With phone cameras, it has become much easier for people to take photos like selfies or of food. Yet, have you ever made an effort to take the perfect photo? There is a club at SMU where the sound of a camera shutter never stops creating photographic art. The Sookmyung Times (SMT) met Lee Eunjeong (LEE), representative for Sookmi, to learn of the club’s history and passion throughout its 50 years.
LEE Sookmi stands for pure and beautiful in Chinese (淑美) while our logo was made in the 1960s by Visual Design scholar Mr.Kwon. The logo symbolizes a face looking through a viewfinder of a camera with one eye while the other eye is kept closed. The round shape embodies a camera lens.
SMT Your club’s name ‘Sookmi’ and its logo are quite unique. Do they have any special meaning?
SMT Since Sookmi has a long history, it must have a huge alumni association. Do you get to meet former members frequently?
LEE Yes, we often have exchanges with alumni. They often visit our exhibitions held by Sookmi’s new members in their first year as a club member to critique their work. Also, we had a meaningful event communicating with alumni at the Sookmi’s Golden Jubilee Material Exhibition held last year.
SMT Like the exhibition you just mentioned, do all new members of the club participate in an exhibition?
LEE All new members of Sookmi must participate in an exhibition in their first year with the club to debut their photographic work done with a film camera.
SMT Is there any reason why newcomers must participate in exhibitions using film cameras in their first year?
LEE To learn to take good film photos, a photographer must understand basic techniques fully. With a digital camera, if a mistake is found, it can be edited out using software. For film cameras, a photo has to be perfect the moment the photo is taken, so learning the basics of photography by practicing with a film camera is very important.
SMT Where do Sookmi members learn these techniques?
LEE New members learn how to use film cameras, basic mechanisms, photo printing in darkrooms, and so on from older members at seminars and workshops. Afterwards, they learn by discussing with each other photographic work.
SMT One of your main activities is going on outings to take photos. How often do you go out?
LEE We go out to take photos once a month, but each member goes about on her own to various places to take personal photographs frequently. All members of Sookmi participate in a photography retreat each summer and winter break.
SMT Would you like to add anything else?
LEE We work actively so that later we can proclaim our days at SMU the “Sookmi’s Renaissance” period. Please join us and be a part of our 54 years of history!