In addition to being widely known as the exclusive photographer for the Korean TV show, Infinite Challenges , Park, Ji Man also works on album covers and fashion shoots. As a professional photographer, he has held exhibits and is currently leading an active career. Here, he talks about those special photographs he has for years taken with a LC-A camera, as well as about Lomography and photography.
Please introduce yourself to our Lomography audience.
I drew pictures to enter college, then majored in motion graphic design and began taking photographs. Ever since graduation, I’ve worked full-time as a photographer exhibiting my work, and working on album covers and fashion shoots. Now, I’m the exclusive photographer for Infinity Challenges .
Do you have an interesting episode to tell regarding your first Lomography camera?
It was the year between high school and college when I first used a Lomo LC-A camera that belonged to an unusual friend of mine. He majored in graphic design, but now rides around in a road bicycle that he built himself. He also works as a mechanic, and is currently working towards building custom-made bicycles. It’s a little funny that he and I are involved in areas that are somewhat relevant but aren’t really related to our majors.
If you can describe the Lomo LC-A+ camera in five words, what would they be?
Joy. Light. Simple. Unexpected. Durable.
If you can recommend three songs that complement your photographs, what would they be?
You’re well known as the exclusive photographer for Infinite Challenges. Was there a particular time that was especially difficult, or fun, or simply memorable?
Well, the most difficult shoot was during a special that took place on an uninhabited island a couple years ago. It was truly deserted, so there were no homes, no bathrooms. (I believe a shot of Park, Hui Soon crouching amidst some wilted grass made it on to the air…) There was absolutely nothing. There was lodging available for the staff on an island across the way, but as the shoot got more delayed and the ebbs and winds got stronger, the boat captain left. The staff ended up having to sleep on the beach.
If you can rate the members of Infinity Challenge that you personally prefer as models, how would it go?
The first is definitely Hong-Chul. He has such a diverse set of poses and expressions that his photographs usually turn out pretty great. The second is Hyung-Don. At first he was a little shy, but as we approached the end of the second year, he became more comfortable and the photographs improved that much more. The third is Jae-Suk. He takes care of his body so well, and his body is such that any clothing looks good on him, so the photographs tend to come out well. The fourth is Myung-Soo. Surprisingly, he poses well for the camera, and given that his face is the most comedic, I’m able to capture those rare shots of him during serious moments when his expression is completely different. As for numbers five through seven…They’re all pretty much the same, so it’s difficult to discern the merits from the demerits.
If there is one figure that you want to capture in photograph for the rest of your life, who would it be?
My girlfriend…And eventually wife if we get married. I want to capture her in photographs for the rest of my life.
Do you have a shooting location that you’d like to recommend for others? Why do you want to recommend this spot?
The National Agricultural Training Institute in Ansung. It’s well enough known now that many visit to capture the scene, but I live around there and so used to go often. I want to recommend the place because I’ve taken a few photographs there that I really like.
If you can go anywhere right now, where would you go? And once there, what would you like to do?
I’d like to go to Paris, France. There, I can spend the day walking and taking photos, and when hungry grab a bite, and then when I get drowsy, I can go to any nearby park and lie down on the grass and fall asleep. I just want to spend time taking photos like this. In 2007, I lived like this in Paris for two months, and it felt like heaven… It’s a place I sometimes wish of returning.
Do you have a particular subject that you’re drawn to shooting?
I take photos of people. Even for photos that aren’t related to work, I tend to prefer people as the subjects. I started out with scenery and flowers, but at some point, I became drawn to people, perhaps because they are the ones with the most diverse forms.
Of the Lomography Ten Golden Rules, which do you most sympathize with?
I sympathize the most with Rule No. 1. I still carry my camera around everywhere, and thanks to it, I’ve been able to capture those scenes that are often missed or passed. I think it’s a rule that greatly helps define one’s own viewpoint and style.
Other than Lomography camera, please tell us about three cameras that you usually use.
Given that I do work a lot, I definitely use the Canon esos5d most often. And then it’s the Leica Minilux, which is compact and reaches an optimal color palette. Lastly, the Contax N-1 is a camera that I use often for personal work and so I’m that much more attached to it. The moment I held it in my hand at the shop, I was drawn to it as though this were it and ended up purchasing it. Ninety percent of the photos displayed at my solo exhibit were taken by the Contax N-1.
Where do you receive tips or information from regarding analogue photographs?
I don’t have a separate place really, but I do gain some information about printing, scan, and prints during conversations at the printer, Print BODA. Other than that, I don’t have too much of an interest in cameras, so don’t usually go searching for tips. Around six years ago, I did join a camera club where I would test out others’ cameras and ask questions, but now everybody’s pretty busy so we haven’t had the chance.
Who is your favorite photographer abroad?
I like the French photographer Sarah Moon. The photos she takes are truly beautiful.
Compared to other digital and film cameras, what do you think is the appeal of Lomography cameras?
I think it’s the unexpected joy. It’s joyous taking the photos, and joyous seeing the photos you’ve taken. You first wonder whether this camera will even take photos, then you see the results that are unexpectedly great or interesting, which makes the activity so much more pleasurable.
Lomography has the motto, “The Future is Analogue!” What do you think is the future of analogue film, and more broadly, the future of analogue?
I think as much as it’s disappearing from the scene, the value of it will increase. Because film photographs possess a fullness that digital photographs can’t attain. Those who insist on only using films will be acknowledged for that value and acquire the title of master who fulfills that requisite of making daily emotions that much richer.
Do you have any advice for those who are looking to enjoy analogue film photographs in the future?
Analogue is more expensive and annoying than digital. But you also get to feel the thrill of going to the photo studio and beholding the rich colors and tones during development. And as much as the cost is higher, you will devote yourself that much more to each photograph, more focused in producing one that you truly like. In other words, the two flaws I mentioned earlier become the advantages. It makes the whole process that much more enjoyable.