Editor’s Showcase: Byung Hyuk Jung

Title: 대한미국인 American Korean

2017년 1월 21일, 언제부터인가 박근혜 대통령 탄핵 촛불의 맞불집회로 서울 종로구 덕수궁 대한문 앞에선 ‘대통령 탄핵기각을 위한 국민총궐기운동본부(탄기국)’ 회원들이 태극기 집회라는 명목으로 맞불집회를 열었다.

말로는 애국보수, 보수집단, 국가를 살리러 나왔다는 명목하에 노인들을 위주로 구성된 박사모 등 으로 구성되어있다고 한다. 언론의 증언에 의하면 태극기 집회에 참가하면, 목욕을 하고 깔끔한 모습으로 나오면 5만 원, 유모차를 끌고 나오면 15만 원을 받는다고 보도되어왔다.

명칭은 ‘애국 태극기 집회’라고 하였다. 그들의 외침에는 우리 각하가 살아야한다, 빨갱이들은 물러가라, 너 어디 기자야 라는 말이 유행어처럼 번졌다. 그곳은 더이상 정상적인 사고가 돌아가는 곳이라고 생각되지 않았다. 대통령이 신격화된 공간, 그곳이 태극기 집회였다.

그런데 여기서 의문이 있다. 그러나 그들의 손에는 태극기와 성조기 2개의 국가의 깃발이 들려있다. 왜일까. 일장기도 아닌, 인민기, 오성홍기도 아닌 왜 성조기였을까. 의문이 생겼다. 성조기 뿐만 아니라 미국 45대 대선 당선자인 도날드 트럼프 사진도 집회 참가자들 손에 들려져 있다. 그들은 대한민국이 미국의 속국이라고 생각하는 것일까, 미국의 또 다른 주(states)라고 생각하는 것일까. 이 나라는 더 이상 글러 먹었으니 미국 국민이 되고 싶은 생각이었을까? 자신들이 신격화한 대통령을 살려달라고 미국이라는 강국에 애원을 하는 것 처럼 보였다. 그것은 마치 어린 아이가 부모에게 내 상황이 이러하니 도와주라고 떼를 쓰는 것과 흡사했다.

작업은 태극기와 성조기가 어떤 상관관계가 있는지 질문을 던진다. 새로운 것이나 변화를 적극적으로 받아들이기보다는 전통적인 것을 옹호하며 유지하려 한다는 뜻의 보수라는 이름을 걸고 박근혜 대통령을 구하려고 모인 집단의 손에 들려 있던 성조기는 더이상 대한민국 국민을 포기한, 그렇다고 미국 국민도 아닌 애매모호한게 낀 “대한미국인”이라고 생각했다.

참가자들은 언론과의 인터뷰에서 성조기를 든 목적은 우방국가라서 들었다고 말했다.

On January 21, 2017, members of the National People’s Solidarity Movement for Rejecting the President’s Impeachment in front of the Deokguk Palace in Jongno-gu, Seoul, opened a rally in the name of Taegeukgi.

In word they consisted of patriots, conservative groups, and the elderly who came out in order to save the nation. But, according to the media, those participating in the Taegeukgi rallies were reported to have received 50,000 won for showing up in a clean state, and 150,000 won if they pulled a stroller.

Their title was the ‘Patriotic Taegeukgi Rally’. They cried out chants such as, “We must save our leader” and “Communists go away.” “Who are you reporting for?” became a popular accusation against journalists. I did not think that there was a normal incident anywhere.

But here is the question. Why are there flags of two countries in their hands. Why? That is the question I have. It’s not only flags, but pictures of Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, which were held in the hands of participants. Do they think Korea is a tributary state, or another state of the United States? Did they want this country to become part of America? It seemed as if they were begging the United States of America to save their president whom they worshiped.The situation was akin to a child complaining about their situation and asking their parents for help.

Their work questions the correlation between the national flag and the American flag. In the hands of the group gathered to save Park Geun-hye, under the name of the conservatives, which means to defend and preserve the traditional, rather than actively accepting new things or changes, their flags don’t represent Koreans or Americans, but in my mind “American Korean.”

In interviews with the press, participants said that the purpose of the flags were to be a friendly country.

Bio: 정병혁, 정희망이라고도 부릅니다. 대한민국 경기도 부천에 살고있고, 중부대학교 사진영상학과 4학년에 재학중이고, 사진기자를 목표로 공부하고 있습니다.

고등학생 때 따로 사진을 배우지 않았고. 그냥 어려서부터 부모님과 함께, 또 의도치 않게 주변에서 집회, 시위, 정당활동, 사회가 돌아가는 현상들을 많이 보고 경험해볼 수 있었습니다. 2008년 광우병 집회가 일어나면서 참가자로 있을 때, 단상에 모여있는 사진기자들이 뭔가 멋있어 보였습니다.. 그게 사진을 시작하게 된 계기였다. “나 역시 저 위치에 서서 이런 현상을 기록하겠다”라고 생각했고, 저 사람들은 뭘 기록하고 뭘 보고 있을까라는 것이 가장 궁금한 이유였습니다.

