24 Apr Insta Crush: Animal portrait photographer—Hosung Jang
In this modern world that we live in today, animals and humans often need to share one living space. More often than not, animals are forced to comply to human living conditions. Wild animals lose their natural habitats while domestic animals lose their freedom. Animals do not have a voice, they can’t fight for their rights, but they are living creatures that coexists with us in this world.
Have we forgotten what love is? Are we not the guardians to all other living creatures in this world?
Every animal has a unique soul, we should love and care for them because animal problems are usually not caused by animals but because of human greed. Our world will be a better place if humans and animals can live peacefully with each other. Love truly overcomes a whole lot of problems, it is not just a feel good feeling or a romanticized scenario, true love is dynamic, sacrificial and life giving, even animals know how to express their fondness towards human beings. It is about helping the weaker when they are in need and at times of weakness receive help from others. Never underestimate the friendship or bond between humans and animals, it may even be stronger than relationships between our fellow human beings.
Hosung Jang from South Korea is an animal portrait photographer and animal rights activist. It has been a five-year journey for Hosung since he started taking animal portraits and photographing as a profession. He found interest in photography during his college years but was not sure about the subject. He started taking pictures of animals with his first set of lens and immediately found his passion. An animal lover from a young age, Hosung said that it was natural for him to try photographing animals. According to him, animals also have the same emotions and feelings like humans, we just need to recognize them.
Hosung deems that our attitude towards animals is very important as it is able to mould a person’s character. A person that is able to show love towards animals tend to be more empathetic and understanding. Children especially are highly encouraged to interact with animals and form bondage with them. He advocates that we all should discover the value of appreciating life in all forms. Isn’t that a great attitude that we all can look up to?
Here’s Hosung on set.
Since 2014, Hosung has held 11 exhibitions, his first solo exhibition was held in a café in Seoul as he could not afford a proper space in a gallery but his portraits caught the eyes of gallery owners after his first exhibition. His works were also featured in the mART project along with other international and Korean artists for a charity event in Seoul. Hosung landed his first international exhibition in Taiwan after a very coincidental meet with his Airbnb host who got him connected with a culture complex that had a cool gallery space. Exhibition title “Public Animals, Seoul to Taipei” was a very successful exhibition as many local people showed a lot of interest in his works, some even came early and waited in line for the show.
Check out Hosung’s animal portrait collection of Homeless Dogs.
Check out this short interview with Hosung below:
What do animals mean to you?
Peacefulness, comforting and happiness.
Sadness, pain and guilt.
Do you have a pet? Tell us more about it.
I have a little brother named Ga-eul, his name also means Autumn in Korean. He became my brother in Autumn 2009. He is a pretty shy and small male dog, but he is really protective of me and our family. I can’t even imagine how much he loves us. I learn about love from Ga-eul all the time.
Among your many portraits of animals, which particular piece gave you the most significant memory?
I have many memorable pieces, the most recent one is a dog of a family in Taiwan. I had a portrait taking event at the exhibition. People brought their pets to the exhibition and I would take their portraits. There was a family that brought along their very old dog Linus. Linus is 14 and he has cancer with about 3 more months to live. I photographed Linus, printed his portraits and gave them to the family. A week later, I got an email from Linus’s owner saying, “The portraits are wonderful. Thanks to you, I found another side of my dog. He is so handsome.” Those words really touched me reminding me of my passion and purpose of taking animal portraits which at times I have forgotten. Those words helped me rediscover my identity and purpose in my work.
How do you spend time with animals on set? Please describe a typical shoot day.
People contact me for photography sessions via my Instagram. They make a reservation for their pet portraits and I will prepare the necessary items for shooting, background and lights. On set, I would bring along some snacks to get their attention and play catch with a ball. It is essential to make them comfortable and at ease. On average, it takes about 20 minutes, sometimes less than 5 minutes, I try to keep it short because I don’t want to stress the animals.