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The “Fine Art Street Photography” of K. Chae

February 20th, 2013 No Comments
Logo for Leica Camera

Logo for Leica Camera (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Fine art street photography” – at first glance that sounds like a contradiction in terms and also seems a little pretentious.  But before coming to a final judgement, take a tour of South Korean photographer K. Chae’s imagery and you may reconsider.

“My attention to color is what sets my work apart from other street photographers,” Chae says, in an interview published on the Leica Camera Blog. “People often comment that they confuse my photographs with paintings. I never shoot B&W.”  

On that note, here’s Exhibit A: a luscious photograph of a kneeling, slender maiden writing out the names of bakery items on a display case.  The careful composition, the ‘moment in time’, the ‘story’, the details, the splashes of colour – this is really a new approach to street shooting.

In diametric contrast is this photograph with literally two hues but infinite tints, a truly artistic composition, and an oddly hypnotic sense of depth (partly attained by perspective and partly by the combination of focal length, f-stop, and focus-point).  It’s almost an abstract composition (and it would look really hypnotic on a large canvas).

This photo again is street shooting (frankly, at its finest) but here ones sees lines – including leading lines – galore, lots of texture, and a clear story – in fact, this one picture tells two human interest stories.

Want some more?  Just set aside ten minutes, visit Chae’s website, and admire the enthralling slideshow.  If actions speak louder than words, so do pictures, and Chae’s portfolio ‘loudly’ proves that his work is truly “Fine art street photography”. 

Despite how Chae sets himself apart (as do his distinctly unusual ‘street shooting’ photos), like most street shooters his “primary weapon of choice” is (surprise, surprise!) that well-beloved of street-shooters, a Leica.  He loves it “because it is difficult to use,” as he is averse to “current developments of cameras where it seems cameras make the picture for you.”  

In addition to further particulars about Chae’s affinity for Leicas, the interview plumbs his philosophy of photographic art and, indeed, everything surrounding photography, such as the importance of learning and experience, the “shades of the earth,” and the need to nurture fresh talent.

In closing, if you haven’t clicked on any of the links above, take this on trust: don’t leave without clicking this one: if the saying “the eyes have it” is true, these ‘have it’ in spades.


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