I am known as Jung Byung Hyuk as well as Jung Hee Mang. I live in Bucheon, Gyeonggi-do, Korea, and I am in my fourth year studying photography at Joongbu University and aiming to become a photographer.

I did not study photography separately when I was in high school. I was able to experience a lot of events such as rallies, protests, and other political activities while around my parents during my youth. When I was a participant in the 2008 mad cow rally, I saw the photographers gathered on the podium and thought they looked cool. That was when I began an interest in photography. I thought “I would also like to stand in that position and record this phenomenon,” and I was curious to know what they were recording and what they were looking at.

You can follow more of Jung Byung Hyuk’s work here.

Editor’s Showcase: Inhwa Park

Title: 연인들 (The Lovers)

한국 사회에서, 젊은 연인들이 공공장소에서 거리낌 없이 애정표현을 할 수 있게 된 것은 그리 얼마 되지 않았다. 사실 아직까지도, 대낮에 사람들이 많은 곳이나 어르신들 앞에서의 애정표현은 ‘예의 없는 짓’으로 여겨지곤 한다.

그러나 해가 진 거리를 젊은이들이 메우기 시작하면, 연인들의 애정표현은 거침없어진다. 예전 세대와는 다르게 자신의 감정에 솔직할 줄 알며 직설적으로 표현할 줄 아는 젊은 세대의 존재감을 온몸으로 표현하는 듯하다.

때문에 주로 막차시간이 가까운 늦은 시간, 서울과 수원의 거리에서 촬영한 젊은 연인들의 이미지를 통해 사랑을 둘러싼 여러 가지 감정들, 그리고 나아가 우리 세대의 단면을 표현하고자 하였다.

In Korean society, young lovers have not been able to express their affection in public places. In fact, the expression of affection in places where there are many people in the daytime and in front of elderly people is still regarded as “disgraceful.”

However, when young people start to fill the sunny streets, lovers’ expressions of affection appear. Unlike the previous generation, it seems it’s the young generation who knows how to be honest with their feelings and expresses them directly.

Therefore, I wanted to express various emotions surrounding love through the images of young lovers photographed in the streets of Seoul and Suwon.

Bio: 박인화는 1990년 수원에서 태어났다. 단국대학교 공연영화학부(Dept of Theater & Film)에서 영화 연출을 전공했으나 졸업 후 2년 동안 백수로 지내면서, ‘남들은 도대체 어떻게 사는지’ 관찰하기 위해 거리 사진을 찍기 시작했다. 3편의 단편영화를 연출했으며, 단편영화 <기생(Parasite)>은 제9회 서울세계단편영화제(Seoul World Short Film & Video Festival) 에서 입선했다. 현재에는 <연인들> 연작을 비롯한 거리 사진과 영화 작업을 이어가고 있다.

Park Inhwa was born in Suwon in 1990. He majored in film directing at Dankook University’s Department of Theater & Film, but spent two years as a jobless man after graduating, and began taking street pictures to observe how ‘others live’. He directed three short films. The short film, Parasite, was selected at the 9th Seoul World Short Film & Video Festival. Currently, he continues to work on street photography and film, including the series “Lovers.”

To see more of Inhwa Park’s works, you can follow him on Instagram.






Editor’s Showcase: Yolanta Siu

With Yeoncheon-proper behind him, Han looks out onto the Imjin River, where he used to play as a child.

Title: Grown in Korea

“The nail that sticks out gets hammered down” is an idiom that so aptly encapsulates Korea’s mentality of conformity in which people are expected to be unique enough so as to garner praise but not so much as to be overly exceptional. Cooperating in this group-think is not a suggestion but a requirement for participating in society. Those who refuse are cast aside as outsiders. Although most still fear being ostracised or the instability that comes with an uncharted path, each year, tens of thousands of South Koreans in their 40s to 60s reject these expectations imposed upon them. More often than not, they turn to farming—a profession that evokes shame for many older Koreans but is the hope of younger generations seeking to regain their agency.

 

Han’s home is surrounded by fields of perilla and chilli peppers—only some of it is owned by him. Like most farmers, his land is divided into several parcels, all scattered throughout town.

The first wave of “return to the land” farmers were born around the 1960s, a tumultuous time in which modernization uprooted Korean society as it had been known. The majority of Koreans up until that point in time were farmers, but with new economic opportunities on the horizon, the parents of that generation pushed their children to focus on education in hopes that they could later find work in an urban area and lives life easier than that of a farmer’s. These children grew up toiling in the fields from before the sun rose until school opened for session. They were expected to climb the social and economic ladder not only for themselves but also for the family’s prestige.

