Photographer: Ken Lee
Location: I currently live in Gwangju, South Korea. A good base for me is where you can have access to interesting places and a good network of friends around you. Also, it’s a place where you are constantly inspired and challenged to grow as a person. Living in a place where there is no challenge frightens me.
Style: It’s really hard to pinpoint my style, but I guess composition wise, I am really drawn to ‘clean’ photos. When I first started out I came across some photographers who were able to capture lifestyle themed photos. It really intrigued me because I usually thought ‘good photos’ were only of exotic destinations and bursting with color. The fact that nowadays, people can take something so minimal and make it so powerful, makes me want to try it out as well without having to spend a fortune on flight tickets. I enjoy shooting wacky architecture the most, and interiors. The more unique it is the better!
Equipment: My gear is very simple. I only use a Canon 5D MkII with a 50mm lense. I also use my iPhone 6 quite often. Mobile camera technology is so amazing these days. Post editing wise, I use Photoshop Lightroom, Snapseed and Vscocam on my phone.
Photography is all about capturing that moment. What’s the secret?
I think it depends on what type of photo you shoot, but I guess the secret is patience. You might end up having to do several takes in order to get that one photo you have imagined. If it’s street photography, you might end up waiting at the same spot for an hour to find that right person and the right place at the right time.
“Constantly learn from other photographers or photography books.”
How did you get into photography? Tell us about your first experience.
I decided to start a blog and document my experience in South Korea for my close family and friends back at home. I thought, to make the blog more visually appealing, I'd add photos, and then one thing led to another. By constantly updating the blog it gave me the opportunity to visit new places and improve my skills gradually.
Tell us the story behind one of the most memorable photos you’ve shot.
It would probably be when I was chosen to photograph the Korean Gold Olympic Medallist Ki Bo Bae two years ago. It felt like such a reward to be able to meet a champion and the fact that she was the first well-known person I get to shoot for a magazine, it gave me huge encouragement and motivation to strive further.
What is a constant source of inspiration for you as a photographer?
Travelling and constantly admiring and learning from other photographers around the world. Instagram is perfect for that.
Who has been a great influence or mentor to you and what did you learn from them that you still carry with you today?
There are just too many names to mention. I kind of like to gather all the photographers I like and pick out the aspects I love about each and then try to put them in my photo.
Tell us three photography tips.
1) Constantly learn from other photographers or photography books.
2) Don’t let anyone dictate how you should take photos. A ‘good photo’ is subjective.
3) Practice and experiment wherever you can.
"Don’t let anyone dictate how you should take photos. A ‘good photo’ is subjective."
Finish the sentence.
If I weren’t afraid I would... take more risks. I always like to be careful and know my limits, but that also can lead to opportunities and potential shots being lost.
I wouldn't be where I am today if... I purposely didn’t place myself in uncomfortable situations.
I've been listening to... The Script
Kids these days... need to be nicer to each other.
I look and feel my best when... I achieve a goal.
When no one is looking I... dance shamelessly.
Traveling... recharges my batteries and brings in new perspectives.
I respect... people who challenge themselves.
Tag a friend to feature and ask them a question:
Rey Canlas, @reycanlasjr. If you travelled back in time and met yourself when you first started photography, what advice would you give yourself?
Rey Canlas answered: Learn the fundamentals of photography, including its history and heritage. Be bold and daring, and don’t be afraid to experiment - push the boundaries of what you’re capable of. Shoot with intention and have a point of view in mind. Be relentless and have conviction in the art of photography.