Sung-Hee discovered quite early in her life that photography is her passion. Since then she had a long and exciting journey to finding her own unique expression in this broad field - from fashion photography, to portrait & emotional photography, and, eventually, to founding her heart project "Female Diversity".
In this project Sung-Hee captures female bodies in their uniqueness, diversity and "realness", in order to show different types of female beauty and to make women feel more beautiful, even if they don't match the current "beauty standarts".
Sung-Hee's work brings women confidence and power to make their own rules in life, to be more independent of the society stereotypes, and to be more aware of their beauty and uniqueness!
Read our interview with Sung-hee about her inspiring journey below.
Did you always know you wanted to work as a photographer?
My passon for photography began in my early twenties when I bought my first SLR camera - film back then! It felt right from the very beginning and I made my decision that this will be my profession.
What is it about photography that makes you feel it's the right fit for you?
It‘s about creating images. Before I found the medium camera I loved painting. I still get a lot of inspiration from paintings. I just changed the medium so now I paint with light, colors or contrasts, with my subject, the emotions and essence of personalities.
You started in Fashion and Beauty photography —> How did you launch your own business? Was the switch difficult for you or did it come naturally?
I’ve worked as a photo assistant, that‘s a good way to grow into the business of photography.
In 2007 I was in the transition of getting my first commissioned jobs next to being an assistant. I can‘t really speak of a real launch. I rememer creating my first website and a printed portfolio. Then as a young photographer you try to get your work in front of as many eyes as possible. Agencies, magazines or fashion labels. I wouldn’t say it was an easy phase.
One thing an artist must learn and make peace with is rejection. It‘s good to see it as a huge game to really find the people who are a good fit in a business way.
In fashion and beauty photography I felt the lack of depth. I was more interested in characters, personalities and the stories behind people. So the switch to portrait photography came very natural to me.
You own a business and are a mommy to an adorable son, what does your schedule look like? Do you feel that you have mastered the work-life balance?
It really was a learning process to have a kid AND a business. The feeling there’s never enough time for either of them is something I had to get used to and master and it’s still a challenge. It’s about setting very clear priorities, also saying no, focus on the things that really matter to you and not doing everything by yourself.
My husband and I are on a equal footing with work and childcare. And I learned that not everything needs to be perfect! I‘m not the kind of mom who volunteers first when it comes to baking cakes for kindergarden, I‘m the one who volunteers for buying „Brezn“ from the bakery.
What does success look like for you?
To live a self determind life, creating my art, finding my voice and communicating it through photography.
Success as an artist is also to combine art and entrepreneurship. Every artist also wants to sell, but the process of creation has to be completely free. It has to come from the heart, not from a selling point of view.
Success for me is finding that balance of free creation of art and monetizing afterwards, bringing value to others with art and selling.
Some people might think it’s less romantic to hear an artist talking about selling and entrepreneurship, but when there’s no selling and money, no art can be created!
Do you have any life rules you live by?
Getting closer to my true self.
Your new project Female Diversity has an amazing power to change people´s perception of beauty: Could you please tell us more about it?
I noticed that my perception of female beauty was not what’s represented in media. I saw so much beauty, often within women who didn’t feel very beautiful for themselves.
I had the strong feeling to show this view to make more people see what I see. The positive response I get from women is more than I could have imagined. Not everyone likes my images, but that’s also ok. Some people are so used to the manipulated image of a female body.
My inspiration came from my female friends and women I saw and met in my life.
And also, I as a woman didn’t feel represented in media’s definition of what a woman should look like, be like and act like. That image mostly makes women feel bad or not good enough.
I wish this image could change into a more realistic and inspiring image of women for women.
What piece of advice would you give to a fellow female entrepreneur just starting her journey of self-employment?
That is a question I hear being asked a lot!
And to be honest, I don’t have an answer.
I find it hard to give any advice. The journey of entrepreneurship involves so many details. So many books have been written on the topic of how to be successful.
I often have listened to others too much, I should have more trusted my guts!
Maybe that’s what I’d suggest. And the really good stuff is mostly where fear is holding you back. It’s worth to have a look there.
Nowadays there exist a certain “ideal image” of a modern woman - successful career, happy family, perfect body - that many women struggle to achieve and therefore often feel “less than“ or “not enough”. How would you suggest to deal with these feelings?
Always question what you see and being told from society. If it’s not aligned with what you feel, don’t believe it.
There are so many inspiring women who make their own rules and spread their message via social media and the internet. Find them, follow them and get inspired by them to also find your voice.
Women don’t yet believe in their own power. Why giving others the power over us and make us feel bad? Let’s not believe that sh**!