Five Goals For 2019

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

So, it is 2019. How time flies. I can’t believe last year went by so quickly. Was shocking to me. Was really one of the best years in my life. That is, at least personally. It almost felt like a vacation of a year. 2019 is here and I need to buckle down and get productive. Here are my five goals for 2019:

They rarely leave me alone.. 😉

Number One: Blog More

This one is kind of a must. The beginning of all this photography stuff from me came from my blog. I’ve become more lazy when it comes to my blog. I posted five or six times all of last year. That isn’t enough. I need to be better.

I plan to blog at least once a week, rain or shine. Some of the posts may very well be boring. I am still going to write them though. It is something I need to do for me.

I purchased a domain for the first time in my life today: jtinseoul.com.

#feelsgoodman

Iksan, South Korea. Sometime in 2018.

Number Two: Take More Photos

This one may seem obvious. I took around 500 photos last year. That is down from the 800 the year before. Down again from the 1100 in 2016. I need to be better at this too. I think this goes hand in hand with my blog posts being down. I write my blog posts based on my photos and not the other way round.

I have started walking in the mornings with my camera. This isn’t something I’d done in a really long time. I very rarely just take photos. I always needed to have a purpose. Another purpose. I consider my other purpose to be getting in better shape.

Iksan, 2017. Leica M3.

Number Three: Get in Better Shape

Well, how about that for a segway. I have gained 15kgs since 2016. Not good. Basically the happier I am the lazier I am. Also not good. Last year was a happy year. That means lots of beer, good food, and very little exercise. Time to change that. I plan on doing those morning walks every day. It may not seem like much but it is a hell of a lot more than I’ve been doing for about 18 months. Hopefully I can keep this up. I promised my wife I would lose weight this year. I have to keep my promise. She literally dances like a ballerina while she cleans (see above picture) so I have a tough critic to please.

Maybe they should be the stars…

Number Four: Actually Start my YouTube Channel

This one I have been promising for years. I have tried several times to get it going but have never had the gumption nor the equipment to do it properly. Truth be told I was never really sure how to start. I was never really sure what content you guys may want. I will gladly take advice on this! I filmed a video last week about a laptop I got from Samsung. An unboxing, of sorts. Not sure how well it turned out yet. I’m scared to sit down and edit it, haha. I will do so this week. It won’t be the first video I post, however. I plan on shooting a channel introduction this week as well. I even hired someone to help me shoot it. No turning back now!

On the way to Busan.

Number Five: Transitional Year

During this year one thing I really want to do is transition into an artist. Sounds cliche. Sounds stupid even. I’ve never given this lifestyle a real chance. I have never really taken this whole thing very seriously. I know it isn’t easy. I know it is in fact, really hard. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try. I feel I owe it to myself to try. So, I will do so! I have already started the remodeling process of a darkroom and studio in my house. I have always dreamed about having an analogue studio in my house and I am going to make it happen. I am most excited about this of all the things I’ve mentioned so far.

This is perhaps the biggest of these goals. Again, I’m open to advice! In fact, I really enjoyed reading the advice from some of you after my post last weekend. It all helps.

Up Next: My favourite 10 Photos of 2018. Stay tuned 😉 One of the photos in this post is on the list.. can you guess which? haha.

New Beginnings

Leica M10-P.
Iksan, South Korea. February 2019.

Well, it has been nearly four months since I posted something here. Every time I post I promise I will get better and posting and every time I promise that I end up getting worse. I’d like to say that it is solely because I am busy. I am busy, yet, it is mostly out of laziness. When I have free time to do something like this I generally spend it with my family or relaxing. I didn’t even do a “Fuck you, 2018” post. It had become a kind of tradition.

Leica M6. Ilford, HP5.
Iksan, 2018.

The fact of the matter is this:

2018 was one of the best years of my life. It was a whirlwind of positivity. I basically rebuilt a house in the winter and spring. I got married in May. I started a new job with Leica in the summer. We added some new members to our family. 2018 wasn’t the kind of year I wanted to end.

Ilford HP5.
Iksan, May, 2018.

That said, there are lots of things I want to do in 2019. Things I want to accomplish.

