Meet the "unfamiliar yet familiar" city photography of Chae Soohyuk a.k.a. Suhyuk Chai, a photographer with a concise and intense impression that can be felt from the all black and white feed. They use the classic vintage aesthetics of the Lomo LC-A Minitar-1 Art Lens 2.8/32 M for their high-contrast shots of Seoul. Check out our interview with them here,
Hello, please introduce yourself to Lomography readers.
Hello, I'm Suhyuk Chai, a modern photographer in Seoul. I usually take black and white snaps in urban spaces with small-format cameras.
What made you take pictures? Why do you like pictures?
When I was a college student, I was more interested in videos, so I participated in video production or international film festivals in various cultural activities, but the characteristics of photos came to be more attractive in expressing my individual feelings and inner self. Among them, I really liked the unique bitter atmosphere created by black and white photos, and I was fascinated by it and decided to take pictures seriously. So after graduating from undergraduate school, I studied media and photography in London. Even now, I still like pictures with the subtle emotions felt in the continuous gray tones of black and white photos and the expressiveness of images that cannot be fully responded to with text, and I am trying hard to do my own thing.
When you shoot, do you decide on a theme or concept in advance?
When I go out to shoot, I only set a big frame like “Where should I go and shoot today?” but I don't set a special theme. I tend to walk around and take pictures as soon as I can. I pile up the emotions and thoughts that my unconsciousness reacted to for a long time, and then collect photos that are woven into similar topics in a large frame and use them when necessary.
Please tell us how you feel about using the Lomo LC-A Minitar-1 Art Lens.
The Minitar-1 was a lens that fits my shooting method. It was very small in size and very light, and the operation optimized for shooting with an easy focus method was very convenient. It is a small lever that can adjust the focus while the aperture is engaged as needed, and it can quickly change the focal length according to the situation, which is useful for an immediate reaction. Moreover, the focus lever is designed to take a little while, clicking at the main distance point, 0.8m, 1.5m, 3m, and infinity, so you can sense the focus quickly without looking at the focus ring with your eyes. It was a good lens with a Leica M body optimized for shooting using a very small, lightweight, and easy operation for my purpose.
Do you have any user/shooting situation that you want to recommend Minitar-1?
I think it's a perfect lens for those who enjoy taking pictures that value immediate reactions using easy measurement like me, or for those who want to take pictures lightly with small cameras and lenses anytime, anywhere. And another attraction of this lens that I like is strong vignetting.
Do you have any plans or exhibitions you're working on as a photographer?
The plan was delayed considerably due to the COVID-19. I'm preparing to hold an individual exhibition centering on the photos taken while living abroad soon. After the exhibition, I'll focus on academic research on publishing and photography.
Thank you, Suhyuk Chai, for sharing your work with us. Enjoy more pictures by Suhyuk on Instagram.