Jason Kim

Published by Elise Parkes on 11-May-2011 Interviews

Jason Kim started when he was 15 while living in Chicago. One of his still life photographs appeared, to his surprise, on the cover of his high school’s literary magazine. At that moment Jason got encouraged to just run with the idea of being a photographer at a time when he really didn’t know what he wanted to do with my life.

Platinum Love magazine goes on a one on one with the fabulous Jason Kim.

Why did you move into fashion photography?

I love beautiful men and women with a classical, timeless appeal that also possess features that are unique and memorable. My mom and sister had a huge love for the industry so I was exposed to it at a young age and picked it up from them. I then started testing with the modeling agencies in Chicago, moved to New York, secured some editorial jobs, followed by ad jobs, and things just grew organically from there.

Do you feel you need to define a difference between your fine art fashion photography or the purely commercial, or do you ideally blend the two?

I don’t particularly feel the need to define the two. I always seek to have at least a miniscule amount of commercial appeal in all my work including editorial.

What drives your influence?

Architecture has been a huge influence growing up in such an architectural city that is Chicago. I particularly love the works of Frank Gehry. I approach my work in a very formalist way. I seek to create imagery that is simply timeless and beautiful in all its aesthetics. The way I view architecture is similar in the way I view still imagery in its graphic shape, line, form, movement, and color.

What are your thoughts about the current industry?

The industry today is a time of merging ideas. Fashion photography is always progressing - becoming more digital, fast, and elaborate.  New technology of the digital age should be embraced and used to the fullest advantage of photographers today. It has not hindered the photographic medium but has allowed for truly innovative works to be created ex. ShowStudio, Nowness. The future is in mixed media, where the still image is supplemented with the moving image and graphic design. I believe this is a big break from the works of the old masters.

How do you come up with something innovative every time?

I try not to think too hard about it. When I photograph I don’t think of what is new or fresh, I just do what comes intuitively for me and what feels right. I don’t photograph with the intention of breaking new ground, I create imagery that simply satisfies me and what I believe satisfies the viewer.

Are there any projects you are working on?

I recently collaborated with Richard Chai for VMAN with fashion editor Tom Van Dorpe. I also have a slew of other projects coming out this summer that you will just have to wait and see.

Do you prefer working with menswear or women’s wear?

I enjoy shooting both menswear and women’s wear and I find myself approaching them quite differently. I originally started out shooting strictly women but really grew to absolutely love shooting men. Menswear is great because there is so much in the realm that has not been done, so I naturally find it exhilarating and fresh. I feel the market for menswear is growing as opposed to years past which I think is an exciting moment. As for women’s wear, the clothing is always fun, playful, and many times much more dramatic in shape, form, and color which I can use to my advantage.

What’s your favourite photography medium and what’s your preferred camera?

I work in primarily digital but have dabbled in large format film which I really appreciate for its quality and texture that is unmatched by other mediums. I transition between Canon and Mamiya RZ67 depending on what I’m shooting but I truly believe cameras are irrelevant when it comes to vision. You can give someone the exact same equipment and they will create a completely different image for better or for worse.

What do you like in fashion & what do you dislike?

I love meeting new people and collaborating with such talented individuals. The actual process of making images and being on set with different stylists, make-up artists, hair stylists, models, assistants etc. is the most enjoyable part for me. Fashion can be quite vapid and judgmental at times especially in such a competitive atmosphere. I feel some people just need to loosen up and not take the industry so seriously – it is fashion after all.


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