Travels & Perspectives by Stella Kim

We go away and travel because we have a place to come back to; and when we do come back, we come with new eyes and a wider spectrum of colours. Wherever we go becomes a part of us, and our stories set in different locales give us character. Traveling breathes fresh life into the present, and the new energy never goes unnoticed. 


--- August in Berlin

 
"What is the world like when it is experienced, developed and lived from the point of view of difference and not identity? That is what I believe love to be... [it] invents a different way of lasting in life... everyone's existence, when tested by love, confronts a new way of experiencing time." - Alain Badiou, In Praise of Love

"What is the world like when it is experienced, developed and lived from the point of view of difference and not identity? That is what I believe love to be... [it] invents a different way of lasting in life... everyone's existence, when tested by love, confronts a new way of experiencing time." - Alain Badiou, In Praise of Love

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--- September in Amsterdam

This fleeting moment, this bliss - I wish I could take it away in my pocket and retrieve it time and time again. If it was in a children's book, it would feel good to turn the page and see it.

This fleeting moment, this bliss - I wish I could take it away in my pocket and retrieve it time and time again. If it was in a children's book, it would feel good to turn the page and see it.

 

--- September in London

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” - Henri Nouwen

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” - Henri Nouwen

Relationships, to me, are what give value to life. 

 

A gentle reminder to appreciate what we've experienced, who we have, and what we will encounter in the future.

We lean forward to the next venture between us, as we stay youthful at heart, always.

 

**

All photos by Young Min Kim
http://www.ym-kim.com/

YM is a professional photographer and visionary with a Master’s in Photography from Pratt Institute, New York.  He currently resides in London, where he collaborates with various brands on (including, but not limited to) fashion and lifestyle projects. He often travels the continent to document the lives of individuals in their most intimate locales. He sees beauty in candid vulnerability, and he hopes that you and I learn to appreciate it together, too.

Follow his latest, here: http://instagram.com/youngminfoto

 

For my best friend, Jiwon.

Le Film Mag Interview: Stories by Stella Kim

A fun little project done with the newly launched Le Film Magazine.

I wanted to share my story for the first time and open up a larger discussion around inner beauty/confidence, while reflecting on my own learnings. 

I hope my feelings & sentiments come across in these short interviews... and I want you to know that you are never alone. 

A Sunday in New York


Short Pt. 1 - "New York"


Long Pt. 2 - "Everyone has a story to tell"

Maturing Sentiments by Stella Kim

Photo by Myoungsoo Lee

Photo by Myoungsoo Lee

As a teenager, I remember being very reserved and sparse with my words. I was never one to get too worked up or upset over anything that happened, and sometimes I had a difficult time expressing myself on a more personal level.

In my early 20s, I lived through a number of different, what I like to call, “learning experiences” at home and at school. I remember feeling so confused and lost in a rush of emotions that I wasn’t able to verbally express in real words. I tried my best to write them down hoping that one day the words might come together and manifest a personal testimony. Looking back at them now, most of my thoughts were around family and relationships. This was when my strongest feelings, opinions and triggers were being formed subconsciously.

Now in my mid-20s, I find myself living through a different set of obstacles. Career-related goals, personal development, health maintenance, etc. are what consume the majority of my mental capacity; but at the end of the day, everything winds down to the well-being and happiness of my immediate family. Family and relationships are what I most passionately talk about, laugh about, and cry most heart-achingly about.

**

As I grow older, I feel that it gets harder to stand emotionally aloof in certain situations; I find myself sharing stories and sentiments, empathizing and sympathizing with people’s experiences in life, the good and the bad. I’ve also realized that the things that make me get attached to people, laugh about and cry about with them have changed over time.

