by Shelt Garner
I hope to return to Seoul before I drop dead. Everything changed when I went to Asia. Or, should I say, everything changed when I met the late Annie Shapiro. I have a very romanticized recollection of those years of my life. I mean, Annie was no saint and I was so crazy that they put me in a book about crazy expats. (That was fun, let me tell you.)
In more than one way, the bolts popped off my sanity while I was in Asia. And I was so kneecapped on an emotional basis by what happened with ROKon Magazine that I pretty much was in neutral for a decade. But I can feel things beginning to change now.
Now that the novel series I’m working on is beginning to take shape and I have my potential “second track” of (fashion) photography, I’m beginning to get my emotional sea legs again. I think back to how I was a man on fire in Seoul and how I was “famous” and overexposed within the expat community for being everywhere and nowhere at once.
A lot — A LOT — could still go wrong. But the reason why photography, specifically is so appealing to me is it makes me the protagonist of my personal story again. Something has to change in my life for me to use the camera I want to buy successfully. I can’t just stay in neutral. I’m going to have to hit the pavement and see if I can crack some doors somewhere.
I remember how exciting it was in Seoul in late 2006 when Annie and I were changing the world with ROKon Magazine. I would do it all different now, but it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that fashion photography is, like being a rock DJ, a sweetspot in my personality. And it was in Asia that I realized I was not a journalist, but, rather a creative person. In a way, being a DJ and fashion photographer are same same but different in my mind. I’m using a similar part of my mind to tell stories, if you will.
But, as I keep saying, I’m about 20 years too old to start a career in (fashion) photography — or any creative career for that matter. They say “age ain’t nuthing but a number,” but “they” lie. All I can say is I have a native, organic talent with it comes to a few things and photography is one of them.
Getting into photography, if nothing else, elevates my serotonin levels.