I cover general news of all kinds. Political and economic stories are important in China, and I am also keen to shoot features.
When I developed and printed black-and-white film for the first time in my high school photo club, I watched the image gradually emerge in the developer. I still remember how excited I was at the time, and I was first struck by the power of this medium to capture emotions and moments.
I studied photojournalism at university and I mostly taught myself by going to exhibitions and reading books and magazines. I started my career at a sports newspaper in South Korea where I learnt all about news photography from my mentor.
My first assignment for a newspaper was covering a basketball game. That was my first sports assignment and I barely managed to take one sharp image with a manual focus lens. However, the picture was selected by my editor and was printed in the paper. I still remember how excited I was when I saw my byline printed below the photo.
The earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011 in Japan had the biggest impact on me of any assignment. It was one of the worst disasters I have ever covered. I still remember the horrible and hopeless scenes of people crying after losing their loved ones, the smell of mud covering a whole village, a frightened baby girl receiving radiation screening. It was a huge contrast to the safe, orderly and secure countryside I had known in Japan only a week or two earlier. The assignment left the biggest mark on my life ever.
I love shooting feature stories. I especially enjoy completing a story by myself, doing research, shooting, editing, and producing multimedia. Even though I love working with my text and television colleagues, carrying a project from beginning to end gives me a great sense of accomplishment.
My first disaster assignment was a plane crash in South Korea in 2002. I went to a place where the families of the victims had gathered and I photographed two crying women with a wide lens at very close range. They noticed me and one of the women yelled at me: “You are using our misfortune for your job”. Since then, my first rule at work is that I must respect people who stand in front of my lens.
I respect Reuters photographers who keep doing their job in very tough situations such as war zones, impoverished countries, and other risky and stressful places. They sacrifice the comfort of working in safe, cozy places in order to deliver the truth.
Always try to shoot something different and find creative images in routine daily life. That is what I am aiming for every day.
The best part of my job is that I can have a wide variety of experiences. I have covered diverse issues, from people living on the street to presidents and prime ministers, from luxurious Hollywood stars walking the red carpet to areas contaminated by nuclear radiation.
The worst part of my job is documenting people's misfortune and sadness. Whenever I am in that situation, I try as much as possible to be polite and respectful, but sometimes that means little to the people affected by tragedy. But I have to do it to bring attention and help to these people.