Alex Finch snaps Seoul in a flash
Always keep looking for new opportunities, take every chance you can, and keep getting better at your work. These words could describe the person we would like you to meet today – Alex Finch, a photographer who is living in the heart of South Korea – Seoul, and specializes in the street and fashion photography. The photographs already show a certain style of the artist, who found his way in the photography field in a quite interesting way, and it led him into this amazing and unique world he is living in and working today.
How would you introduce yourself to the readers?
Well, I’m a Brit living in Seoul, South Korea and have been for the past 8 years. I shoot mainly street fashion but also do shoots for clients per request as well as my own personal shoots for my portfolio.
What first drew you to fashion and street photography—and how did you discover it?
A friend of mine actually showed me the video that Scott Schumann did for Intel where he explained a bit about his daily schedule and his process for shooting. In that he was wearing a long black coat similar to one that I often wore at the time. My friend joked that I could go about and do the same thing while also actively engaging in Korean – effectively attacking my crippling shyness and my Korean proficiency at the same time.
How long have you been working in this field?
This year is the third year that I’ve been doing it and it’s been getting bigger and bigger since around the 6th month.
What does ‘fashion and street photography’ mean to you?
I see it as shooting what people are wearing at this moment out on the streets where it was intended to be worn. I enjoy shooting at fashion week and witnessing the ‘peacocking’ first hand, but I also enjoy scouring the streets and catching a moment from someone who wasn’t actively trying.
Can you tell us about the project that you are working on now?
I’m currently working on some street style projects with REEBOK Korea and trying to help them produce some consistent content for their new releases – both shoes and apparel. I’m also in contact with a few Korean model agencies to shoot their models and build up their portfolios. I do other work for practice and try different things, or at least I try to understand what I like to shoot myself.
Which project is the most memorable for you?
Working with Stella McCartney and Irene Kim for their ‘One City, One Girl: Seoul’ project has been a real highlight. I’m a big fan of Stella’s designs and I had been friendly with Irene but had never worked with Irene in this capacity prior to that point. It was a long day but we got some great shots and it was invaluable experience.
What do you want the viewers to take from your work?
This question is a bit of a head scratcher for me and I think that it’s the colors that I enjoy playing with the most, so if that’s what people see when they look at my work then I’ll feel like I’m doing something right.
What is the thing you can’t imagine your work process without?
I suppose my cameras. I shoot with a Nikon D810 for ‘work’ and I have recently bought a Leica Q for ‘play’, but the lines have already begun to blur.
Your photography contains some nature elements, industrial feeling…Where do you search for inspiration?
I try not to spend much time looking at the work of people I shoot with on a regular basis because it makes me think that I’m lacking and not working hard enough, but I do regularly sift through Tumblr and Pinterest to find inspiration. It usually starts with an idea, but sometimes a location inspires me and I find myself wanting to try something similar.
What were the difficulties you encountered first when you immersed yourself in street photography?
Due to the language barrier and my shyness, it was very difficult for me to get going. I spent a long time thinking about approaching people and not doing so, but eventually it worked out and I became close to a number of the other photographers shooting in the area. I was very fortunate.
You are currently working in Seoul. How did life bring you here? And does this place make impact on your work?
I moved because I wanted something different and while it could be said that I stumbled into shooting photography, I worked hard and put in the time to make it work. There’s no doubt that it would have gone differently had I decided to head back to the UK and it is thanks to the people that I’ve met here that I’ve been able to be as successful as I have been. When you’re shooting street style, you can’t shoot what isn’t there.
You are a contributor of such magazines such as VOGUE, NOTCH Magazine, REEBOK Classics Street Style. What are your goals for the future?
I would love to be able to move into a little more studio work and rely completely on my photography to make a living. And to create a portfolio that would have brands contacting me for a variety of different projects and also to travel to foreign fashion weeks to sample something of what I see online.
What are some tips you would give yourself if you started street fashion photography all over again?
Number one tip is to keep at it. Don’t worry too much about the camera and focus instead on the lens (which I feel impacts your style a lot more) and actively find people to shoot. Find what you like and try to imitate it. Let others critique your work and be as brave as you possibly can.