I’ve fallen in love with Korea. It’s really an undiscovered country, as far as Americans are concerned. Sixty years ago, the country was at war. The city of Seoul was fought over and overtaken four times. It was so devastated that by the end of the war, there were almost no trees left standing. As a result, the old trees that survived the war are protected as National Treasures. The country has rebuilt itself and, in the process, become an Asian powerhouse.
The people are ambitious and hard-working. They are known as the Irish of Asia, due to their personalities. They have a hard time hiding their emotions and are very outgoing. My husband, Skip, works part-time as a legal advisor and teacher at a Korean oil company. He has a hard time getting his clients to hide their enthusiasm at negotiations.
This outgoingness makes them very easy to get to know. They will notice you looking lost on a street corner and come right up and try to help. All younger Koreans have studied English, and most of them are willing to try to communicate with strangers. As part of their schooling, they have to stop foreigners on the street and interview them. It’s usually recorded on their cell phone cameras. As for the Korean food, I love it; especially Korean barbecue and bibimbap (serving style in which small amounts of a number of different foods are plated.)
I took thousands of photos and went to photo workshops when I could, including those run by AWAI [Ed. Note: The American Writers and Artists Inc. are friends of Fund Your Life who provide excellent training on, among other things, how you can turn your photos into cash], but the real turning point came last year. I went to Ecuador on an AWAI photo/Spanish language trip and took my husband. He got excited about my photos and started to encourage me. I finally got up the courage to send a photo into a competition for a cover of a magazine…and won.
That did it—just one little success. I soon turned my attention to stock photography—taking pictures of every-day items which are then sold via stock image websites. I now have an income generated from stock portfolios on three different sites. On top of that, I had requests from friends to teach them how to use their cameras.
I know that we may end up somewhere else, but, the best part for me is that I now know that I can take photos, sell stock and generate income from anywhere in the world. And, all of my equipment, with the exception of my 24-inch computer screen, can fit into my luggage. My career is totally portable.
I love the diversity of my photography. I have not focused on only one type. I love creating fine art. I was just in an exhibition for emerging artists in Seoul. And sold my first three limited edition, fine art photographs.
But I love shooting stock—it keeps me honest. The stock inspector is not afraid to tell me when my photo needs improvement. I have in the back of my mind the possibility of having a proper studio someday, and shooting children and animals. I would also like to eventually teach photography classes.
I’m always on the lookout for the next big opportunity and I always carry my camera. Anyone can learn to take photographs. But, to get really good at it, you need to love it. And to feel like something is missing if your camera is not hanging around your neck.
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