Seoul's party culture, I'm told, is evolving in leaps and bounds, especially considering the two parties that just blew through here at the beginning of the summer, and the scale of what they showed could be done here. And man, the young kids are sure getting hipper faster. Jumpin' Jehosaphat, I feel old these days. But being able to participate in the action as a photographer and being out there sure does keep the youthful energy flowing. And hey -- I'm not THAT much of a geezer, since I have a PS3 and still can barely balance a checkbook. In some senses, I'm 22 years old. Umm, then again, maybe that's not so good.
I'm not much of a partier anymore -- wait -- I never really was to begin with. But lately, as I've been shooting more as press for FeetManSeoul.com at certain events, my photography has been getting pushed, as I've been getting forced into more difficult photographic situations, even as I try not to get backed into cliche.
Being able to shoot both outdoors at the 2nd International DJ Festival, as well as in the high-class venue of the Walker Hill's Kayageum Room for Steve Aoki was really a blast, and my photography's finally getting some edge back again. It helps to be in situations where everyone with a camera has potentially the same angles, the same shots, or the same KIND of shots. So you have to ask yourself the question -- how are my shots going to be different?
I asked myself this at the Steve Aoki show, and even with stage access, it was hard to get shots with oomph! in them -- at least shots with oomph! that the other photographers weren't getting. I mean, Steve Aoki's famed party photographer friend The Cobra Snake was there, for gosh sake; even the scantily-clad lady with the camera, who looked more like a clubber from the crowd than a shooter, was shooting for Nike. There was also a woman from Nylon Magazine -- yeesh. A high bar.
How do you effectively shoot party pics? Action? Mixed lighting? Flash-only? What if you literally cannot see the subject in the frame because they're so dark? How do you explain who you are and wanting to explain why you want to take a shot when you can barely hear your own voice while shouting at the top of your lungs?
Man, all these questions and more have been popping up as my street photography lies dead, as I've lost my edge because of fear of being sued in a Korean legal culture that views candid photography as being akin to outright perversion -- I didn't realize it, but after the 2nd book deal fell apart, I had lost both my motivation, and hence, my nerve. You don't keep the latter strong without the former.
But all this photo action these days has me being challenged, adjusting, plateauing, and pushing myself again, a process that has kept me progressing. I'm also teaching a photo class again, and will even open up another section of it (email me to find out more) to those of you who are interested. In any case, I'm glad I'm getting some edge back, and plan to keep rolling with it.
A whole heapin' mess of pictures is available at FeetManSeoul.com -- definitely worth seeing!