Kim Hong-Ji

Kim Hong-Ji

Based
Seoul, South Korea
Born
Seoul, South Korea
Status
Photographer
Camera
Canon 5D Mark II, 1D Mark IV
“Photographers from around the world need to do their best to capture what has not been captured before.”

Beat

I cover general news in South Korea. I focus on events large and small, to do with politics, economics, culture and demonstrations.

One Shot

. SEOUL, South Korea. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
A South Korean church where mothers can leave unwanted infants glows with light as preacher Jeong Young-ran and two children who were abandoned at the church years earlier go out for a walk.
“I heard about a pastor who took in unwanted babies and decided to shoot a story on it. The babies were left in boxes and abandoned, something that is a serious problem in Korea, which has been made worse by society’s negative view of single mothers and lack of social welfare support for them. After I did the story, I received an email from some foreign donors who wanted to give money to the pastor. It was then that I realised that my pictures can truly make a difference.”

Profile

When I was about to finish my service in the Korean army, there was a sudden increase in the popularity of DSLR’s. I came home and was pleasantly surprised to find an old Nikon SLR camera that my father had used when I was young and I started to use it myself. Although I was studying architecture at the time, all my energy went into photography and is became the focus of my life. After graduation I began to learn professional photography.

My first assignment came in 2011 while I was working as a freelance photographer, and it was about Chinese-Koreans living in Korea. My story focused on an old Chinese-Korean man who felt rejected in China because he was Korean and rejected again in Korea because he was Chinese. This was my first long-term assignment and I worked passionately, pouring all my energy into it.

In 2010 I shot a story about the North Korean strike on Yeonpyeong Island, the first time that civilians had been killed by a North Korean attack since the Korean War. Witnessing a whole village destroyed by North Korean shells left a huge mark on me. It was a cold reminder that the Korean War was not over.

The global success of the Korean singer Psy was a really exiting assignment to cover. I was simply amazed by the way the crowd reacted to him. I had never experienced such enthusiasm on such a global scale generated by one man.

I keep in mind that I am taking pictures for a global audience. Therefore, I try my best to make images that are easily understood by as many people as possible.

I have learnt that the world is more diverse than I had realised at first, and that photographers from around the world need to do their best to capture what has not been captured before. My biggest lesson as a photographer has been that we will always have something to learn and there is always a story that has never been covered.

I respect photographers who don’t hold back from working in any environment. Among such photographers, I especially like James Nachtwey. He has worked in countless wars and natural disasters, and through his pictures the world has undergone many changes. James Nachtwey made me realise that the witnessing of an event by a photojournalist can change the world.

Behind the Scenes

. Lim Tae-hoon, South Korea
Kim Hong-Ji walks with his camera on Baengnyeongdo, an island near the border with North Korea.
. Lim Tae-hoon, South Korea
Kim Hong-Ji takes pictures as South Korean marines stand guard on Baengnyeongdo.