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Did you ever ask yourself what do you really see when you look at some portrait photography? Is it only a captured moment of someone’s life, or maybe more than that? Looking at the photographs of Rala Choi, we can see the author’s intention to evoke an authentic life through creativity. Photography is an artistic expression of the imagination but also the artist’s self-expression. It is not the reproduction of real life, it is more the way of the artist’s experience of the world around him.
Famous by portraits of women captured by the analog camera and picturesque style accomplished by the unique use of colors, Hansol Choi aka Rala is South Korean photographer based in Seoul – a city of everyday inspiration. He started photographing when he was in the military, patiently forming a recognizable style.
Portrait Photography – Is It You, or Is It Me?
For photographers such as Rala Choi, photography is a medium of shared thoughts and actions. Rala neglected mere reproduction in all aspects of life, and he started searching for it, knowing that we cannot find ourselves if we are not “in the world”. For this reason, Rala’s seeking for authentic life begins with relationships with others. Collection “The unbearable lightness of being” represents Rala’s life philosophy and also his work philosophy. Rala encouraged subjects to pick a flower that represents them. His plan was to make people contemplate about themselves and their choices. The result of the project is a series of photos where people posing with different flowers.
An Analogue Film of Rala Choi
While Rala Choi is looking for purity of life, he is trying to represent it in the best way. He uses only the analog camera. Photos are not contaminated by post-production which is necessary with a digital camera, and Rala stayed consistent in the idea of authentic experience.
Rala’s portraits, most of the young women, look like the oil paintings or pop art pictures. He focuses on the silhouettes, highlighting shapes by specific use of colors. Sometimes he is playing with different tones of the same color, sometimes he uses contrasting colors to create the vibrancy of the portraits. Through the use of saturated colors, he archives the impression of closeness and reveals the original beauty of the subject. In an attempt to represent audience uniqueness of the real life, the photographer discovers himself. As Rala once said about his work: “It’s an accumulation of me.”