[Better late than never] Iwha village portrait meetup #1

After Seoul meetup, I’ve had couple of other stuffs to deal with last 2-3 weeks and found late to write something for the past meetup. It is changed to winter also & street decorated for coming year-end. But I force myself convince…better late than never. Hence here is a story about the village, photo meetup and talk about equipment.



The team at starting point :- )


We gathered nearby Hwehwa station Exit #1, University road. Coincidentally, there was a demonstration on the road, turning the loudspeakers on, and shouting noisy slogans. However, the demonstrators on that day were a little special.

University road once was a place where young students gathered and protested against dictatorship and tyranny, now the history turn around opposite, old Flag-troops protest to the government. A slogan that rumbles from a loudspeaker .. “Immediately release innocent & pure Present Park Geun-hye !!!”

Because the meeting place is in front of those speakers, no way to hide from such a loud noise. It was very annoying but also pleasant experience. It reminds again and again that we kicked a monster out of chair last year. It was a miracle and here is broken debris from those miserable days.

Model Zhanna from Kazakhstan



We started to shoot at a cafe on the roadside as warming up. Yes, some of us met at first time in this meetup as well as the model, need warming up to make comfortable working environment.


At model shoot, angle is important like as lighting. I think these 2 are almost all about model shooting. So I think, effort or eyes to find good angles is essential. At first moment, it is a little difficult to change positions or angle. Especially in group session where several other photographers working together need to pay attention not to distract others as well as not to be distracted. With good warming up session, the photo session soon became cozy and cooperative mode, not competition.




Angle is the matter

I stood beside Bryan, just 1 or 2 feet away, but I could not visualize this shot. Zhanna’s profile has reflected on the glass which renders beautiful & unique mood. Try many different angle is key…. Great job done, Bryan.

Photo by Bryan Watkins


My shot ; note on white glare on the table and cloth which is character of Canon 50/0.95. The lens is single coated stuff in 1960s…. amazing Canon designer’s braveness…



Alley of old village


There are plenty shooting points in every corner of Ihwa village. Most of them are cramped alleys or walls, means close distance from subject to background. How to manage the background is very important in this environment.

For example, tight frame shot with telephoto lens is one way to remove background distraction, but I have different preference. Slight wide angle or standard lens with large aperture is my choice of portrait.

I often include big part of background and like to display where it is (something like ‘environmental portrait’) or try to embed the people into the scene. Way to manage back ground distraction in this case is using relatively wide aperture and selection of proper angle.




This is (a kind of) main road in Iwha village. There are many small, winding alleys in this area along side the road.


Iwha village was originally famous as Mural painting village, but nowadays those painting are not exist any longer. Soon after the village got fame, large number of tourist, photographers and simply wanderer are poured into the town, turning silent village into noisy carnival street. Then construction started to expand road, build cafes and shops… too much turmoil, so the residents erased the murals in the village finally. The original murals of Iwha Village can be found only on the internet (I have some in hard disk, but can’t find…sh…)

Although the murals were gone, the village once started to get word-of-mouth, is still getting popular. I am not sure how long it will preserve old time looking, but I already see gradual changing to cafe village. It is located Seoul city, nearby ever crowding University road. It may be inevitable to transform into a commercial district soon…


Canon 50/0.95


To be continue



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