Seoul of Berlin Tells Us How He Transitioned From Architecture to Male Portraits
By Guest Author - 3 min read
Berlin-based photographer best known as Seoul of Berlin tells us about the personal journey of moving from taking photos of natural landscapes and architecture, to shooting intimate male portraits.
Starting his career in photography by shooting travel content, landscapes and architecture, Byunngyu, better known as Seoul of Berlin, recently transistioned to building an intricate and diverse portfolio that seeks to capture the male form.
After catching up with Byunggyu at this year’s Berlin Photo Week after his work was shortlisted for our recent ‘Nur in Berlin’ Mission, we knew that his story would be one for the books.
In this feature, Byunggyu shares some of the challenges he faced as he began to intergrate portraiture into his portfolio for the very first time, and how he overcame each one by pushing creative boundaries and experiementing with new techniques.
How I Fell in Love With Photographing the Male Body
My journey in photography began when I was just 14 years old. I still remember the first digital camera I received as middle school student in 2000. I was the first student in school who had a digital camera back then - and believe it or not it had less than 1 megapixels!
When I tried my classmate’s DSLR camera in university for the first time my passion for photography really grew. I fell in love with the picture depth it brought and I couldn’t wait to get one for myself.
A little later, I came to own my very first DSLR camera. At that time I took a lot of pictures whenever I was travelling; when I was walking in the streets or enjoying different events. That said, at that time my subjects were landscapes and cityscapes - with my work especially focusing on the contrast between nature and architecture.
“The models trust you, and you just need to trust yourself.”
However, I have always had a big interest in the beauty of the male body. It was always my hope to photograph the male bodies in my way, but I didn’t know how to begin.
I was mostly held back by the fear of taking pictures of humans whose motions and emotions are changing constantly. Interestingly, that’s what I find the beauty of portraits and nude photography.
Last year, I decided to bite the bullet and push myself to meet my first nude model. Having met through Instagram, the italian guy was also based in Berlin and had several experiences modelling and so remained very patient during the photoshoot despite the freezing February weather!
After transition from archiecture to portraiture, my photo style has changed. When I was taking pictures of natural landscapes or buildings, I barely took pictures in portrait mode. Now, I think I prefer shooting portrait to rather than landscape. This is also much more compatiblle with social media, ssuch as Instagram Stories, where I tend to share thes unique and intimate stories.
Luckily, Berlin has many men who have body positive minds, and like to show who they are in front of the camera. That’s why these two years have been amazing for me, as I have been able to meet many individuals with different backgrounds and hear their life stories. I realized that there was no need to be afraid of taking pictures of people. The models trust you, and you just need to trust yourself.