I was 7 or 8 when I first picked up a camera. My family and I were at a worship event at the church my dad pastored, and I loved seeing the world through the camera lens. It was an SLR with a manual focus. I was so excited, I shot 3 rolls of film.
When the film came back, I started to doubt myself. I took too many pictures. The pictures aren’t any good. I shot these from weird angles. I shouldn’t do this anymore.
So I stopped taking pictures.
I didn’t want to be different from anyone else. I thought that everyone else must already know the correct way to do things. I wanted to fit in everywhere, even in the things I was most passionate about.
15 years later, I began taking pictures again when I started dating Sojung. We bought a cheap Sony camera together to remember our dates.
And I loved it.
I really enjoyed photographing Sojung on our dates. We took pictures of each other and also of random strangers in coffee shops, restaurants, and while walking around the city. We even took our own engagement photos at the Dallas arboretum. We found a rare 70 degree day in December and borrowed a tripod and a remote timer. We had so much fun laughing and taking pictures together.
And now I’ve been in business for four years. I’ve shot fashion models, family portraits, corporations, several clothing lines, and I’ve traveled around the country taking pictures. I’ve met some incredible people, I’ve learned from some of the best photographers in the world, and I’m so grateful for this life.
But through it all, I’ve struggled to believe that my work really is valuable. I constantly struggle with comparing myself to others and being tempted to copy their work instead of trusting my instincts. I worry that I’m not good enough. I still want to fit in and just be like everyone else
Now I’m realizing that living in fear and doubting myself won’t lead to taking better pictures. If I play it safe, I won’t ever learn more than I already know. If I play it safe, I’ll get stuck, and I’ll always wonder what could have happened if I had taken that risk and gone with my true vision to create beautiful pictures.
So I’m relaunching my business to focus on taking risks and pursuing my vision for art instead of what I think other photographers would do. I’m recommitting to sharing my work, both because I’m proud of so many of the photos I’ve taken and so others can learn from my mistakes. I’m also recommitting to enjoying the wonderful gift of working with my wife, Sojung.
And I’m terrified. So much could go wrong. I could never be offered another job. I could crash and burn and embarrass myself.
But I know I need to make a change. And I’m announcing this so y'all will hold me accountable.
I still want everything to be perfect. But sometimes the imperfect pictures is just the right one.
I’ve been drawing ever since I can remember. I knew I wanted to study art when I watched a behind-the-scenes special by Disney artists on their animation process.
It was a VHS tape of an anniversary edition of Winnie the Pooh. Afterward, they interviewed the artists on their animation process. I watched the video over and over again, fascinated by how different artists were responsible for drawing different characters. I knew that I wanted to be an artist, too. I practiced by drawing many different Disney characters, including princesses, castles, and animals.
But I didn’t go to art school because I was afraid that I wasn’t talented enough.
After four years of working as an art teacher, I left my students to start working with my husband. I saw how much he was enjoying being a freelancer and the opportunities to work creatively, and I knew I wanted that too.
For the past two years, I’ve worked with many great companies and individuals to design, brand, and illustrate their products and businesses. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know them and work alongside them to create designs that are both beautiful and functional.
But along the way, I started to lose track of creating work that I was passionate about. While I was creating beautiful logos and paintings for others, I neglected to keep searching for what I believed in and what God was calling me to create.
I am continuing to search for my passion in design. This year, I’m going back to my roots and playing with type, simple line drawings, and watercolors, as well as continuing to design branding and web pages for Squarespace.
I'm excited for what the next season holds for us as Hoyoung and I continue to learn how to support each other and enjoy both our marriage and our business. It hasn’t been easy to work together so closely, but ultimately it has strengthened our reliance on each other and our reliance on God as we continue to learn how to balance our work life and our home life.