Interview with AEKYUNG ROH, SOUTH KOREA

Updated: May 17


I think that film photography helps us not to lose our humanity.



Cheers for joining us here, AeKyung. Super excited to have you here. Mind telling us about yourself and why you're into film photography?


AeKyung: My name is AeKyung Roh. I'm from South Korea. I majored in Architecture and I'm currently working for an export company. I've been shooting film photos since I met a friend who is deeply into film photography. She had a lot of Leica's film camera and let me use all of them. Since then, I've been fascinated by film photography. I went to a used camera shop in Seoul and bought my own camera. The camera is NikonF3. I've been using the camera since that moment.



What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?


AeKyung: I shoot in 35mm format so far. I use both color and black and white films. Actually I'm using a lot of kinds film stocks. I've used 35mm films from Fuji, Kodak, Rollei, Ilford, Pentax, Lomography. Favorite is Kodak Proimage 100 for color and Rollei RPX 400 for black and white.

I only use one camera, NikonF3 with 50mm lens. This is pretty well balanced. I mainly take street photos with this. For me, the 50mm lens is the best way to capture what I see with my eyes.




What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?



AeKyung: Film photography seems like a work created by light, film and me. This is the point that catches me. Personally, I often feel that digital photography is created only by myself. Cause I can control almost everything. Of course, digital photography can express what a film can't do. I think film cameras not only work within people's expectations and ideas, but also give them the opportunity to get out of it.


Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?

AeKyung: I feel comfortable having my photographs printed in a lab. But I would like to do both photo developing and printing myself. I'm planning on building a small darkroom in my house in a few years for film developing.



What motivates you to continue making photographs with film? Have you learned anything about yourself through film photography?


AeKyung: There is something in the film photographs. The most clear points are the color and mood of the film photographs. Those often adds a big impact to the scenes I shoot. It might be in a positive way or the opposite. Both results are fascinating. I'm so into film photographs. And there is nothing to substitute for it. Film photographs taught me patience. And I learned how awesome it is to capture the moment.


Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?


AeKyung: The photograhers who influenced my photography is still difficult to say exactly. But there is a photographer I love the most, Andre Kertesz. Since I started taking film photos, I've seen the works of many photographers. Among them, Andre Kertesz's work impressed me indeed. My life and soul respond to his work, and I fully agree with his view. He's took a lot of journalistic and aesthetic photos. He captured the beauty of form and texture while capturing people and objects, time and light. I love his work very much. I also tend to capture morphological beauty when capturing random moments.



Do you see any value or merits shooting with film? 


AeKyung: Of course I do. It's worthwhile that film photography preserves analogue. Film photography teaches me patience, success, failure, challenge and this kind of things. I think that film photography helps us not to lose our humanity.


What do you think your future is like with film photography?


AeKyung: For me, film photography is a bridge that helps me connect with the world in a different way. I've known a lot of people who share the same hobbies since I started film photography. This enriches my life. I will continue this my whole life until film companies around the world disappear.


Any dream film photography project in mind?


AeKyung: I've traveled and mainly took street photos with the characteristics of each city. My dream project is completely different kind. What I want to shoot the most is the animals. I love animals and want to take pictures of them. More specifically, I want to capture the helpless daily life of animals trapped in the zoo. I've already done this a bit. As I took pictures of animals, I felt that their emotions were as diverse as humans. I want to proceed with this project so that many people can see it.




Would you like to offer some good words to those who want to try film photography for the first time? What must they learn before venturing into this format?



AeKyung: If you are going to try film photography for the first time, I recommend you to learn how to use it from the person who takes film photos. One or two hours should be enough. It would be much better than wrestling with books, video clips or information posted on the Internet.

I think the most important thing to learn is how to insert and remove film. If the film breaks, nothing makes sense. No matter how good your are. I think it's the basic and the most important.


AeKyung, a lot of photographers around the world are finding ways to keep themselves busy during this lockdown, and coming up with activities to make self-isolation a bit more interesting. What are your ways to keep busy while you have to stay at home?


AeKyung: In my case, I spend time looking through my old photos with a more objective view. It's more interesting than I thought. And I'm taking pictures of my family and my dog staying at home together. I hope you all stay healthy and bear this situation well.



Thank you, AeKyung, for sharing your brilliant work and your sound insights. Without your contribution, this project would just have been another dream. Stay safe out there.


You can catch AeKyung's extraordinary work on Instagram.

 

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Well now, if you are a passionate film photographer and would like to be interviewed? I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email at mapamelvin@gmail.com with the subject, "Interview me", and share your story, thoughts, and work related to film photography. I’ll get back to you as soon as I receive your request for an interview.


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Cheers!

Mel


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