There are masters of photography like Ansel Adams, Helmut Newton, and Robert Frank whose work are timeless no matter how much landscapes change, trends move forward, or people age. In street culture—from graffiti to hip-hop to style—Martha Cooper, Jonathan Mannion, and Jamel Shabazz are praised beyond their skills and breaking down boundaries in image-making for these subcultures; rather, their work stands out in its ability to capture in a moment, the feeling of a cultural movement. Whether the subject is graffiti writers in New York, an iconic album cover portrait, or the coolness of of a b-boy stance, their photographs move beyond that study. These images become visual artifacts that activate your senses to relate through feeling. You can smell the fresh spray paint. You can hear Jay-Z. You can feel the pace of the streets. They become representative of something beyond its subject, time, and place. What’s left is how time was stopped and how you’re experiencing the photograph now.
Christina Paik is a modern film photographer whose work plays in a similar way. No matter how much skill she technically has, or her distinct eye in portrait shooting, she places faith in the now—when things magically align from the sitter, styling, light, or location in order to cohesively work together and capture the shot. As her name and CP brand grows, she’s worked with industry names like OFF-WHITE, A$AP Mob, Kith, Stussy, and more recently, The Hundreds. When you look through her portfolio, you won’t find a list of clients or an inventory of brands; instead, each portrait is titled with the name of her subject and location they are from. Frame by frame, there’s a resonance of human attitude that eclipses style, product, and the brands that have commissioned her work.