Rebekah Seok

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Rebekah Seok born and raised in Queens. I just started living in the lower east side. It’s definitely one hell of an adventure, but I’m really glad I will always have the suburbs to go to if the city is ever too much for me.

What is beauty to you and how do you define beauty?
I can’t. but if you feel it and if you see it, you know it.

What’s the story behind your first camera?
My Olympus 230 infinity zoom lens. My father took photos of my mother with that camera before I was born. Now I use it today.

Digital or film? Why?
Both are good, but I prefer film because of the process.

What role does color play in your work?
When I was very little, (I can recall my life back to when I was 3 years old!) I colored in an elephant with of all the crayons in the box. I looked at the final image and was upset and asked my mom if I can take art lessons because an elephant in real life is not colorful, it is gray. I think I accept the colors around me as they are, but I enjoy taking advantage of them and using color in any creative way possible.

If you didn’t pursue photography, what alternative career path would you have taken?
I can’t even begin to imagine. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I’m extremely lucky and happy I ended up with a camera in my hand.

Who are the subjects in your images?
A lot of strangers and my friends. My photography is comprised of many people I do not know and those who are close to me.

Do you see yourself veering towards fashion photography?
Only if it’s fun. I like the idea of being creative when it comes to fashion photography. If I’m not constantly moving around and just pressing a button the whole time, I would probably quit immediately. That is so boring.

As a New Yorker, do you find yourself shooting strangers often?
New York City is full of interesting individuals and although it is such a proud city, I find myself brave enough to photograph anything and everything around me.

In your line of work you often work with models (and stylists). How has your perception of beauty evolved?
Working with stylists and models allowed me to be more creative and explore different ways beauty can be expressed.

What is your opinion on nudity in photography? Do you think the human body is most beautiful clothed or bare?
I believe the nature of the human body is beautiful in itself, but the perception of a human body can be volatile depending on what the photographer wants to express.

What are some memorable shoots/images? Why?
I think one of the most memorable shoots was with my friend Essdea during winter. She couldn’t make it to the 3pm shoot and asked if I wanted to reschedule the day, I said no and it ended up becoming a night shoot. I stayed in central park for another 2 hours in the cold, smoking and chasing after any light I saw. Now this is one of my favorite images of her.

What equipment do you currently use?
I use my Mamiya 645 and the point and shoot I mentioned.

Who and what inspire you?
I take a lot of inspiration from old films and music.

What songs are on your personal playlist?
David Bowie, Joy Division, The Smiths, Beach House, Dr. Dre, Madlib, Wu-Tang, New Order, The Cure, Blonde Redhead, Fever Ray, The Haxan Cloak.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?
1. I got into photography by browsing through flickr for white peacocks. I really wanted to photograph animals so I bought a camera, but in NYC there are only fat pigeons.
2. Every time I see a blue jay, my day goes really well. Once I saw a blue jay die in front of my house and it was the worst year ever.
3. My greatest dream would be to work for Planet Earth and have David Attenborough narrate everything.