Whitehot Magazine

April 2011: Interview with Sandy Kim

Sandy Kim, 2011

Interview with Sandy Kim

Something sets Sandy Kim apart from the legions of snapshot photographers in pursuit of a Nan Goldin aesthetic. Perhaps it’s her aesthetic bravery – her gritty “no boundaries” approach. Or perhaps it’s the refreshingly casual humor. Or maybe it’s the slivers of wonder and excitement that gleam through from behind a carefree (or careless) aesthetic. In any case, she has a knack for finding the perfect moment of intimacy, awkwardness, and even mundanity. Her photographs tell stories that can’t be verbalized, or perhaps don’t need to be. Kim opens her life and her relationships to voyeursism without hesitation, hammering the obscene, the absurd and the beautiful together into one image that will burn into your imagination.

Waverly Rose Mandel: When did you start posting your photos online? Was there ever a “what will Mom & Dad think” moment, or a time when you worried about the repercussions of exposing such personal moments online?

Sandy Kim: My friend Bryan Derballa made me a blog on lovebryan.com in 2006 when I had no idea what I was doing. I wasn't even taking good pictures. I'm not even really sure why he added me to his blog, but it gave me a reason to start shooting my daily life. At first I didn't think my mom and dad would find my photos so I didn't give a shit, but now times have changed.

Mandel: Did your photography change after meeting Girls?

Kim: Yes. It also changed after I met Colby.

Mandel: Colby seems to be your muse. How does this public documentation of your relationship change things between you?

Kim: It doesn't change anything. We're the same person, so we understand each other and really don't give a fuck.

Mandel: You’ve cited love as one of your greatest inspirations, but blood is a huge theme within your work. How do these two things go together?

Kim: You can only be in love if you're alive and you only bleed when you're living.

Mandel: Is there a separation between your life as portrayed by your “visual diary” and what happens when the camera isn’t around?

Kim: A whole lotta bad things I shouldn’t be taking pictures of or a whole lotta nothing.

Mandel: People seem to have very strong reactions to your work – some hate it, some love it. How do you take criticism?

Kim: Tibor Kilman said, "When you make something no one hates, no one loves it.” Criticism only makes you stronger. I would hate it if everyone loved my work, it wasn't meant for anyone to love in the first place.

Mandel: What’s it like living in Brooklyn so far? Was the west-to-east transition smooth?

Kim: It’s sucking right now because it's so damn cold. The only time to live in New York is the summer, I think.
Mandel: What direction do you see yourself going in next?

Kim: The future is very blurry at the moment. Im working on focusing it.

Mandel: You seem to have an affinity for being naked in unusual spots, like subways and refrigerators. Ever gotten in trouble for exhibitionism?

Kim: No, because I'm fast.
Mandel: How was producing your first book? Are you working on any other projects at the moment?

Kim: I’m working on a new series with Colby. I'm really excited about it.

Sandy Kim, 2011

Sandy Kim, 2011

Sandy Kim, 2011

Waverly Rose Mandel

Waverly Rose Mandel is a writer/photographer living in Berlin. She likes Dr. Seuss, Regina Spektor and Sunday brunch.

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