12 de julio de 2017

Portraying love

An Interview with Lorryn Smit

Lorryn Smit is a Children's Portrait and Wedding Photographer based in Gwangju, South Korea.

She is the Editor in Chief of Photographers in Korea and the photo editor of the Gwangju News and also does some freelance work for a few local publications. Her pictures show us the beauty of the wedding ceremonies with harmony between Korean traditions and modern touches, to document those wonderful moments of life.

1.- Where are you from? Tell us about your homeland.
I come from South Africa, a beautiful country with diverse landscapes and people. I was born in the city of Pretoria where I spent most of my childhood. Though I grew up in the city, it still had some nearby escapes which my grandmother frequently took me to during school holidays. When I was 15 my family relocated to Ermelo, a small town to the east of the capital city of Johannesburg. The town is surrounded by farmlands and open pleins which reminded me of my times with my grandmother. I think this greatly influences my stylistic use of negative space in my pictures.

2.- What takes you to South Korea?
I originally came to Korea to teach English. I was told I could pay off my student loans and travel relatively easily at the same time, and so I decided to give it a go. I fell in love with the country and the culture and I've made it my home now for 7 years!

3.- What is the best thing about your life in Korea?
The best thing about life in Korea for me is the abundance of opportunities in the country. It is relatively easy for creatives to find each other and network. I love that starting projects and collaborating with other very talented individuals is so easy and most people are very inviting and friendly to work with.

"I believe that being a foreign photographer at a Korean wedding is an incredible advantage. I see ordinary Korean elements as beautiful, traditional gems. I incorporate the best from Western style wedding-photography with the beauty that every Korean wedding has to offer"

4.- What is the meaning of "Photography" in your life?
To put it simply: photography is my life. When I first started taking pictures I was constantly looking for one. This resulted in pretty forced pictures but looking back, that taught me the beauty of every day life. I saw little things in a different light (quite literally) and I was slowly teaching myself to be more present in life. Being more present gave me a sense of joy and peace and now when I take pictures for my own pleasure or for clients I get transported to that peaceful, joyful place.

5.- Tell us about your job as wedding photographer...
I have always loved weddings. I used to play dress up with my cousin and we would pretend to hold a wedding. In university I thought I would become a wedding planner someday and in Korea I fell in love with photography and that's how I got into the wedding business. Being a wedding photographer is a big honor to me, I know that sounds so cliché but it really is. The fact that people trust to invest their money in my work and they trust me to create the best version of their memories, means so much to me. To me I have the most important job in the entire wedding because what I deliver, is the only thing that the couple has to show for their special day and that will become family heirlooms as years pass. So I take my job pretty seriously. There is something magical about a wedding that lights me up. The dress, the emotions, families coming together. I love it all!

"My love for weddings has been apart of me since I was a little girl. I watched dozens of wedding themed movies, played dress up and paged through countless wedding magazines"
6.- How do you find the perfect moment for a picture?
I don't think the word "find" is an accurate word to describe the way I get that perfect moment. I prefer "wait". One of the things I had to work very hard on as a wedding photographer is the anticipation of moments. With time you learn which parts in the ceremony pulls at the strings of the couples' hearts and when it comes to portraits of the bride and groom, what kinds of prompts will result in the specific emotions I am looking for. I basically position myself in the right spot or set them up and then just wait. For example during the wedding ceremony, when the couple bows to each sets of parents I know which parent will usually cry. The groom's mom and the bride's dad will show the most emotion in my experience and so when the time comes, I can position myself in the perfect place and wait.

"My aim is to create a gorgeous and unique love story from every wedding that I photograph. I am currently based in Gwangju, South Korea but I am happy to travel any distance to wedding location"

7.- From your gallery... which one is your favorite picture? Why?
Wow, how do I choose? I don't think I can. Each wedding or pre-wedding for that matter has a magic moment and every time that becomes my new favorite haha! As I learn and get better my favorites change all the time.

8.- What inspire you?
Korea in general is pretty inspiring to me. It is constantly evolving and adapting to keep up with Western trends. I love how young people now are going back to traditional elements of Korean culture and specifically wedding culture and modernizing them. Like the hanbok is making a big comeback which I am so happy about because I am obsessed with them. So I keep up with Korean trends and western trends to keep me inspired to create more unique wedding work.

9.- Who are your favorite photographers?
Again, so many. I enjoy a variety of work. There is so much talent in this world that I prefer to follow Instagram accounts like Follow this Light, Photobug Community, Dear Photographer, etc. From wedding photographers I Iove Land of the White Deer, Ken Pak, Susan Stripling. I also learn a lot from a network called Fearless Photographers. They are considered some of the best in the world, so I spend a lot of time looking and learning from their art. I enjoy the work of Sue Bryce for her soft and feminine portraits. I love looking at local photographers in Korea too. I think every picture you look at influences the way you see and take your next picture. I'm kinda constantly on Instagram, haha.

10.- Tell us about your favorites artist, books and movies...
I find it hard to get stuck into novels and fiction books but I do enjoy reading non-fiction. I love learning about many different things but probably my biggest fascination is the relationship we have with our minds. I think it's downplayed in life and especially in photography. When I started exploring my mind and my awareness I noticed a huge difference in my photography. I don't really watch movies but I love watching documentaries on Netflix and tv series. I enjoy chef's table a lot, I'm currently addicted to The Blacklist too.

11.- Which one is your biggest dream?
My biggest dream right now is to find a beautiful studio space that I can develop (and let's be honest, afford). I dream of having a fun office space to work in and having a fantastic team to all share the same space to create and collaborate together.

12.- Where and when do you find them? Tell us about them...
Yeah, they are probably the best part of my day each day. Dino (the brown dog) I got 5 and a half years ago. Before I knew about the terrible puppy mill industry, I decided to buy a dog because I really missed having dog companionship and at that point I knew I was staying more long term. Ringo I got less than a year ago. He was at a petshop that I pass everyday on Dino's walk and he was not being sold. He was four months old already and malnourished. I couldn't stand seeing him like that anymore, so I convinced the owner to give me the dog instead. They are honestly one of the best things to ever happen to me!

A Quote from Lorryn Smit...

"To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it"

To know more about the work of Lorryn Smit visit her oficial sites:

All the pictures are protected under Copyright law by Lorryn Smit and are used with permission.

To read the Spanish version of this interview click HERE (Coming Soon)

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