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Foraging for beauty: Creating a powerful visual feast

By Matthew Oxley | 1 year ago

Ja Soon Kim is a photographer, art director, painter and certified Iyengar Yoga instructor. She was an award-winning art director in Honolulu and a world traveller. Her formal education is in philosophy and fine arts. Born and raised in Seoul, Korea, Ja Soon has lived all over the world, now calling Santa Fe, New Mexico home.

We featured her work for a week on the @WorldPhotoOrg feed. 

Hi Ja Soon. Please introduce your self and your photography to our audience

I was born in Seoul, Korea and have lived in New York City, Maui, Honolulu, Paris, and now in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I am a Yoga/meditation instructor.

I am relatively new to photography. I was an art director in Hawaii and had the opportunity to work with some of the best photographers. I now realize how much I need to learn to become the photographer I wish to be. I am grateful for the support from Fujifilm. 


Tell us about the series of images we featured. Do you have a favorite, and why? 

I was so happy you chose black background ones. They are my personal favorites. I think it's hard to say why except that the contrast is pleasing to my eye. When I create these images, I consider those times to be my meditation.

Talk us through the logistics of these images. Do you find the food and leaves etc your self? How do you put together each image?

I have no particular logistics as I approach each picture. It all depends on what I am shooting, where I found what I am shooting, and my state of mind while putting together a picture.  That said, I am inspired by what I have found, where I was when I found them. The whole process allows me time to be quiet. This is my meditation. Sometimes I use my experience while teaching yoga and meditation.

Most of the time I work on either white or black background for simplicity and consistency. I shoot all my pictures in one of the rooms in my house with available natural light. 

Most of the things I show are found while hiking or walking my dog near where I live. I try my best to not contribute to unnecessary carbon footprint by travelling far to find things. Fortunately, I travel a lot and live surrounded by natural beauty in New Mexico.

Why photography? What does the medium mean to you? 

For me, photography means remembering my father who was a serious amateur photographer. I remember all the equipment, darkroom and the camera bag that he always carried. He would’ve been tickled to know that I am taking pictures now.


Do you have a photographic philosophy? 

I consider photography an art form and I don’t think any true artist feel that their work is philosophical. That’s for others to decide. I am always trying to see things a bit closer than others. It's my nature to be curious about things other people perhaps don’t pay much attention to. I appreciate spectacular landscapes I see on Instagram, but looking closer with zero carbon footprint is more my style.

What inspires you? 

Everything, when I pay more attention and look a bit closer. Ordinary things inspire me. 






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