"[my biggest fear] is falling into the trap of “I can’t” or “too scared” and getting so worried about what other people will think. "
This interview with Seung-woo Hong aka Suggie is photo heavy because he is an incredible creative genius who takes the most epic photos and videos. We ask Suggie about his upbringing in the beautiful town of Nelson, his inspirations and what beauty means to him.
congrats on the best baby photo ever
where did your nickname suggie come from?
I got the name when I was 12. So I was Year 8 in Intermediate. I went to an all boys school and we had an all girls school as our sister school who we hung out with. The group of girls I was friends with just told me one day that they called me “Suggie.” And that was it. I wish there was this exciting origin story but that was really it.
I guess my actual name was probably hard to pronounce and to remember. The nickname died throughout high school and then I brought it back when I went to university. We had name tags on our first day in our hall of residence. No one could read or say my name, so I took the name tag off and introduced myself as “Suggie.” Been calling myself that ever since.
Suggie taking snaps
how old are you?
where did you grow up and what was it like?
I grew up in Nelson. I remember thinking that Nelson was such a boring place to grow up in. At the time I remember we thought there was nothing to do and we always did the same thing; go to the beach, the river, or just walk around town. The typical thing I always did with my friends was play some tennis or football, head into town and have lunch at Subway, spend about two hours squatting there, and then head to one of the boy's house since he had a pool.
It just felt very routine and just doing the same thing over and over again. But I think overall it was such a chill place. Quiet with not a whole lot going on. Because it was a small town you kind of knew everyone and it was a lot of fun always bumping into family, friends and friends of friends. It never got stressful, it was easy to get around. I think it’s only after all the travelling I’ve done over the last few years that I am really appreciating Nelson and the small community vibes you get.
All the activities that I listed and used to do sounds so awesome right now to me! Wish I fully knew how lucky we had it at the time. I’m realising there’s actually a lot of things to do. So many great treks, mountains, swimming spots - it’s quite an amazing place! So grateful that my parents decided to move there. Overall it was nice and simple growing up there.
when you were a little boy, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I remember at one stage I wanted to be a singer. Grandad used to always send us VHS tapes of all these live shows of famous Korean artists at the time and my sister and I used to dance and lipsync to it. That obviously didn’t come to fruition since I can’t sing to save my life...I’m terrible! I think there was one stage as well that I wanted to be a rugby player. Growing up in New Zealand I think every child wanted to be one at some stage, haha.
"Drone shot of bridge was taken at the Bridge to Nowhere site along the Whanganui River. There was over 20 of us doing the three-day kayak - it sure was an epic weekend!"
what's your favourite thing to do?
I love going to the movies! I love going to watch something on the big screen in complete darkness and get taken on this journey and brought into that movies' world for two hours. I love being moved by a story and also it does get me inspired when it comes to creating my own videos. I love going with friends so you can always have a good discussion or debate afterwards over a drink.
"One of my favourite office views - one of the many cool accommodations we stayed at during an Asia Tour with American DJ group Cheat Codes."
what does your day look like in 10 words?
Sitting in front of a screen editing or out filming.
what piece of work are you the proudest of?
There are a few videos that I’ve created that I’m very stoked about but I think the one that is sticking out for me right now is the recent video I did “New York, I Love You.” It was a video I made where I went around New York City and asked the locals “What do you love about New York?” and got some amazing answers. I think I was proud of this one because it’s one of the few videos I set out to make that turned out the way I envisioned it (even to a point it was better than what I imagined). I thought it was a good balance of awesome scenic shots with authentic raw moments that still gives me the chills each time I watch it. I think it helps as well that I’m just in love with the city too.
what is something people may not know about you?
My right arm sticks out by the elbow 18 degrees more than normal when I straighten it. This is because I broke my arm when I was 6 and the surgeons couldn’t quite put it back in place properly.
what inspired you to live the life you are right now?
I’m not too sure if there was a particular inspiration, I think I just naturally fell into this type of life since that’s what I thought I had to do as a filmmaker - to freelance, build up a portfolio, do the jobs that pay the bills in order for you to chase and execute the big, passion project further down the track. Another thing maybe was because my parents also work for themselves so that’s just the path I went into. Also, just watching a lot of filmmakers and creators online probably got me excited to try and do my own storytelling as well. Something about having that option to not go down the traditional path and work at a production company etc and create your own thing was very exciting.
what are you most excited for right now?
I’m excited for this year in general! Have a couple of big awesome projects that I’m brewing up at the moment that could lead to some big things. Also planning on a Europe trip halfway through this year so I’m getting pumped to get the camera out and create a fun series out of that.
what is your biggest fear right now?
Having all these ideas that I want to execute but falling into the trap of “I can’t” or “too scared” and getting so worried about what other people will think. So, in general, falling into the trap of making excuses to not get out of my comfort zone and actually executing these ideas and plans I have.
If you could thank some people in your life right now, who would it be and why?
I want to thank everyone really in my life, friends and family. Just the constant support and encouragement to keep doing what I’m doing is just awesome. But also there are friends who I’m so grateful for as they are there and they create a space where I can be vulnerable and truly be honest. Overall I’ve always got to thank my Mum, Dad and older sister JJ - they’ve always been there from the start and still continue to just be there no matter what.
and of course, what does beauty mean to you?
Beauty to me is not about what’s on the surface. Beauty is whatever that resonates with you in a positive way, that moves you, inspires you and makes you feel full.
Our Ceo, Hannah and Suggie sipping wine in Blenheim.
wow thanks, suggie, you're a truly amazing human and we are excited to see what you create next.
find suggie here:
instagram handle: @suggiesspace
website: https: suggiesspace.com