Youngkyu “The Kyu” Ahn is probably my favourite menswear photographer in Australia right now.
Unlike most Instagrammers, The Kyu prefers shooting stylish people instead of the clothes they wear. He has a discerning eye, and in classic menswear where everybody rocks the same thing, this is a crucial quality. To the average fashionisto, his photos are uninspiring – maybe even boring. This is partly because they are often unedited, underexposed and mostly feature guys in grey or navy suits. But to the expert they offer penetrating insights into the intangibles of style, the things that no menswear blog can teach you.
His distinct point of view can be attributed to his status as a guy with one foot inside the fashion industry and the other outside it. His sister is the founder of Korean shirting atelier Steady State and he has worked closely with Joe Ha, the proprietor of The Finery Company. When it comes to photography, however, he is completely self-taught. He doesn’t fawn over the likes of Weber, Leibovitz or Avedon, and he even finds Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia disappointing.
The Kyu’s casual attitude toward fashion is reflected in his photos which have a journalistic quality. He rarely asks his subjects to pose as he prefers to capture them safari style. And even when he does he is surprisingly curt. “Stand here.” “Look here.” “Walk there.” And then he takes the photo. No spectacle. No filter. No bullshit.
“The subject is 90%,” he declares. It’s a simple philosophy but one that explains his selfless approach to photography. When he clicks the shutter, The Kyu wants us to forget he’s there. What’s important to him is that we appreciate the person in frame: stylish, natural, unpretentious.
Much like the man behind the lens.
Check out a couple of his favourite photos below: