Contact Sheet: Eric Kim Profile Photo

Eric Kim. Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea.
Eric Kim. Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea.

I’ve been working a little bit on this series of “contact sheets.” So far, I talked about a couple of my favorite photos from the past year or so. This one, ha, is a bit funny. The story behind taking Eric’s current (at the time of this writing) profile photo.

Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea.
Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea.

The story starts in the Hongdae District of Seoul. Eric and his girlfriend Cindy had come to Korea for a workshop that Eric and I would teach for Leica Korea. Not drinking much these days, Eric asked for a tour of coffee shops in Hongdae, famous mostly for a different type of drink.

I knew of one cool little cafe that I had been too a couple of years ago in the downstairs of a pub. Honestly, it had been converted into a coffee shop/house in which we ended up in the “library” sitting room.

This book above was on our table.

A cool photo, we thought. It is Truman Capote in case you were curious. I had seen it before as had Eric. He jokingly said he wanted me to take a similar one of him with the twist of my style, whatever that means, ha.

So, this ensued:

Eric Kim Contact. Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea.
Eric Kim Contact. Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea.

Overall, I took ten photos including the photo of the book. I used a Sony compact camera with flash. We tried some different poses and attempts to get the light I wanted.

Eric Kim.
Eric Kim.

The cafe was pretty dark so I used the flash on the camera. I almost always do now anyway. I still couldn’t really get it right so I had our other friend, Harry, hold a couple of phones with their flashes on for some extra light diffusing one with a napkin, lol. I guess the moral of the story is to use what you’ve got.

Eric Kim. Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea.
Eric Kim. Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea.

In fact, this was my favorite, ha. Eric and I usually agree on photos so I suppose it is kinda ironic that we would have different favorites. I think the one he likes is closer to the original, so that’s cool.

Either way, I quite like the photo. Like many of my photos now, I don’t care a whole lot about whether or not they are great photos as long as I like them and they serve their purpose to me.

To be a good memory.

In this case, a funny one.


On a bit of a side note, Eric will be at Gulf Photo Plus in Dubai coming up soon. I will also have a couple of photos being exhibited there, although I will not be there in person. This is one of the photos (also from Hongdae):

Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea.
Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea.


  1. Hi JT, thanks for sharing the pictures and the story behind them. Love the DIY napkin reflector approach & the playful variation with the camera, even if it didn’t work as well as the ones with the glasses. Hope to see more ‘behind the scenes contact sheets’ soon. Perhaps I’ll do one myself, I really like the idea.

  2. I was kinda surprised Eric chose that picture as a profile pic, to me this gesture brings me back bad memories since many kids would do that gesture to mock asians by mimicking chinky eyes. Good to know he was just copying Capote.

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