What inspires you most as a photographer?
The world around me is what inspires me. My photography changes with my environment. I’ve gone from deer in the front yard, chickens in the back, to the urban behemoth that is Busan. Even when everything seems or feels bleak and depressing, I can pick up my camera and find something beautiful or interesting to capture. I think that’s really what keeps me going.
Who are some photographers that you look up to?
That’s such a hard question because the list is always changing and growing. I think some of the biggest influences on me recently are people like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Steve McCurry, Diane Arbus and Andreas Gursky. I don’t limit myself, though. I take inspiration from paintings and movies just as often as from other photographers.
What are some early mistakes you made that you could offer up as advice for amateur photographers to avoid?
I think the best advice I could give is don’t give up. Don’t look at other photographers’ work and think, “Man, I’ll never be that good.” A lot of the amazing pictures you see were taken by people who have been shooting for decades. They had their terrible years, too.
Go out and shoot something you’ve never shot before. Set challenges for yourself. The more you challenge yourself and play around, the more you grow. Don’t be afraid of failure.
Be realistic. Good art takes time. Practice and dedication are your best friends. Never stop growing.
You can only shoot one or the other for the rest of your life. Which do you choose – black and white or color?
Color. That may seem surprising when you look at my work, but it’s true. Often I use black and white when shooting because I don’t feel like color adds anything to the image. I’d say 90% of the time color doesn’t help, and it can actually hurt sometimes. But that last 10% is so worth it. When color really helps an image, it truly makes it.