Seoul, South Korea.
Seoul, South Korea.

More fish. After spending the previous weekend in Busan I found it hard to get away from the couple of photos I took there. I feel like I figured something out about myself there.

I’ve always found it really hard to explain why I like the photos I take with small, compact cameras more. It always seemed that if I went on a trip or something no matter how many huge cameras I took the photos I ended up liking the most were the ones from the smaller cameras.

Seoul, South Korea.
Seoul, South Korea.

I think I figured it out.

I don’t like to take pictures with my brain. When I see something I want to photograph I want to photograph it right away. It may be nothing, may look like nothing, but at that moment I know I want to take a picture. When using a bigger camera, I feel like the photo I take doesn’t match my mood or feeling at the time I took it. There is always a momentary lapse of consciousness from when I’ve felt I wanted to take a picture to when I actually do. I’m thinking about things, settings, flash, ISO, bokeh or no bokeh, and the like. Even if these things only go through my head for a moment or a fraction of a moment, when I actually take the photo it no longer matches the feeling I initially had.

Seoul, South Korea.
Seoul, South Korea.

It IS that moment between. Seems like nothing, but it is the difference. I want a photo I take to match the feeling I had when I decided to take it. I guess I take photos of feelings. Maybe thats why some people say my photos are intimate. I doubt it is because they are close as much as it is that they are all a self portrait of my own feelings. 

Seoul, South Korea.
Seoul, South Korea.

I remember playing games like this when I was a kid. More so I remember being the kid on the right watching my friends play. Not sure why I did that. I had that feeling when I took this photo.

Seoul, South Korea.
Seoul, South Korea.

This one, I remember thinking how hands tell a lot about a person. I startled the man with the flash being so close (the camera was just next to his shoulder). He asked me why I took the photo and I told him simply what I had thought, hands tell a lot about about a person. He told me his father you used to tell him that when he was a kid. He is a 82 now.

Seoul, South Korea.
Seoul, South Korea.

There is an intimacy to using a small camera I completely miss with a bigger one. I remember buying a Leica with a 50mm lens because I liked that it allowed me to be a sort of voyeur. I could stand back and watch things. I don’t care much to photograph that way anymore. I want to be close. I want to be intimate.

Seoul, South Korea.
Man enjoying coffee at Gyonbok Gong coffee shop in Seoul, South Korea.
Seoul, South  Korea.
Gyunbok Gong coffee shop menu, Seoul, South Korea.

Photography has stopped becoming about the photos I take but more about the relationships I make. I’m basically a shy person. I think most photographers are. The camera is just a way to get close. Anders Petersen said something similar and I completely agree now. The camera is just a tool to get closer. A tool to explore myself.

Near Seoul, South Korea.
Near Seoul, South Korea.

Almost everything I’ve said I’ve heard one time or another listening to some of my favorite photographers. I’m surprised at how none of it really sank in. For years I’ve listened to Moriyama talk about how small cameras help him photograph his “feeling” in a way big ones couldn’t. To me, it is one of those things I thought people says. Artists, myself included, speak mostly bullshit. Half of everything I type is hollow. At least, so I thought. I don’t really think so anymore.

Maybe I finally fucking get it.

Seoul, South Korea.
Seoul, South Korea.

I suppose its funny it took a 9 year old camera I found under the seat of my Aunt’s car (where it had been through 2 winters) to show me the way.

Seoul, South Korea.

June 2014.


  1. I look forward to reading the writings that accompany your photos. Each time I read what your write I think I know more about you. Keep it coming. Thanks

    1. Thanks Alan, I’m always happy to hear from you! I suppose a lot of the times it is more about the writing than the photos. Blogging is a good venting conduit and I try to use it as such. Keep coming back!

  2. Beautiful shots… I especially love the one of the old man’s hand 🙂 And I agree with you… hands can tell you so much about a person.

    1. Thanks! I don’t take many of them anymore as I feel like it is something that is done too much and usually as a cop out. But, sometimes in a situation like this it felt fitting.

  3. I’ll resonate your reasonings regarding utilising a compact camera to shoot an image that is on a more personal level as compared to a more solid dslr. In fact i find it a breeze to use an android phone to capture street photography, it does not intimidate the subject instantly. A click on the button to capture that precise moment, ignoring the technical part. Continue to do what you belief in. Time will set the change in future.

    1. Thanks Ricky, and I agree. I don’t own anything very big anymore and rarely use those. Not necessary. Especially with film compacts where you can print as large as you’d like.

  4. I really enjoy watching your photos. Not only because of your style, but also because of the fact that they represent places physically so far away from me -even though there isn’t anything destinguishing from Seoul, it’s the whole idea of it.

    1. Thanks, I get that. I know I rarely show much of Seoul in the traditional sense. I suppose, it just doesn’t fit my eye anymore. Glad you appreciate the photos none-the-less.

  5. Beautiful images. And what you’ve written about them – and about the process – is just as good. There’s plenty of metaphoric food for thought in some of your observations….but in the meantime, most – no, make that all – of your photographs here … get better when one takes the time to look at them a second (or third) time.

  6. Came here via Eric Kim on Google+…

    I really like the strong contrast, dark edges and vignetting of your photographs, it further adds to the intimacy you talk about.

    This post comes at a great time for me. I have too many cameras and have been looking at ways to hone down and simplify. Two days ago I decided to set myself a new challenge – Buy a digital compact on eBay for less than £10 and make some amazing photographs with it. One £9.87 purchase later, it’s on its way…

    My first four, maybe even five years of photography was all done with Sony Ericsson/ Cybershot camera phones – they’re capable of some excellent images, especially for such tiny lenses.

    Love the story of your Cybershot – found in your aunt’s car!

    Thanks for the post, I’ll be checking out more of your work.

  7. Hi,
    i`m Emma, an italian girl. For my street i use only my phone, an HTC one. It allows me being close to my subject taking intimate photos without scaring him. As the disadvantagies are the low quality and the discomfort to shoot at the hight sun because i don’t see the screen. Despite that, it works very well.
    Then I agree with shooting with a small camera, for that reasons and for a space and weight question.
    I love your way to shoot, intimate and your b/w. Great article!
    Greetings from Como lake, Italy!!

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