograph from the February Love issue. Image courtesy of [ P I K ]

My photograph from the February Love issue / Image courtesy of [ P I K ]

[ P I K ] also allows for monthly Facebook submissions, and are well worth a look. You can find May’s here, also with a shot of mine in it. Make sure to check out the other months and albums too.

[ P I K ] can be found at http://www.photographersinkorea.com or on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/PhotogsInKorea. To download all previous issues of the magazine, check out their issu accout!

 

Being a Rock Star in Korea


For a while now I have been musing with writing a very accusatory article about musicians in Korea, in particular western English teachers who come here and find out that they can also be rockstars whilst filling in their 30 hours a week in a hagwon – I was one of these two. So instead of actually losing a lot of friends, I’m going to try and raise awareness and encourage people that music in Korea is a great opportunity to become something else, to build talent, to learn mistakes, and of course to just make the music scene better.

Of course, problems with the music scene in Korea don’t just start with westerners who are trying to have a bit of fun, they go much deeper than that. I’ve reposted an article from Yonhap News, the Korean news service, that highlights the significant problems that Korean bands suffer from in an industry that is full of publicity for one particular kind of music, pop music or K-pop, and leaves all others struggling to find their own way of publicity. By ignoring other genres of music, the media (not in this case obviously, I meant the broader scheme) creates the impression that Korean people only listen to K-pop! Which is like say that Irish people only eat potatoes – which is ridiculous because I remember having rice once when I was nine.

Hardships of being an indie musician in Korea

By Niels Footman
SEOUL, Dec. 10 

When singer Song Eun-jie made a shock admission about her life as a musician in Korea, it was sadly unsurprising to people familiar with Korea’s indie scene. “I’m 30 and I make around 600,000 won (US$520) a month, which leaves me just enough to buy a little make-up. My parents say I should get married, or tell me to find a proper job,” she said.

   Speaking in a cable TV documentary in January about Sogyumo Acacia Band, for whom she is the lead singer, Song provided a stark reminder that however vibrant Korea’s TV shows and pop culture have become in recent years, life for the country’s indie musicians remains extremely onerous.

   Nor was hers the only tale of hardship among Korea’s indie musicians to make news this year. Following the death of Lee Jin-won, the singer with indie band Moonlight Nymph, from a heart attack in early November, stories soon emerged of the serious financial difficulties he had reportedly faced toward the end of his life.

Perhaps you will hear more from me on this subject in the future.