Interview #12 - Alex Finch

Alex Finch is a British photographer, living in South Korea. He shoots in a street-style manner and has worked with few global brands such as Nike, Uniqlo and Reebok. Alex also covers the Seoul Fashion Week annually.

You can find more of his amazing work on Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and VSCO Grid

Can you introduce yourself?

I’m a Brit currently living in Seoul. I have a day job that subsidises my photography and I have my brother living with me.

So what’s going on with life in general?

Just continuing with things as I have been for the past while and trying to add to my portfolio as and when I can. I’ve been lucky enough to work with VOGUE.COM over Seoul Fashion Week and there are a few cool posts coming out shortly which I’m excited about seeing.

What attracts you into shooting portraits?

I like getting close to my subjects and showing a little more of the person than just what they’re wearing.

How you got into shooting fashion?

A friend suggested I give shooting street fashion a go and it went from there. I had to go to Seoul Fashion Week to see what all the fuss was about and now I’m hooked.

You are working in South Korea. What made you decide to move there?

I used to be really shy and so I decided to move away and try to get some experience living outside of the UK. It happened to be Korea because I had heard of the opportunities there and also I had one single friend of a friend that I knew would be able to at least help me out.

Has living in Korea influenced in the way you shoot?

I haven’t really shot in the UK so it’s hard for me to say, but it’s definitely made me more confident.

What is the photography scene like over there? 

Street style is pretty strong and there is a fairly large group shooting on a regular basis on the streets here.

Your photos are amazing! Do they represent your personal work or a portion of your commercial assignments?

They are a mixture.

How did you end up being the Vogue US contributor? 

They contacted me three seasons ago after Seoul Fashion Week and asked me if I would mind contributing to a feature. After that, the contact came each season.

How do you prepare before doing a shoot?

It depends on the kind of shoot. Mostly just to get the camera ready, prep locations and contact the model.

Do you have specifics on models or subjects?

Again, it depends on the shoot and the client’s requirements.

How are the models in Korea different from others?

I haven’t worked with models from other countries so I can’t say for sure. I’ve worked with some really nice people.

Go through the process of doing the actual shoot

I’ll always have an idea of what is expected of me before I get there but outside of that it’s a case of finding the exact location and thinking about how I want the shoot to look. I walk around a bit before the model arrives and find out what I want to do. Of course, it doesn’t always work out when the model is there but then I’ll just move around to somewhere else.

I love how your shoot your subjects somewhere at a street. How the streets in Korea inspire you?

It’s really the only way I know how to shoot comfortably.

You recently documented Seoul Fashion Week. What aspects does it differ from other shows you’ve seen?

There are certainly more big names coming to Seoul Fashion Week but I can’t say I noticed that much difference.

Are you into the K-pop culture?

Not especially. I used to but I haven’t been keeping up for the past few years.

Any works of other photographers that you follow?

I only follow photographers from outside Korea because I already see the work from photographers within the country. I follow Adam Katz Sinding and Nam quite readily.

Do gears or camera apps matter to you in creating images?

More than it should, but I’m a big fan of Lightroom for editing and I’m also looking for a new smaller camera to take around with me.

Are you earning enough as a photographer?

It’s just a hobby for me.

How much you think people will value your work?

It’s hard to know, but people contact me for help quite regularly.

How do you deal with the attention you get as a photographer?

I smile and keep going. I appreciate everything that people give me.

What do you wish for people that see your work?

That they can see my work and notice how it’s different from other work that they see. I’m a big fan of using colours in my work. I’d hate for people to be bored with my photos.

Any music you listen to? Movies you watch lately? Books?

I read a lot of science fiction and am a big fan of Peter F. Hamilton. As for movies, I watch a lot of the blockbusters but don’t see as much in the theatre as I might like.

If you’re not shooting, what do you do to wind down or relax?

I read a lot before bed and also enjoy catching up on podcasts or video game stuff on YouTube.

Anything interesting for you in the future?

I certainly hope so!

Last words?

Take whatever camera you like the most and go out shooting anything and everything that catches your eye. Keep it for a few days and then take a look. Don’t delete on camera!