Perhaps this is because, as we age together, tears become something shared whether the causative factors pertain to another’s life or your own. And we have the security of knowing that whoever you may look to for a shoulder to lean on, she will cry with you knowingly – knowing that life’s indelible experiences bring you both to a point of cultivated, matured and shared sentiments. Then and there, beneath the flux of other desires, you find what you’ve been looking for, listening for and wanting to know of. The faint echo becomes manifest and doesn’t die away, but swells into the sound itself; what you feel is tremendously quiet and gentle, but compelling. All of life’s individual experiences come together, complement one another, and ultimately impart one sentiment: unconditional love. It’s what we cry about with no inhibitions – heart-achingly, warmly, happily.

I think the things that trigger tears are indications of how we’ve lived our lives thus far and what is most important to us. I also think that they, in one form or another, indicate our acquired wisdom as individuals; whether that’s wisdom about life, family, hardships, or about one’s self –

- and I personally find that very encouraging.

 

ps, 가끔 눈시울이 붉어진다면 꾹 참지 말고 그냥 아낌없이 눈물을 흘리세요 – 나에게 가장 진실된 감정들이 무엇이고, 가장 귀한 사람이 누구인지 증명해주는 순간들이기도 하니까. 

Walking Together by Stella Kim

Washington Square Park, fall afternoon

Washington Square Park, fall afternoon

One night this past weekend, we went to the Kimmel Center at NYU and sat to the side of a long set of stairs looking out the main glass doors to Washington Square Park, wondering. It was raining, and the monument was lit, providing the only source of light over the strangely vacant park. We decided to sit and wait for the rain clouds to dissipate.

**

I thought to myself: I never appreciated, until much later, the opportunities and excitement the city had to offer, largely because I was sick and didn't have any remaining energy beyond my studies to socialize and explore. I spent one of total five years as a university student abroad in Korea recovering from a number of health issues that deterred me, not only in furthering my academic studies, but also in living my life. 

And yet I'm sure that every alumnus feels the same way about those years... and it's okay. It's normal to have that lingering thought about how "I could have..." or "I should have...”
I strongly believe that dwelling in the past is not a problem. It keeps us grounded and wary of possible shortcomings. It keeps us grateful and humble at the same time.

**

Nighttime walks are quiet, peaceful, and, for me, reflective. I would deliberately make the long trip downtown to sit in the park, hoping subconsciously that I would pick up the parts of life I had left behind there, in an attempt to mend the voids and blanks in my story. Each visit was like reading through an old book with previous comments scribed in the margins and creases on the edges of certain pages - I never entirely remember what these notes meant at the time, but each interpretation thereafter complements every preceding notion, and I would slowly fill in the blanks from there.

This time, though, walking, sitting, and wondering together made a world of difference. There comes a point when none of those ambiguous details seem to matter anymore, and you feel so peculiarly liberated from… well, yourself.
 

A warm, close mood took hold as we talked and shared, 
and I found myself wishing that the rain would keep on falling. 

 

On Scents by Stella Kim

Scents play such significant roles in memories. They are immediate attention-grabbers that turn heads in curious attachment (or detachment), and are also powerful mood-shifters that so easily sway us into a realm of nostalgic contemplation.

My father and I have lived apart ever since I was 4 years old. When I was much younger, he would come to the States to visit every now and then; and when he left, it would feel as if I had woken up to, what seemed to be, an extension of a sad dream. I think this was when I developed an inclination to suppress elated, happier feelings, because I knew that those moments would sooner or later come to an end.

**

He wore Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Eau de Toilette for the longest time. He was also a smoker. My perception of a fatherly figure / masculinity has largely to do with the mixed scent of cologne and cigarettes. This strong fusion of scents would linger in the house for days, and I vaguely remember falling asleep easier with his pillow in my arms, face snugged into the worn softness of the fabric.

This became his scent, and it still is to this day. 

Mine are Diptyque Eau Duelle Eau de Toilette / Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay Cologne, and have been for years now. Whether it’s family, friends, lovers present and past, I want to be remembered and thought of wherever life takes them - not for the person that I am, but the occasions and pleasant words we have (or had) shared.

Because there is a strange power in these scents that are redolent of those memories when...