Our guest post this week is curated from the blog at Nerdy Sober Hipsters. It is an inspiring interview with sober photographer Phil Cho, and it features some of his spectacular shots (including the one above). You may read the original article here.
In gratitude, harmony, and support,
The Photography of Phil Cho
The world is full of sober people, doing amazing things! Today our spotlight is on Phil Cho, a Korean-American urban and landscape photographer based in LA/Orange County. His work focuses on capturing the stark grandeur of skyscrapers, man-made backdrops, and ocean views. In our interview, we get to chat with Phil about life, art, sobriety, and the feeling he gets from climbing to the top of a skyscraper.
NSH: Hi Phil! Please introduce yourself to our readers. What can we know about you?
Phil: Hello, I am a 29 year old Asian guy born in the city of Los Angeles, and raised in the Harbor Area/South bay region of Los Angeles County. I have a sobriety date of 7/23/2015. I like to think of myself as friendly, and comedic.
NSH: How did you get into landscape photography?
Phil: It just happened naturally. I used to enjoy travelling the coastline in my youth, going to different surf spots throughout Southern California, and exploring the inner-city of Los Angeles. I wanted to document my travels so I picked up a camera. Photography is just another tool for me to be creative and express myself.
NSH: You take lots of photos on top of very tall buildings. Walk us through your method.
Phil: Timing, luck, information, and determination all help. I enjoy the adrenaline rush of the whole process, from start to finish. Nothing’s guaranteed, and every spot is different. There’s some nervousness and anxiety that comes from the unknown, but it makes the payout that much better. The last few times, me and my friends just manifested it and said “We’re getting on top.”
NSH: What inspires you about cities?
Phil: I thrive off the energy of a big city. I think it’s the fact that I spent a good portion of my childhood in Los Angeles- I’ve become accustomed to the constant action. Now that I live in quiet Orange County, I find myself missing the excitement.
NSH: Do you have any future plans for your photography or other art?
Phil: I still have so much to learn. I got into photography just recently. Everything I know is from Youtube tutorials, asking other people and by trial and error. My plan is to travel internationally and continue to level up my photography/design game. All my past experiences have culminated to this point and help enhance the present. From looking at surf and skate magazines as a teenager, I learned what makes an interesting landscape and street image. From going to community college in my first year of sobriety for graphic design, I learned about composition and color theory, and how to use Adobe programs.
NSH: What has your sobriety been like? Has it changed your perspective on art or how you create?
Phil: I love sobriety. None of this would be possible without it. I lost myself and everything I was truly passionate about in my disease. I was a prisoner to drugs/alcohol for over 10 years. Now, I can fully appreciate this newfound freedom in life. I refuse to be on my deathbed and be full of regret, thinking that I just continued to chase material wealth and unhealthy relationships. The next chapter of my story is going to be full of excitement, enriching experiences and relationships, priceless memories.
NSH: Do you have any parting words for our readers?
Phil: Do what feels right.
Follow Phil Cho on Instagram.