Interview to Michael Vince Kim, a member of the Global Campus Visual Contest 2017

Our interview to Michael Vince Kim, his work concentrates on issues of migration and identity with a focus on the Korean diaspora in post-Soviet states and Latin America. He is the recipient of the Magnum ‘30 Under 30’ Award and the 1st prize in the People Stories category of the World Press Photo 2017 Contest. In 2015 he participated in the GC Photo competition with the photo entitled “Sung-ok Tigay,92”; you can read the story of the photo on our Instagram channel dedicated to the contest, here.

You won the first prize in the People Stories category of the World Press Photo 2017 Contest. What is in your view the process behind the choice of a convincing photo?

There is no secret formula when it comes to a good photograph, which is a good thing because it fosters innovation. Having said that, I think people can tell when there is depth of knowledge and sensitivity behind a photograph, and when it goes beyond the superficial and the self-referential clichés of photography.

In your work you documented the Korean diaspora and the consequences of the deportation. What have you learnt from this experience?

When I met the Korean communities in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Mexico, and Cuba, I couldn’t help but compare their cultures with my own, as part of the Korean community in Argentina. Despite our shared roots, there are many differences in our approach to Korean culture, even in small and mundane things like how each community prepares kimchi differently. However, after some time, you realise that we share more similarities than differences, and this is not only due to our shared roots. This applies to all cultures anywhere in the world - we’re all more similar than we are different, and it’s important not to resort to a colonialist narrative through the exotification of cultures or the usage of a patronising tone when portraying developing countries.

Which advice would you like to give to young photographers and video makers willing to create a persuasive storytelling?

There’s no one-size-fits-all advice, but finding a subject that you are personally invested in is a good start.

You can follow the visual contest with the hashtag #GlobalCampusVisualContest on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Instagram.

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