Scherzando Park is part of a new generation of Korean photographers and models that are challenging South Korea’s beauty standards. She prefers emphasizing natural aspects of the Asian form, rather than much sought after Western beauty features. Her photography ranges from gorgeous and mature to playful and humorous. Scherzando recently allowed me to use one of her photographs for the cover of my Dorian Gray/ Korean mash-up novel The Photograph of Hye Mi Bae.
Hi Scherzando, can you tell us about your personal history? How did you become a photographer? How did you choose your name?
Hello. I am Scherzando. I am from an underprivileged family situation, so I wanted to choose a kind of work that would give me happiness. Art, fashion design, graphic design, and photography, this enjoyable work is something that really gives me vitality. Scherzando is a term that comes from music scores and means ‘to play cheerfully’. I chose the name because I wanted a name, too, that gives me happiness. I’ve used the name since I was fourteen. It’s more familiar to me than my real name.
I wouldn’t say that your photography is the typical style people think of when they think of Korean style. Where do your ideas come from?
I get inspiration from everything. I see movies, draw pictures, look at other people’s photography and I recall the portion of my memories that are good. I have collected a vast quantity of materials, and I work with those materials to create my own method.
How important is image and stye in society? What do you think your images contribute?
People’s visual sense is their own. I hope people get a positive experience from my images, not a negative one. Therefore, I don’t really make use of horror imagery. I go for Disney and the happy ending. We can think of anything in a dream, but it is not necessarily connected to reality. In my photos I create a dreamlike atmosphere. Props and models come onto the scene. My images in the end are reality mixed with fantasies. I am working to disentangle something from dreams and to represent it.
Is it difficult being a female photographer in Korea?
I am working in Korea, but will I be able to achieve success here? I haven’t really asked myself this question seriously yet. Facebook, Instagram and other social networking services have made me very active. Lots of people’s work is easily viewable, and that’s not an issue of being female or male. An easier road has opened up for everyone. Honestly, since most of the customer base are women in this industry, men photographers can make many clients feel uncomfortable. So, many people actually prefer women photographers over men.
What do you think the Korean sense of beauty is? And are you challenging typical ideas of beauty?
The biggest point of merit for Korean beauty in my mind is the smooth curve. Eyes without double eyelids and a round face, the things that only Asian people have. That is what I think is beautiful. But, most Korean people usually don’t think that those features are attractive. I tell those people that their ‘beauty complex’ itself is beautiful. Their insecurities are really without purpose. I am against the mainstream idea of beauty and I take photographs that counter it. If I can express that beautifully, then to counter the standard concept is the challenge I’d like to take on.
It seems you are close to your models, like friends. Is that true? What is your relationship with them like?
I don’t meet many models. So far, I tend to work with the people I first worked with. We have been together a long time, and because we always meet once or twice a month to do work together, we consider one another friends.
I see a lot of pink and red in your images, red rouge on cheeks, smeared pink and red below and around the eyes. Can you tell me why you use those colors?
I think I like the feeling that pink and red gives. If I use a lot of blues I feel it’s a bit depressing, but pink and red liven things up. If I use those colors I can easily create crisp emotions.
Do you coach your models or let them express themselves freely?
I don’t have a particular way I want them to pose. I just want them to live in the moment, so I give them an environment to act naturally in. I shoot mostly how they move on their own.
What do you want to achieve for your photography in the future?
At the moment, I feel that I want to be famous. If I become a well-known photographer then I will keep using the name Scherzando. If I become famous then I will be able to share my work with lots of people easily.
I saw you started a video show. What is that going to be about?
I’ve started a youtube channel called ‘Schando TV’. People who could only see my photos before can now see how I create the work. It’s sort of like behind the scenes, videos of how the models move and how I capture them. I want to give people a sense of closeness with me. There will be conversations and scenes from everyday life. People wanted to get to know me better so that’s why I started the channel.
I asked Scherzando to comment on some individuals images.
What’s up with the mouse ears? I’ve seen you wear them and you mentioned them in your video- cast.
Ha! That’s a hat I have! It was in my collection. I like it so I wear it all the time. I even put it on for a while and snapped a photo of myself wearing it.
She looks like a normal girl, but with a wicked sense of style.
I did the make-up, hairstyle and set up the situation all myself. I thought that would be a lot of fun to give a normal girl a bit of style and photograph her.
Do you shoot babies often?
It’s the first time I shot a baby. A fan of my photography was celebrating her baby’s birthday, so I wanted to take a photo of the baby.
I really like her look. She seems really retro to me. Do you draw on older Korean eras for inspiration sometimes?
Me too. I really like her look. She’s the model I love the most. I felt like I got a ‘Twiggy’ feeling from her. I thought if there was ever a ‘Twiggy’ in Korea this is how I would shoot her in my imagination. Of course, I always think of past Korean fashion and that gives me inspiration as well.
How did you manage this shot? Is she laying down? She appears to be floating. Amazing!
To take this photograph I had the model jump 300 times! We’d shoot it in an instant, and then do it again and again. I saw Zena Holloway’s underwater photos, and I wanted to shoot an underwater shot, but I still lacked the equipment…sometime I would like to take some underwater photographs.
This is such an elegant shot.
I wanted to take a photo that looked like an Oriental painting. This is the most Korean photograph I have taken.
This is from the series I used for my book cover.
This photograph was a collaboration between me and ‘Happily’, a traditional Korean clothing shopping mall. Later, I gave it to you to use for the book cover. The blouse and traditional Korean pieces were hand-made and the hair ornaments are a East-meets-West mix, a combination of antique styles from both traditions.
You don’t shoot men often?
I shoot men sometimes. But, I haven’t shot a lot of men. I have lots of concepts, especially ideas for dressing them up in theater costumes. I’d like to try that and will do more in the future.
Plans to do more witchy shots like these?
I wanted to photograph someone who looked like a buried flower. A flower’s color scheme is very contrasty. This is the last of this type of photograph I think.
For more of Scherzando’s work, find her here:
instagram – @scherzando_artwork
blog – http://blog.naver.com/tei193
youtube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_l_f0s0d_klEMH14GZgDjg