(NSFW) Bang Rang Interview: Naked Bodies Like Poems, the Dark Erotica of Sanghyeok

model photography tips - Bang Sanghyeok

I know nearly nothing about South Korea’s Bang Sanghyeok. Aside from finding one prominent feature on Juxtapoz, I couldn’t find much else. I do know that the South Korean photographer also goes by Bang Rang. Other than that, I can’t say much about him. Still, even in its obscurity, his photography isn’t hard to notice.

It’s dark. It’s messy. It’s dramatic. Unlike a photo you might see in Playboy, his photos don’t obliterate the organ of volition or soul from nakedness. He finds the absolute zero of it: the wonder of baring who you are. As a result, the women he photographs are incandescent and vulnerable, their stares burning through the photos. In their stark blacks and whites, he’s captured a brutal spirit of stripping away pretense.

In this interview, Sanghyeok talks about porn, nudity, and his photography.

model photography tips - Sanghyeok talks about porn

I got the idea that you’re a very intense person from looking through your work. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re the type of guy who writes a good fucking poem every once and a while. How did you get your start with photography? How would you describe your work?

Yes, I do draw or write sometimes but I can’t say I’m great at these. I started photography when my father gave me a camera. I can say that my work is me. They are my thoughts, what I Iike, my tastes, my feelings and situations.

Was your father a photographer? Why did he give you a camera? 

It would be nice if there was an amazing romantic story but there isn’t. He just bought it for himself but told me I might use it more and gave it to me.

model photography tips - father a photographer

Have you ever felt unsure of your talents? Did you ever feel like giving up?

Talent is like a diamond. Everybody’s got a talent but you won’t know until you get it out and clean it and shape it. No, I’ve never wanted to give up. Photography is not work for me. It’s my entertainment. Who would want to give up an entertainment?

model photography tips - diamond

model photography tips - making a photograph feels

I want to know what the act of making a photograph feels like to you. Does it feel like an impulse? An urge? Or is it more intellectual — more thoughtful and pre-planned?

Each photograph of mine is sometimes impulsive and sometimes planned. I get prepared to meet the woman I love and I photograph her. I don’t think that much. I try to capture what I see by instinct and find something different inside that. I love women. They are the most beautiful livings in the world. And the most attractive. So I always look for women.

model photography tips - photograph of mine

I like imagining that photographers are a little more observant than most. What do you think? Has anybody ever said you see things that most other people don’t?

I think it is more about concentration rather than observation. I concentrate on that person more than anyone. I don’t think I have better observation skills. Sometimes I do see things but don’t think others can’t. They just don’t try to.

What do you think stops them? Why not try?

Usually when a person sees chocolate milk, he or she sees it just as chocolate milk because there isn’t more value to think more. Photographers don’t see it just as chocolate milk because they won’t be satisfied to show it just as a chocolate milk. So by instinct they will think more about it or find a way to show it in a different way.

model photography tips - chocolate milk

I think there’s a key to understanding your work in this photograph. Once I figure out what this is, I’ll know something more about your eye. What is it? Could you explain how it was made from start to finish?

The photograph you have attached is a mussel I bought at the market and photographed it during the day because it looked like a woman’s genitals. The key or answer is however one’s self feels. I hope people just look at it as they feel. Help is not needed to understand.

model photography tips - understanding your work in this photograph

Nudity plays an important role in your work. But how you shoot nudity isn’t conventional. You go for hidden details, the rough textures. What’s the attraction of shooting nudity in this way to you, exactly? Is it a matter creating tension or mystery?

I don’t think nudity is mysterious, it is very natural and beautiful. Nudity is, in a way, a relationship for me. My work shows the relationship between me and the model.

Could you explain this relationship more fully? Are these models your friends?

My relationships with the models are shown in the photos. Some were lovers and some are friends. We shared many things together, and sometimes I meet them for the first time. I believe this can be felt by looking at the photos.

model photography tips - relationships with the models

model photography tips - South Korea

You live in South Korea. Could you talk about how your work is received there? How’s the photography scene?

It is hard to say how my work is received in Korea. Some people think that it’s  vulgar, and some people see it as art. How I feel is that there are many people that have a prejudice of the word nudity. That it is vulgar. It is very difficult to do nudity photography here. Many people think that they will become like a porn actress.

They’ve grown into seeing nudity as pornographic, you mean? Not something beautiful and natural as you said earlier? 

Porn is one part of a big range of nudity. And for people who have only accessed nudity by porn can easily think that nudity is equal to porn. I also first learned about nudity by porn, but I realized that porn was only a small part of nudity. And what I want to show is that nudity with sexual aspects can be shown in a different form of art.

model photography tips - experiencing love

Do you think experiencing love — at least once — is important to creating great art?

I don’t think experiencing love is necessary to make art. Art is not only about love. But experiences surely affect your work. So if you experience love you can surely create a work touched by love.

model photography tips - experiences surely affect your work

model photography tips - Bang Rang

model photography tips - Naked Bodies Like Poems

model photography tips - Dark Erotica of Sanghyeok

model photography tips - Bang Sanghyeok

model photography tips - Dark Erotica

model photography tips - Erotica of Sanghyeok

model photography tips - Naked Bodies

You can see more of Bang Rang work and model photography tips here!

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