We had the good fortune of connecting with Christopher Kim and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christopher, how do you think about risk?
Taking risks is something that I’ve never done before until recently. Even if it was the little things like choosing something different on a menu at a place that I always go to just to try something new. Always picking the safe route because I knew what was waiting for me at the end of the road, comfortability and security. That, however, is what got me unfulfilled and upset with myself that I wasn’t doing anything fulfilling with my life. The biggest risk that I’ve taken for myself was quitting my job at Trader Joe’s to pursue my passion as a photographer and as a personal trainer. Trader Joe’s was and still is a great company to work for. It gave me a stepping stone and the financial help I needed to pursue what I wanted to do. Being stuck in a place for eight hours of the day, constantly doing the same task, and finding myself just constantly looking at the clock to see if it was time for me to go home yet, was just not how I wanted to define myself in what I could do. The questions I asked myself, friends, and family was is this the right choice? Will I be okay without earning “x” amount of dollars now? How do I even start a business? How do I know if these choices will benefit me? The answer to this was “you won’t know, but sometimes, you have to take a leap of faith”. That forever will stick in my mind because for the first time ever, I didn’t know what was waiting for me at the end of the road. It gave me this excitement and fire of how will I create my own road now for myself that defines me in what I am capable of. With photography there is always a risk of, “what if I messed up that shot”, “will the location be ideal for this shoot”, “wondering if things don’t go as planned”, but it challenges me every time and to always perform at 110%. Risks to me are a welcomed challenge that you have to take upon yourself, are you willing to give it a try or not. “You miss a 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky- Michael Scott – Chris Kim.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I believe what sets me apart from other artists is I want people to get more out of my photos than just looking at a picture of someone. I want to be able to tell a story through my posts on Instagram and my work. I love taking pictures of people because I want to show anyone who is in front of my camera that we are going to express who you are through this still image where their personality/individual self shows to anyone who sees it. This goes the same with product photography where creating an image to life takes more creativity but the end result is so rewarding. What came second nature to me was adjusting people to do the right poses only because I’m also a personal trainer so the vocabulary is relatable in the way I would explain to someone. How I got to where I am today is thanks to the people that I’ve taken photos of. If I didn’t have them I wouldn’t have any photos. One of my first models to shoot on my camera is a best friend of mine, Megan Bosveld, who I would reach out to and ask if I can take photos of her for my portfolio. Certain lessons that I’ve learned was to always make sure your memory card has space and remember to put your battery in your camera once it’s charged. The internet has also any answer to any question you can think of so just looking up the information has helped me a lot in my journey. What I want people to know about my brand is that I want to be able to create with who I work with. Whether if they come to me with an idea or I have an idea for them I want to make their dream into a reality through what I can provide.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend is visiting the LA area and if they have never heard of In-N-Out, I am taking them straight there first stop. Spend some time in Manhattan beach, rent out some bikes, ride it all the way to Hermosa, stop for drinks and food, then ride it back to Manhattan. Right after that head to After’s Ice cream in Pasadena. Reason I go to that location is because it’s also a good area for photos! It has this 70’s gas station look to it and their is amazing. Go on some hikes in the mountains in Angeles Forest. For some great pop up food and a bar you can bring your own grub in would be the Block Party in Highland Park. You can bring your own food into this bar and next to the bar, they have great ramen places, pizza, and anything else you can think of. Donut Friend is also a must for me to check out during their stay.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There have been many influences in my life that range from friends and family. I would love to shout all of them out but there are few people that have definitely encouraged and supported me to who I am today. My gorgeous girlfriend, Avery, has literally been my biggest supporter through all this with the decisions that I’ve made. I would always ask her how my pictures were, the edits, her opinions on which photo was right or ideas. Her opinion and suggestions matter so much to me and sometimes she doesn’t realize it at times. She was the first person that I told how unhappy I was with everything I was doing at the time and the first one to tell that I was going to quit and pursue my profession as a photographer. Whatever decision I made, she made sure that I was confident in my choice before I made it and not just going along with it. She lives in North Carolina so meaning we are in a long distance relationship which is a bummer. We make it work with our Facetime Netflix dates and I am just thankful to have her and be a part of my journey with me. Love her to the moon and back. If you haven’t heard of the name Aaron Han (insta:@its.aaronhan) by now, you’ve heard it here first and won’t forget it by the time you finish reading this. He is the google search bar when it comes to what you need to know about camera equipment, photo settings, research into lighting, and really just about anything you can think of. He helped me pick out my camera and which lenses to invest in first. He is basically the manual to all camera related equipment. If he doesn’t know the answer, he’ll be back with full detail and at the fastest response time to answer it. We both started just going out, taking photos of each other, landscapes, and putting hours in how to help each other improve our craft. I needed that friend who would push me to step out of my comfort zone and Aaron was that friend by literally sending me a text saying “hey, lets go find a rooftop to take photos at”. If not for him, I wouldn’t really know where to shoot in LA. He is unafraid to take the leap and dives into something with full confidence knowing he can give his best work. I don’t know where he gets it from but he is someone that either you want to lead you to the path or be neck and neck with in a race. We may be in the same profession, same city, but we support each other in any way we can to better in what we do.
Header Image: Captured by aaronhanphotography.com (@its.aaronhan) Edited by khyunphotos.com @ckimphotography_ Made the Collective: Male model in white shirt Cadogan world: Male model in purple shirt