Marco Devon




An Afternoon with Alaya | Seoul Photographer


Welcome to Seoul

I can never get enough of making portraits. It`s an excuse to get to know someone. Alaya is a cousin of a friend of mine and she was visiting Seoul for one week. I met her and found that she`s quite easy to talk to and also didn`t seem too camera shy either.  We made arrangements to meet for two hours and see where things go(I prepared obviously).

I recently changed my camera system from Nikon to Fujifilm. I wanted to get to know the lenses better and determine which focal lengths work for various elements. I`m referring to room size and aesthetics, body shape and finally the mood of whomever I`m photographing. Occasionally I need to be further away from my subject to allow them enough time to lower their guard and feel comfortable. We`re all human.

On the day

We arranged to have tea and make some portraits. However, the tea house we originally decided upon had not yet opened. I felt a bit frustrated by this but was determined to keep the mood and atmosphere of the shoot alive. I didn't want that frustration to be conveyed to my subject and I didn't want my subject to feel lost and lose her energy and enthusiasm. She too came with a certain expectation of the shoot and I was determined to deliver on that. I really want my subjects to also have a good experience while making photographs together. Pleasant memories go a long way. So I decided to keep shooting knowing full well I would not use many of the pictures. I made do with the unexpected hurdles and used that to my advantage. We explored the neighbouring alleyways and I made use of elements that I thought would complement her visual appearance. I think it turned out well. We had two hours and I was determined to use every minute within those two hours to get the best out of Alaya.

During our time together, I guided her with every pose because not everybody is a model. I knew exactly what I wanted and the kind of body language that I wanted her to show. It usually helps if the photographer knows exactly what he or she wants. Being descriptive as possible puts everyone at ease.  She did great!

A photographer and his tools

Might be a good idea to note or reiterate that I do acknowledge that the pictures do not possess a certain coherency or consistency with the mood and the light. This impromptu portrait session was for me to learn how to use my equipment and engage with my subject a lot more seamlessly and more authentically.
Gear isn`t solely responsible for the making of a photograph, however, it`s foolish to think that gear doesn`t influence the photographer in a certain way. With the Fujifilm system, suddenly there's something smaller in my hands and now there's something that's covering less of my face too. I`m sure to my subjects, I no longer look like a typical photographer. Another benefit from having smaller gear is appearing less intimidating for whoever is in front of the lens. Ultimately, this has made it a bit easier to draw different expressions and body language from my subjects.

So here it is. All taken with a Fujifilm XT-20, using a 23mm f2, 35mm f2 and 50mm f2.