One of my goals in finding a location is choosing something that's entirely unique to the location. Sometimes that means finding a plant, a style of architecture, the color of sand, to represent the uniqueness of a place. I've found, however, that this is particularly difficult in cities. Not because the architecture or the culture isn't strong in various cities, but because anything that is particularly unique doesn't allow random photoshoots, or, there are way too many people around. The trick, then, is to find a location that is "overlooked" by the community. A place that isn't special. This Seoul, Korea album has some touristy photos, but they were all taken during the scouting phase prior to my photoshoot.
Most of Seoul is, well, just a big city. As someone who isn't local, it's particularly difficult to know all the special little spots that would work well for a photographer to shoot at. I found that Seoul has plenty of cool bridges, and interesting city landscape, but I wanted something a little more "traditional."
Ah, this is more like it. Unfortunately, this is a place with opening and closing hours. It was located in a densely tourist-populated area called bukchon--and while certain areas certainly could've worked, I wasn't feeling the energy--mostly because when working with models who aren't professional, they very often aren't prepared with the right costumes. This would've been a set for something more planned, and quite likely, the city would've wanted a permit.
I would love to sometimes grab random strangers for my photoshoots...Actually, that would be a really interesting project, to set up a shoot, and find locals to pose for me. Whoever happened to be there. Thoughts for the future... Anyway, I love this shot because it's so clearly in the moment, and unposed, and yet powerful in culture it conveys.
Pictures and places like me just make me long to be famous and wealthy. Why? Because the ability to contact people and easily prove I'm serious, and I can create great art, and I'm willing to pay (reasonably) for the right to use their property would make life so much easier. Easy access to locations would just take me to the next level. I am always searching for connections, for this reasons. Yes, all photographers struggle with this, but it really is a shame to pass up so many great locations due to the legal process. I recently was told that for use of an abandoned location in Berlin, I could pay 800 euros for the single shoot. They knew it was an unpaid gig. Some places cost several hundred for the application alone. This is why I say that Marlo photos can cost us 1-2 grand per shot. After expenses, it really does, even with locations that cost nothing. I understand the desire for passive income, but I wish places were friendly to small photographers. There's a huge market available if you were to advertise to us at reasonable prices. Here's the rule: I'm not going to pay you more than I'm earning. How about 10 percent rather than anywhere from twice to ten times my actual earnings?
this is the shot we got. Unfortunately, for all my hours of scouting, I got lost when taking the models up to the location. We ended up getting to the location close to sunset, and by the time I was set up, it was already evening. I ended up in a rush to get things set up, and I'm not disappointed by this image at all, but I certainly didn't get all the shots that I wanted. Maybe next time. But for now, check it out. Model: Renee Wu