Interview: Photographer Jinyong Kim of People Purple

When we wanted to shoot our first Style Edit campaign, Clean Slate, we got in touch with Jinyong Kim from the blog, People Purple.  Jinyong has always been on our radar for his ability to capture beauty in the most ingenuous way.

His style blurs the lines between portraiture, street style and fashion editorial.  He pursued photography full-time after having a stint in fashion merchandising and realized it just wasn’t where his passions lied.  Inspired initially by Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist, Jinyong started with shooting street style but naturally transitioned to shooting more editorials and campaigns and have worked with top models Irene Kim and Lee Hye Seung, as well as local independent designers such as Low Classic and Monday Edition.

photograph of palm tree by jinyong kim

On the day of our shoot, we tromped through the streets of the Apgujeong district of Seoul on an overcast day with a small team of creatives. The whole shooting process was very spontaneous and uncontrived.  With a visual map in his head of every wall of every back alley in Apgujeong, Jinyong worked quickly and quietly, matching together outfit and backdrop into a seamless story.  It’s this spontaneity we’re so drawn to, a thing of beauty when fashion photography can sometimes seem too devised and meticulous.  His images capture that fleeting moment of raw connection between subject and photographer in a visceral way.  Speaking to him, you realize how humble and genuine he is, and how truly he just wants to express himself through his work.tumblr_ni7vqxdDwx1rq0afbo1_1280.png
photography by jinyong kimtumblr_njie0miEEa1rq0afbo4_1280

tumblr_njr1ifPz8r1rq0afbo8_1280.pngRead more below for a quick Q&A with Jinyong.  Follow him at his blog, People Purple, and on Instagram @thepeoplepurple

1) What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?

I think the quality of my work is not good enough to have influence on people yet. It’s not been long since I became a professional photographer. Sometime in the future though, I want people to understand “me” through my photographs. In that sense, I just want to express who I am through photography. And I hope that they find it attractive.

2) You shoot with both digital and film cameras – what’s your favorite camera to shoot with?  How do you think each one differs in how it helps you get your point across? 

I use digital cameras for commercial photography, in which I need to convey a sense of accuracy rather than express feelings and emotions, and where no mistakes are allowed.

With film cameras, on the other hand, I can be more emotional and they are great to express moods.  So, for my own work, I usually use film cameras. Therefore, I like film cameras more. Film cameras can express many things that digital cameras can’t.


tumblr_nigjxmSFfI1rq0afbo9_1280two models photographed by jinyong kim

3) If you could photography anybody, who would it be?

It’s really hard to pick just one but a lot of times when I read magazines or look on the web, I’d think, ‘This person is very interesting and I want to photograph them.’ Recently I saw the model, Edita Vilkeviciute in a magazine and found her very attractive. If I can photograph anyone I want, I want to photograph her first.

4) Tell us your favorite spots or hangouts in Seoul.

I spend most of my time in my home and the office. If I do go out, I go to Itaewon, Apgujeong, Hapjeong, Seongsu, and Anguk.  I go to these areas when I would like to feel Seoul.

model photographed by jinyong kim

tumblr_nk7xfxdG8Z1rq0afbo7_r2_1280.pngComplete the sentences:

Beauty is an imperfection.

I couldn’t live without sneakers.

I start the day with checking social media.

I end the day with thinking about tomorrow’s plans.

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