With the aid of Victor Kim’s photographic vision, you’ll start to notice every moment is filled with its own intriguing form of sincerity. His photography reminds us of a reality we often overlook – one filled with the beauty of imperfections, rebellious spirits, and the art of just … being.
Victor has the ability to make the everyday into something extraordinary with a perspective that captures unassuming moments of nostalgic photography and the essence of what photography will become as we put the latest technology and equipment aside and begin to truly experience the world around us.
The Victor Kim Interview
Hey, Victor! In your opinion, what makes black and white imagery so powerful?
By removing a visual component of the image, the viewers’ eyes are less distracted from the colour and surface of the image and are allowed to delve into what the artist is trying to communicate. I think it also gives the image a serious tone, thus enables consideration of the narrative in a deeper sense.
Would you say that moments captured in the city compared to those captured in nature have a different emotional impact on you as an artist? What would those differences be?
Definitely. Capturing scenes from nature is soul-touching and allows me to put life in perspective. However, it feels too static in its content. Personally, nature shots are limiting in its creativity and not as deep in content compared to a moment I would capture in the city. I like running around looking for moments that won’t be again. Living in the heart of Toronto, even the same corner of a street is variable in the subjects that it holds. I love the stories that the city has to share – through people, moments, the setting, and most often the collaboration of all three of them. Stories of darkness and stories of light, I want as many and as diverse as possible.
What do you hope to say through your photography?
Look to the light in your life.
“You being so similar to me
It’s hard to be apart
Because I love myself.” – Victor Kim
What makes Chinatown in Toronto especially memorable?
Chinatown is always moving. From Chinese workers that hustle in the grimy streets, to hipsters from Kensington Market, to just interesting individuals walking about. I feel like I have to keep returning so that I don’t miss out on any interesting stories or individuals. It’s never a dull moment. The grind and grime of the area is very nostalgic to me. It gives me a connection with the habitat and the inhabitants. To me, it feels very genuine there.
When do you know the moment is right to capture an image?
When your camera begins to raise to your eye!
It’s not up to your conscious mind to decide in that instant whether it is “right”. The moment flees too quickly. Even thinking if it’s right or not, the moment is already gone. Trust your instincts.
What equipment and camera body would you recommend to new photographers, especially those on the move?
Smartphones. It’s how I started and what I recommend to all my peers. It teaches people that photography isn’t about the gear but more the way your eye sees things, your creative compositions, and timing. If you have money, buy whatever you want. But if you’re like me, I don’t recommend buying a camera just yet – not until you know for sure that it’ll be worth the investment. I started shooting a year ago, and to this day I have been borrowing my roommate’s Canon T3, which is dated but still gets the job done. Don’t get lost in the world of lust with equipment.
What would be some of your artistic inspirations?
New experiences. Meeting cool people, doing new things, going to new places; these things all spark a new thought and inspiration within me. Instagram is also a great place for inspiration if you’re looking in the right place.
Can you recall your most memorable moment shooting candid/documentary style photography?
I was walking around Kensington Market and I encountered a group of hip individuals. The way they were kicking back in the alley looked like a photograph. I couldn’t let this perfect moment pass, so I asked them for a picture and they were instantly game, effortlessly going into their poses. I spent 5 minutes with them and every time I look at it, I wish I spent more time to get to know them. This was actually my first day of asking individuals for their consent to take their picture and the day went very well.
On the same day, I encountered an old Chinese man. For the hell of it, I asked for a picture. I didn’t expect him to be so cool about it. From this point on, I began asking anyone and everyone who caught my eye.
“Living in the 6,
I learned not to be fearful of 7
for what he did to 9,
He did to survive.” – Victor Kim
See more of Victor Kim’s work below and you’ll definitely want to keep up with him on Instagram @bicterkim.