Imperfectly Perfect - An Interview with Min Ryu
Content creator Min Ryu tells us how she uses imperfections to produce photos that are imperfectly perfect, as well as how her faith has influenced her career.
How did you discover your love of photography?
I started off with photography because I love capturing frames where I would capture the moment. I would observe every moment and it gave me good memories, so I wanted to capture those memories.
Is there a tension between your identity and your ambition and your faith?
Yes, definitely. Especially within the creative industry, I’ve had problems with people I’ve had to work with a lot who do have a faith but it’s a different faith to mine. This makes the process of creating something completely different. The things that they find attractive and what they want to create were very different to my ideas- we all had different perspectives.
Have you had difficulties in staying true to you creative path?
There were so many temptations where I could have easily said ‘Oh yeah, I want to be like those people because they’re successful in this industry or they have loads of followers because of how they create.’ But I had to remind myself of what I really like and who I am, because if I don’t trust myself in what I’m creating, then it’s not my work anymore. There was a moment when I didn’t enjoy what I was creating because I thought, ‘That person has more people who love their work,’ and because of how they were socialising- partying all the time, drinking all the time and doing drugs meant they had a good network with people. It was a big temptation for me because I thought I could be more successful if I was like them. There was a moment I had to decide to follow what I believe in, and since then my career path has changed so much.
In what way did your career change when you made that decision?
I started to get to meet more Christian creatives outside my church which is what I was praying about before. They were giving me good compliments and feedback and from that, they suggested ‘Oh, we should do this together’ and so we worked together. Everything changed from thinking ‘follow what I believe in’ and then I made myself a creator in an ethical way.
How do you avoid comparing yourself to others in your line of work?
I struggle but I think you need to learn how to separate your work from someone else’s. So I can say ‘Oh my God, they are amazing’ but that doesn’t mean that I’m never going to be successful, because we all have different styles and we all take inspiration from each other. I try different things and build on what I’ve done before so I can find my own style and what I really want to shoot.
When you take portraits, what are you trying to capture?
At first, I wanted to capture beautiful shots. Then recently, I’ve appreciated the imperfections and the awkwardness. That’s my style now. Sometimes people may feel uncomfortable with my pictures because they may not be perfect. But actually, that’s not real life- no one is perfect. It is okay that you have folds, or that you go through different phases in life that are more awkward. That is still a beautiful thing for me.
How has your faith helped you during your personal ‘awkward times’?
I went through lots of sad times, and at that time I had really big problems with my parents. This culture says you have to be skinny, you have to be pale, you need to be all of these things and because I was listening to those things, rather than the stuff I should have been listening to, I went through hard times. I was thinking I might not be perfect or the best in everything but when I started reading the Bible, I realised it speaks about how we’re made in His perfect image. So if I tell myself and if I tell other people that, then it’s true.
What changes do you want to see in your industry?
Well, that’s what I want to work on in the next couple of years. There are still so many people that are still not being themselves as artists. For example, in photography, there are lots of sexualised photos and all those things, because they think that’s what people want to see as well as the fact that they sell well. But there are so many other beautiful pictures to capture.
I’ve also struggled a lot with the fact that I kept being told that I’m doing something wrong because ‘that’s not how the previous photographer did it, so why [am I] doing it differently?’ So for me, I want to become a photographer that makes it acceptable to do things differently and where it’s not just about money but how clients respect artists, in order to bring about a better atmosphere.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Yasmin Rona