New beginnings of a different sort.

Leica M10-P.
Iksan, January 2018.

As I walked around a little today with my camera I thought about these things. Thought about what I’d like to do in 2019. One thing I want to do is do a project based on my now home city, Iksan. Many people tie me to Seoul (my fault I guess considering the blog title) but the fact of the matter is I actually live in Iksan. Iksan is a small city about 2 hours south of Seoul.

Leica M10-P.
Iksan, January 2018.

I live here in a house with my wife and our two cats. Yes, a proper house. Not very common in Korea for people to live in houses. Our neighborhood is full of seniors. That’s okay, we like having a small yard and our own space. It is especially special considering how much work we put into the house.

Leica M10-P.
Iksan, January 2018.

Our kittens seem to like it. I was never a cat person. In fact, I was one of those dog people that said cats were emotionless and selfish. A friend then said this to me:

“If you don’t like cats it is probably because you haven’t met the right cat.”

I completely agree with this now. Our cats are almost like dogs. They play fetch. Play dead. Always greet me at the door when I come home and spend most of their time following me around. Weirdest of all they cry to be picked up. Our vet said it is quite unique. Well, our little sisters have certainly brightened up our home. They even have their own Instagram 😉

Leica M10-P.

Iksan, January 2018.

So, aside from the yet untitled Iksan project and photos of my kittens, I also plan on becoming more active on Social Media this year. I have re-made my schedule in such a way where I will have lots of “cafe” time to get on the ball. I say “cafe” time because I find they are the only place where I am able to get any of this stuff done.

So, here is where it is my turn to ask for some advice. What type of things would you like to see on my blog? Long form posts about life in general? Reviews? Daily thoughts? Let me know in the comments. I am happy and willing to hear your thoughts.

Leica M10-P
Iksan, January 2018.

RE: YouTube Channel

Okay, I have promised this forever and always failed. Basically I am not particularly good at editing video. Well, actually that is kind of a lie. It is more like I am too lazy for the tedious process of doing so. Lately though, I was introduced to an app called Lumafusion for the iPad that has changed my thought process about this. There are still some problems, however. My iPad is 128GB model and I think that will make it difficult to shoot as much as I’d need to for a proper full length video. That said, my “video” camera is a now aged Olympus EM-1 (don’t ask why it just happens to be the only thing I have that does a decent job of it) and it only does 1080p so perhaps it will be fine.

Anyone in Korea wanna be a camera person ? I pay great (booze and coffee). My wife has been trying to do so but I think she wants to retire her position. She hates the cold.

Well, Aside from that I don’t have a whole lot to talk about. I hope to have more in the days to come.

More than anything I want to thank everyone for sticking with me. I know I am quite bi-polar as someone to follow. I make no apologies, but I do feel grateful.

January 2019.

Iksan, South Korea.

September 15th Artist Talk – Leica Store Gangnam

L1000351-Edit
Korea, 2017.

Hi Everyone!

It’s been a while. Some new stuff to announce!

As of this week I started as the Leica Akademie Ambassador in Korea. What does this mean? It means workshops, lectures, exhibitions and more! I’m really excited by what is to come.

First! This Saturday, September 15th at 1:00 at the Leica Store Gangnam I will be having an artist talk introducing myself and my work. It costs just 10,000 won and drinks will be served! So if you’re in an around Seoul please stop by and say hi!

There are limited spots available, so please sign up at the website below. If you have any questions please let me know!

http://leica-store.co.kr/main/akademie/akademie_view.php?idx=79

Scan-171028-0024-Edit
Korea, 2018. 

Who wouldn’t want to come out and see this face?

haha.

See you soon 😉

 

Darkroom, Eggleston, and Upcoming Wedding Post

L9994610
Darkroom Light. Iksan, South Korea.

I’ve been busy. Busy getting married, finishing my house. I had guests in the house until yesterday. Not much time for anything. That doesn’t even include dodging the construction dust long enough to write a post.

