Photographer Christina Paik is known in the fashion world for taking some of the most intimate street style and lookbook photos around. Dividing her time between Paris and New York, she maintains a die hard commitment to shooting on film, giving her work a distinctive edge in the digital age. This week for What Just Happened, Paik shares images of her travels through Asia, where she hung out with Japanese models, had gallery openings in Tokyo and Seoul, and kicked it with friends. We asked her about the stories behind the photos.
What happened to you this week?
I’ve been traveling in Asia for my MEUFS exhibition and book launch, so I’ve been away from home for over a month now. I am currently writing from Seoul. My time has been spent curating this exhibition in both Tokyo and Seoul and shooting every chance I get, all the while being shot for my upcoming documentary. Needless to say, all of this work keeps my hands tied, so I’ve included photos of my trip that explains my schedule better than my words could.
Before I went to Tokyo I linked up with A$AP Nast before he left to start the European leg of his tour. Once I got to Tokyo I hosted the Public Lab Festival after party. The lineup was mostly my close friends from J.Scott, plus A$AP Lou, Skepta, and A-Trak. While installing my exhibition I made time to shoot CP Girls with Rila Fukushima. This all sounds like a lot of work, but I would go crazy without it.
In Seoul I shot a lot of my friends for a new project with 99%IS, Xin, and CL. I’ve been having a lot of fun working and shooting with friends because we all come from different backgrounds and have different crafts, but we get together to create something. We also just had a collaboration with Galerie Perrotin open in Seoul.
Can you explain how the MEUFS project came about?
MEUFS is a collection of photos of the women I’ve shot around the world from 2008 to now. “Meuf” is French slang for “girl.” I have fun finalizing which images or moments represent who I am because as an artist it is never easy to allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to put your heart and soul out there. I create to please or question the audience. Either the [subject] is its own beauty or I play around with perspective and with the body. With the installation I wanted to curate and improv for each gallery space to keep the shows more unique and special.
What was the most challenging part when you were first starting your career?
I thought Instagram was a platform to use film aesthetic filters on your photos. This was against everything I believe in. My friends kept on nagging me about why I’m not on Instagram and told me it’s more of a social network to share and that I can post without a filter. I was working with a streetwear store in Paris and I had just recently joined Instagram. My boss told me he couldn’t follow me because I wasn’t “popping” on it. It was the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard, so I said fuck that.