Do-Hoon Kim: An Inspired Amateur’s Love Affair with Photography And Leica Camera

My name is Do-Hoon Kim. I was born in 1980 and I live in Korea. I work for a sports equipment importing business. I’m don’t really consider myself a professional photographer, but I love taking pictures and I do take commercial photographs for my company—they’re used in promoting the imported goods we sell. When I was a student at university, I did a lot of part-time photography jobs that were referred to me by friends and acquaintances. Ever since then photography has been an integral part of my personal and professional life, whether it’s taking pictures of my family or just trying to document the life of my family or to create beautiful images for their own sake. Leica is an essential part of my passion for photography, as you will appreciate when you read my responses to the interviewer’s questions below.

Q: How and when did you start to pursue photography? Did you have a mentor or tutor, or did you learn by yourself?

A: When all my friends were busy hanging out after school, I was usually taking pictures outdoors by myself. I was absorbed in taking pictures that some of my acquaintances just assumed that I was some kind of professional photographer. I have had no formal training and I’m essentially untutored in the art and craft of picture taking. I educated myself by studying books on photography, but studying alone was difficult so I joined a camera club. I learned a lot from my fellow members. All my friends and acquaintances that love photos are my real teachers. I still study and learn from them in order to improve my skills.

Q: The pictures you sent us are very dynamic. How did you manage to create them, and were you actually riding a bicycle when you shot them?

A: Thanks for your kind words. Yes, I took many of these pictures while running or riding a bicycle to bring out the liveliness and dynamism of the subjects, but it was so dangerous that I eventually switched to a car

Q: What equipment do you use or did you use to make these pictures? And what is there about Leica equipment that makes it particularly suitable for your kind of work?

A: Currently, I use Canon and an extensive Leica M outfit. I shot all of these pictures with a Leica M9-P and 5 Leica lenses, a Summicron-M 28mm f/2.0 ASPH, the latest Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH, the super-speed Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH, and an APO Summicron-M 90mm f/2.0 ASPH.

Personally, I love to take sports pictures, so it’s not surprising that a few months ago, I was suddenly seized with the inspiration to take pictures of cycling. As a result, I signed up for a cycle club tour, which I not only participated in, but also photographed. At that time, I was using a Canon 1DX and a Leica M9-P. But after reviewing the pictures, I liked those I shot with M9-P much more than those taken with the 1DX. In my personal opinion, pictures taken with M9-P look a lot more realistic and attractive. After that experience I now use M9-P almost exclusively to take pictures of cycling, except for a few occasions when I’ve used a Leica X2.

Back in about 2005, I sold one of my Canon camera bodies and four lenses and purchased a Leica MP with a Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH. Because I was a student who didn’t have enough money, I had to sell the old one to buy the camera I wanted. Then, by saving the money I earned working for more than a year at a part-time job, I was finally able to save enough money to buy a Leica M7 and the new Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH. Unfortunately, after all that effort my M7 and Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH were stolen.

At one point, I wanted to use a 35mm film Leica for everything even though it can’t autofocus, and film processing is slow and quite expensive. Ironically, despite the lack of autofocus, it takes pictures with remarkable speed and accuracy. It’s a little hard to express in words but the Leica embodies a distinctive emotional quality and has the ideal size and feel that somehow lets you focus the camera on the subject. These things are the real reasons that I use a Leica.

I’ve captured many fond memories with my Leica. When traveling with my family, I’ve used the Leica to make those fleeting events timeless. Now my wife is expecting, and I take all my precious pictures of her at this special time with my Leica. My Leica is provides the means or preserving these precious memories for my family. As in the past and into the present and future, Leica will always be a very valuable way to record my family history. That’s why I’m glad that the best pictures I’ve ever taken are those I shot with a Leica and Leica lenses.

Thank you for your time, Do-Hoon!

- Leica Internet Team