• Joyce Kim photographed by Drew Bienemann

    The Fresh List: Joyce Kim

    This month The Fresh List highlights a handful of people and places we're excited about in 2014. First up, one of the freshest new voices in photography, Joyce Kim. Los Angeles-based Kim is a guest poster on our Instagram throughout January, sharing a bounty of bright, beautiful behind-the-scenes images from our Get Fresh shoot. We chatted to Kim about what separates her from her peers, the personality behind her pictures, and her relationship with technology.  Interview by Ally Mullen

    Photographs by Joyce Kim for Urban Outfitters

    Name: Joyce Kim
    Hometown: Scarsdale, NY
    Location: Echo Park, L.A.
    Occupation: Freelance Photographer
    Zodiac sign: Capricorn
    Instagram: @jokimbo

    When did you first pick up a camera? 
    I have a horrible memory, so it came from wanting to record good memories. [It was] around 15 years old, when I was super angsty and just wanted a way to connect with my friends and surroundings. My mom did an incredible job at documenting my entire childhood, so I think I got some of that from her without realizing it.

    Did you study photography at school? 
    I took a class in high school and that was the start of my photo education. I went to art school in Baltimore and started out in photography, but I switched my major very quickly because I figured I loved [photography] so much, I would keep doing it on my own. 

    How would you describe your work? 
    Meditative, quiet, minimal, and natural.

    Photograph by Joyce Kim for Urban Outfitters

    What type of camera do you use the most? Do you prefer film or digital?
    A Canon 5D Mark III I bought less than a year ago—up until that point I had primarily shot on film. I’m used to a digital camera now and I shoot with it the most often, but if I had it my way I would always shoot with my Mamiya 7.

    What is the biggest influence on your work?
    I’m most inspired by travel and new places, and I’m most excited to shoot in a new environment. When I’m on the road I always want to bring my camera; I’m so obsessed with the world.

    Personal works by Joyce Kim

    What was your first big break?
    It was definitely my first job for FADER Magazine this past July when I photographed Sir Michael Rocks. It was the first time I going to have a photo in print; having my photo in a magazine that’s on real magazine stands. It was really the ultimate.

    Who has been your favorite person to photograph?
    Ty Dolla $ign. He was so generous with his time and hung out with me for the entire day.

    Ty Dolla $ign photographed by Joyce Kim

    Where are your favorite places you've taken photos?  
    Japan and Korea.

    Favorite time of the day to shoot?
    It’s hard to deny the golden hour. If I can get up that early, really early morning when the light's just coming out… nothing beats the sunrise or the afternoon sunset.

    Who are some up-and-coming photographers we should be watching out for?
    Daniel Shea, John Francis Peters, Milan Zrnic, Stephanie Gonot, Amy Elkins, Zoe Ghertner

    What do you think separates you from your peers? 
    I used the word meditative to describe my work because it very much describes my process; I take a lot of time to consider whether something’s a good image. I don’t even want to post a photo that I think is even touching on mediocre. I only want to show my very best all of the time. I really focus on a strong composition instead of letting a celebrity carry an image. I want to make sure all of the elements are harmonious. I think that consideration and that ability to take things a little bit slower and sit with it translates through my work.

    Photographs by Joyce Kim for Urban Outfitters

    How do you keep your work fresh and continue to evolve? 
    Technology! The acquisition of this new digital camera has been a huge inspiration and motivation to keep shooting. I think embracing new technology and realizing how powerful it actually is, is what's getting me excited again. All of it is very scary but important for my growth as a photographer.

    What do you hope your photos convey?
    I think every photo I take is a direct reflection of myself and how I’m feeling or what I’m thinking. I think the fact that I try to find a lot of stillness in my work, the overarching feeling is maybe taking a moment and trying to find something genuine. I want to shoot as naturally as possible, beyond just using natural light. I want to capture people and not pose them. Catching something real and making it feel genuine. 

    What's the best piece of photography advice you've ever gotten?
    At the end of the day, just always make sure it’s an image that I like and I’m using my own voice. Take all the rest into consideration, and stick to an assignment but not lose sight of an image that you want to shoot.

    Who would you want to take your own picture?
    Robert Frank. He’s incredible. It’d be him, catching me on the street.

    When do you feel most alive?
    I like when I hike to the top of something tall. I really like to get up high—walk, climb—and when I can look really far into the distance over a landscape… I feel pretty awesome.

    What are your top five obsessions at the moment?
    Green juice, my beanie, Canada, RunKeeper and seaweed.

    What's coming up next for you?
    Right now I’m heading to San Francisco to shoot a feature story for a magazine. Beyond that I’m just really trying to take control of my freelance life and travel abroad at least twice this year. And I want to just keep taking pictures!

    Photographs by Joyce Kim for Urban Outfitters