‘Smarphoto’ Gains Popularity in Korea


By Seok-jae Kang,
Vice President, Asia Journalists Association

SEOUL: A new genre of photography, Smarphoto, is gaining popularity among Koreans, especially smartphone beginners and senior photography enthusiasts.

Smarphoto, a coined term combining smartphone and photography, was created by Korean video specialist Park Kyung-sam in 2012.


“Smartphones have become an essential part of our daily lives, and taking photos and recording videos have become a field of interest for everyone,” Park said.

Park, a graduate of the School of the Arts of Colombia University in the United States, said, “I introduced Smarphoto as part of an effort to obtain high-quality photos in smartphone environments. The concept of Smarphoto is not examining the functionalities of smartphones themselves, but rather focusing on creating value as photos by utilizing the functionalities provided by smartphone manufacturers.”


Park, who was born in 1947 as the eldest son of the late Korean director Park Koo, continued to say, “the concept of Smarphoto aims to simplify and consolidate the basic technical theories involved in photography, enabling smartphone users, especially beginners, to easily capture satisfying photos.”

“Achieving a perfect photo previously required a thorough understanding of the photography theory and practice, but nowadays about 70 percent of the required functionality is already provided by smartphones,” he said. “By acquiring an understanding of the remaining 30 percent, encompassing aesthetic theories and advanced functionalities, it is possible to obtain photos comparable to those taken by professionals.”


Over the past 45 years of experience, Park has directed over 1,000 commercial films and over 100 documentaries as well as 10 sports archive films, including the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals, and 15 world exhibition films. He served as principal of Korea Animation High School and is a chair professor of Seoul Art College.


Park, who was a combat news cameraman during the Vietnam War between 1966 and 1969, held a Smarphoto exhibition of about 50 photos at the Sejong Center for the Performing Art in downtown Seoul in June 2023. He also plans to hold a Smarphoto exhibition in Osaka, Japan in October this year.

Last month, Park made a special lecture on Smarphoto at the Myeongdong Nabi Café in downtown Seoul. He is ready to offer Smarphoto courses for the public at Hanyang University this year.


Park, who also serves as director general of the Culture & Arts Corps of GCS International, plans to expand his professional Smarphoto courses and classes for the public worldwide.

Korean artist Kang Chan-mo said, “As a professional, who had ample experience in various genres of cinematography, starting with commercial films, Director Park was able to explore the world of Smarphoto.” “In an era where the boundaries of expertise are collapsing and even in a world dominated by technology, art is still a unique domain of humanity. Through this special Smarphoto exhibition at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, we are able to rediscover this fact.”


Kang said, “I congratulate Park on his efforts, which may seem small but are significant toward a grand future. I hope they become our icon in safeguarding the art of tomorrow.”

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