Come one, come all. Lomography has partners all over the world to help serve your analogue needs. If you're in Seoul then it's your lucky day! We're speaking to Hyewon Kang of Allycamera in today's instalment of Lomography Partners.
Could you introduce yourself to the Lomography Community?
My name is Hyewon Kang, and I’m the CEO of Allycamera in South Korea. Allycamera is a space that holds my collection of some hundreds of film cameras that I’ve been gathering since I was young, that functions as a museum, camera store, photo lab and library, all-in-one. Allycamera strives to consistently release film-related content and activities, in an effort to conserve and promote the local film culture.
What’s the story behind your store? How did you get the idea to start it?
I would say my spaces are beyond just a store – as a film camera collector, they represent my heart and passion. Allycamera contains a lot of heart as a film camera collection, not just a shop that sells things. The desire to have a place to freely touch classic film cameras and talk to film lovers was the origin of the Allycamera Showroom. Therefore, all the cameras in the Allycamera showroom are displayed in an open space, so anyone can touch them freely, and I directly explain the characteristics and history of various film cameras.
Also, although general camera stores mainly deal with Japanese cameras, we mostly deal with cameras from Germany and England, so I think it is a heaven-like place for those who want to see old classic cameras.
What’s your favorite Lomography product and why do you like it?
I really like the LomoKino. It’s been more than a while since it was first released, but I think it’d be a real shame if people didn’t get to realize its charms just because it’s a bit complicated to film with. Not only is it fun to film while turning the lever, like back in the old days, the scanned results and the final movie give out such an ethereal vibe. That’s why at Allycamera, we’ve been sharing a lot of content on the LomoKino and organizing events to show people what they’ve been missing out on. In addition, we started providing a service package that contains film development, scanning and movie to make it easier for everyone to get the results they want.
Who, or what inspires you?
I get a lot of inspiration from people that use film in diverse and experimental ways. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of platforms in Korea where you can see and share these different ways to use film, so I mainly use Lomography, Pinterest, Flickr etc. as a source of inspiration.
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
I love hosting or partaking in film-related events that allow first time users to become interested in film cameras. Since last year, I’ve been trying to spread the charm of using film in a completely new way, through organizing film photography exhibitions and publishing film photography albums.
What's the hardest part of your job?
I think there are some things that are beyond my control, like the rise of film prices, development processes and chemical agents, as well as the supply chain instability that could eventually lead to the diminishment of the film photography industry.
Are there any ongoing projects or future plans for your store?
I’m very interested in film photos taken by non-photographers of diverse backgrounds, whether it be through exhibitions or publications. That’s why for the past two years, I’ve been hosting exhibitions with different artists, and much to my relief it’s been receiving a lot of positive attention.
I think it’s likely they’ll be more collaborations in the future, and in the long term, I wish to publish a film-specific magazine. Rather than a photo album, something containing technical information about film cameras. Also, Allycamera has been preparing for upcoming programs in 2024, like joint photographer’s visits and film lab experiences, including b/w film development.
What do you like most about living in Seoul? What would you say is your favorite photo spot in the city?
If you’re looking to take photos that encapsulates the ‘Korean identity’, I would recommend going on a visit alongside Jong-ro and Dongdaemun. I think these places represent Korea’s past, present and future simultaneously. Near Allycamera, I would highly recommend yeonnam-dong’s forest path and the sangam-dong haneul gongwon for the beautiful sceneries regardless of season and weather.
To keep up to date with everything from Allycamera follow them on their Instagram page.
Want to see your favorite store featured in our magazine? Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will check them out!