I don’t do this often. Post in colour I mean. This is my darkroom light. My wife said she chose it because it reminded her of Eggleston. Only the opposite. Slightly confused, I asked where she’d heard of Eggleston. She told me after we had met she’d spent several weekends reading about the masters. She’s as cool they come.

Scan-180522-0003-Edit
Iksan, South Korea.

This is her. I took this on our wedding day. She was certainly a site for sore eyes. She’s wearing a traditional Korean dress called a hanbok. I wore one as well, ha.

I want to make a longer post about the wedding when I have time. Hopefully I will have some now that things from the wedding are winding down. We had lots of guests. Junku Nishimura was here, Matt Martin, Aikbeng Chia. We had a blast. Lots of drinking. Lots and lots of drinking.

Anyway, that’s it for the update. On a side note, anyone have any suggestions for an enlarger? 😉

Iksan, South Korea.

June 2018.

L9994617
Iksan, 2018.

Lucida Straps

IMG_0012
Leica M4 Canadian 50th Edition Black Chrome, 35mm Canadian Summilux Version 2 with custom filter threading. Lucida Neck Strap in Black.

There are several things photographers usually struggle with. Gear is usually the first. People struggle with what camera to use and when. Recently, some people have asked me to talk about gear that ISN’T a camera. So, in the next couple blog posts I’ll talk a little about the other photography gear struggles… The strap and the bag.

Photographers very rarely settle on straps or bags. There is always something missing or something you wish your given item had.

So, without further adeu, my strap. Recently, I was lucky enough to join my fellow @wearethestreet team members Nicholas Dominic Talvola and Junku Nishimura with Lucida straps. My strap is  black leather and made to a beautiful quality standard. It is probably the sexiest piece of photography equipment I’ve ever owned. It is simple and elegant, yet, people still ask me about it all the time.

Lucida straps are handmade in Spain by one man. He specially makes straps to order and has all kinds of options for buyers. For example, I like carrying two cameras so I wanted mine to be particularly long. No problem at all.

The strap seen above is my actual strap. It is on my Canadian Leica M4 50th Anniversary. Yes, you Leica historians will have noticed the bottom plate has been repainted in matte black that matches the black chrome but still has brasses a bit. I think this strap perfectly suits this camera, though. I love the look of it.

IMG_0013
Lucida Packaging.

The strap packaging is as nice as the strap itself. Lots of attention to detail and even comes with a dust bag. Mine also came with a lovely note about my photos from the maker, Felix.

Needless to say, I cannot recommend this strap enough. I’m happy to be part of the team!

You can find more information about the Lucida strap at https://www.lucidastraps.com/en/.

Tell Felix I sent you, 😉

10 Thoughts On G.A.S.

PEACE!
PEACE!

I’ve included this photo of myself so you can imagine who you wanna punch in the face after reading this. At least I’m doing the Asian PEACE!

To try and reduce the risk of my snapping on the next person that asks my advice about buying a camera when they already own too many I’m making a list what should be said in this situation:

1. You don’t need another camera. The idea that a camera will make you better is nothing more than an admission of laziness to actually learn how to use the one you have. FULL STOP.

Continue reading “10 Thoughts On G.A.S.”

F$%K GAS

Toronto
Toronto

DEFINITION

Gear Acquisition Syndrome (abbreviated to GAS) is a term used to describe an urge to acquire and accumulate lots of gear.

TREATMENT

None

GAS hasn’t received any major medical attention. GAS is not a clinical condition. It can be the result of a psychological lack of personality.

source: Wikipedia.

A lot of people have asked me a lot lately about cameras and getting over the feeling of wanting every fucking camera you see. As much as I hate gear talk now, I really feel like this post is necessary.

I had sorta decided to just ignore requests to talk about this topic. I’ve just really come to absolutely despise talking about gear and equipment. It pissed me off to see people talking about it. Just feeding the monster, ha.

But, this week a good friend of mine had read an interview I had recently done where I mentioned the first camera I ever loved and the only one I actually ever kept; a Leica Digilux 2. It was the first camera I ever bought that I really can say I really was attached to. It was also like a gateway drug to the world of Leica that saw me spend 50k in the next three years. All the while the first camera I ever picked up for something that mattered was that old Digilux 2. That friend had had the camera for a while and decided to send it to me after a talk last week. Grateful for that.

