51. welcome rufina park, contributing photographer

the smiling flowers of jeju island
jeju, korea

you may start noticing a new perspective behind some of our photos this summer. we are so happy to welcome rufina park as our new contributing photographer! rufina is the curator behind the blog chomsongdae, which showcases her photography and writing about social entrepreneurship and education. we thought we'd ask rufina some questions so that you could get to know the lady behind the lens a bit better:

what initially sparked your interest in photography?
when i was an undergrad, i had a close friend who took some amazing photos for our circle of friends, i really appreciated how he captured our memorable times and looking at his photos allowed me to see the value in photography. later on, in the summer of second year of university, i experimented more with my first mirrorless/semi-dslr (olympus e-pl1). i also took a free online course offered by canon korea; through that i learned a lot about perspective, aperture and shutter speed then, and continued to develop my interest in photography.

how would you describe your aesthetic?
i would describe my own photography as natural, pastel and carefree. i try to capture beautiful scenes from everyday life or travel that i miss when i am too busy or focused on work. when i do photography for clients, i try to adapt and change my color to accommodate to their particular needs. i like experimenting with different styles and scenes, but i usually don't do photography unless i have a strong connection with the subject. for instance, i profiled young social entrepreneurs in korea, whom i wanted to know more about, for a government agency; i enjoyed the opportunity to combine my interview skills and do photography at the same time.

you spent a significant amount of time in korea, did that change of scenery have any influence on your photos?
it did. before moving to korea, when i was going to university in toronto, i had a handful of acquaintances and friends who were very talented and, perhaps because of that, i didn't think of myself as a photographer. my first job out of college was communications coordinator for a newly opening international school in south korea. there, i was in charge of designing the parent and staff newsletters and promoting the school online/offline. we didn't have many staff members, so i juggled various roles as a part-time designer, photographer and social media coordinator. from there on, photography continued to be important when i was a freelance journalist and photographer for various outlets. with the portfolio i built up in korea, i got some of my photographys published in moon living abroad in south korea.

favorite sources of inspiration:
book cafes (where you can find books, magazines, light food, refreshments and good music). i used to like to go to these cafes in seoul, but i haven't found anything similar in boston. do you have any recommendations? gift shops (where you can find handmade cards by local designers, specialty books,small gifts and trinkets)

i draw inspiration from looking at other people's works. one of my favorite blogs is park & cube. i also love flipping through home, lifestyle and travel magazines to look at different ways to present pictures and words. one of my favorite korean lifestyle magazines is around

daddy, i'm hungry
seoul, korea
what is your dream project?
to publish a handful of great books that people want to read over and over again. among other things, i would definitely like to publish a photo book in 2-3 years. i think my books will combine, to varying degrees, my photography, quotes, writing and drawings.

cambridge, usa

what is the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?
danny gregory's book the creative license: giving yourself permission to be the artist you truly are. the title captures it succinctly and the book speaks for itself.

what is the best piece of creative advice you have to give?
i think it's important for people just starting out to have fun and be creative for the sake of it. if you start thinking too much early on (by asking questions like: how can i monetize this? how can i grow a following?), you can easily get sidetracked, lose your own unique style, then being creative suddenly loses it's intrinsic value. you can always think about developing a hobby into a career later on, if at that point you decide that you want to and you still like what you do. also important is to never box yourself in by the rules or expectations set by yourself or others. be free, experiment, fail and keep doing it if you still want to do it!

yufuin, japan

thanks rufina. we're so excited to be working with you!