Toronto
Toronto

The photos I’m using in this post are some I did in Toronto on assignment (Aside from the last, haha). It was documenting the cultural diversity of Toronto. In this particular situation my M9 battery died after 30 or so photos for no apparent reason so I did the rest of the night with the Digilux. I didn’t end up using a single photo from the M9.

Toronto
Toronto

It’s all bullshit isn’t it? I’m a member of a bunch of different groups in Seoul and I have just about given up on all of them. I am sick of going and hearing people talk about nothing other than their gear. The last time I went to one it was just a Google session with the members sitting around a coffee shop trying to figure out which versions of the Summiluxicronarit they have. Who gives a fuck?

Toronto
Toronto

How about this for a Google session. How about using Google to say, I don’t know, search for SOME PHOTOS. How about spending the thousands of dollars you’ve spent on the Canon 50mm f1.2 or Sony RXwhatever the fuck it is called and buy a photo book and go on a trip. Invest in knowledge and experience.

I left that particular group after realizing that I had said the previous aloud(with more expletives) while daydreaming that I had wanted to say it. The poor girl sitting next to me looked like she had thought I had a seizure. She then quickly asked me, ‘so what camera are you using then?”

Toronto.
Toronto.

People will always argue the point that they “need” certain cameras or lenses for certain things. Things like BOKEH, HA. Okay, so that argument is still somewhat true. I like a bit of BOKEH every now and then when I want to get some likes from my idiot Facebook friends or go explored on Flickr. Do I need a Noctilux and a Leica M240495043? No, No, and No. Oh, and NO! I have an ancient Sony DSLR and a more ancient Minolta 50mm lens that works just fine. You can ask my Facebook friends, they seem to like it. Total cost is less than dinner at an expensive Seoul restaurant. I can probably eat at said hypothetical restaurant everyday for like the rest of my adulthood for the money I would save from buying a Noctilux. Plus, I think I can make more friends with some food BOKEH photos from said restaurant a lot more easily than by talking about the way aperture blade arrangement change the characteristics of spherical elements of whatever of whatever of whatever………

End of angry rant, ha. Honestly though, it has taken me a long time to figure this out myself. I was as guilty as anyone and thus is perhaps why I am prone to spontaneous outbursts of anti-GAS frustration. If you’re made of money, fine. Buy whatever makes you happy and whatever you think will help you make friends. If you’re not made of money, save for the dates you will invariably be able to go on after you stop talking about the significance of  full frame sensors vs crop frame sensors to everyone you meet. If you feel like there is a more reasonable reason for why you’ve recently bought some new camera or lens then you are most definitely kidding yourself.

Toronto
Toronto

Some people I meet say they don’t suffer from GAS. Or, they say they buy cameras because they like them. Or, they say they “need” things the newest LECANIKON can do. They say that none of these things apply to them. They almost always say “I do it for me, not for other people”. Trust me, as a recovering addict I can tell you if you think you don’t suffer from any of these things but have bought camera equipment in the past six months you’re probably in denial. Ask yourself have you ever taken a photo of your camera? Have you taken a photo of your lens? Have you taken a photo with your bag on the floor and all your gear spread out like some sort of dissection? I’ve done all of the above and I’m quite sure I didn’t do it for any other reason than from some weird subconscious “need” to show off. Maybe my kindergarten teacher didn’t have show-and-tell day often enough. The fact that some people don’t know they’re doing these things is both more ridiculous and more dangerous.

Toronto
Toronto

In the end, we are all fucking geeks. The question you should ask yourself is this:

Do you want to be a PHOTO geek or a CAMERA geek?

There is most definitely a difference.

Anyway, to those of you who really dislike gear talk accept my humblest of apologies. Regular scheduled programming to return soon. Also, I’m planning a trip to Hong Kong if anyone is there let me know. Unless you’re a GAS sufferer.

I don’t think that situation would be good for my health.

Anyway, peace kids.

I have a photo of my Leica Digilux 2 to find so I can Instagram it.

F$%K GAS
F$%K GAS