After graduating university, children of that generation moved to urban areas and held stable jobs in large companies. Despite following their parents’ every wish, they were not living the comfortable life that had been promised if they managed to escape the fields. They had economic stability but as they travelled abroad, developed health issues, or had children of their own, they began to question what necessitated a fulfilling life. In their search for answers, they decided to reject the premise that happiness could be measured by the goods they owned or titles they held and sought to live a simple life away from society’s materialism.

From large cities like Seoul or Daejeon, these urbanites “returned” to anywhere they could hold land of their own. They relocated as far north as the Civilian Control Line to as far south as Jeju Island. In the eyes of many parents, the decision to farm was a waste of the family’s efforts. Contrary to the pitiable image of farmers, these farmers spent their 20s to 40s living seemingly-enviable lives in the city. Those peering in judged these “return to the land” farmers as cowards who were shirking away from the difficulties of their lives, but despite its outward simplicity, life in the countryside included its own set of burdens.

Farming is not only physically taxing but also mentally exhausting. For their constant work, farmers are fortunate if they manage to earn 30,000USD in a year—a pittance considering the hours and physical labour involved. Not only are they barely able to scrape by with their earnings, their roles as producers and protectors of Korean culture are ignored as physical labour is seen as the antithesis of progress. “Return to the land” farmers are not only dismissed by urbanites but also discriminated against by local farmers, who view them as selfish and entitled. The prejudice is doubly so for women, who are usually seen as accompaniments to their husbands and therefore rarely equally respected or have their femininity questioned should they choose to farm on their own. Despite the many hardships, most of these pioneering farmers who survived the initial first two to three years have now lived in the countryside for almost two decades.

In the same way that lifelong urbanites possess a glowingly idealized vision of life in the countryside, the parents of these “return to the land” farmers blindingly worshipped all that was modern. Their parents did not see underneath the glamour of the city the long working hours, the high living cost, and the rampant consumer culture that gave life a different set of complications. Having lived in both the city and the countryside, these farmers grasped that every lifestyle has its own hardships. They did not choose to live as a farmer because they believed that their lives would be free of concerns, but because it was only by living off the land that they could have true wealth: a life in which the hardships bring joy rather than the means by which to purchase distractions. Although their bodies become sore from squatting to sow and to weed and their wallets remain relatively empty, they have time and space to enjoy the beauty in their daily lives

“I dislike the term ‘Hell Joseon’,” Farmer Park Jeong-seon once told me, “[because] there is no Hell unless we make it so.” By freeing themselves of the restraints of an era that did not belong to them, they found a way of life in which they could thrive as themselves. Although each farmer took their own path to return to the land, the lesson they learned has been the same: contentment with oneself cannot be found by following society’s rules or be given by one’s parents but must be cultivated through one’s own sincere actions.

Bio: Yolanta C. Siu is a documentary photographer and visual journalist from the United States who writes primarily about urbanism and food politics. Since 2014, she has been working alongside “return to the land” farmers and recording their life stories and practices.

To see more of Yolanta Siu’s works, you can visit her website.

Editor’s Showcase: Dr. Dirk Schlottmann

Title: Spirit Contact – 접신

The photos of the exhibition “spirit contact – 접신“ show Korean shamans of the Hwanghaedo tradition in liminal moments. Liminal moments are periods in which they experience ecstasy and trance because they seek contact with spiritual entities or are incorporated by gods, spirits or ancestors. They are in an intermediate position “betwixt and between” that is very difficult to describe and as a matter of fact is experienced in a manifold of ways.

The power of visualization seems to help where words fail. So my photos show shamans, when they experience intense moments of altered states of consciousness during rituals. My vision is using photography to express something otherwise invisible.

이번 전시회 “접신”의 사진들은 황해도 전통을 이어받은 한국 무당들의 리미널리티적 순간을 보여준다. 리미널리티적 순간이란 무당들이 영적 존재들과 접촉을 꾀하거나 신, 정신 또는 조상들을 자신의 몸으로 받아들임으로써 경험하는 엑스터시와 황홀경의 순간을 말한다. 무당들은 이때 이도저도 아닌 중간적 위치에 놓이게 되는데, 이를 설명하기는 매우 어려우며 실제로 굉장히 다양한 방식으로 나타난다. 언어로 설명이 불가능할 때 시각화가 힘을 발휘한다. 나의 사진들은 무당들이 제의를 치르는 중에 의식의 변용 상태를 경험하는 강렬한 순간들을 담아낸다. 나의 목적은 다른 방식으로는 보이지 않는 것을 사진을 사용하여 표현하는 데에 있다.

Bio: Dr. Dirk Schlottmann is an Ethnologist, Visual Anthropologist and Photographer. After living, working and researching for 10 years in Korea at several universities, he currently lives in Berlin, where he founded the Institute for Korean Shamanism.

Dr. Dirk Schlottmann has conducted fieldwork and research in South Korea, Thailand, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Germany. His interests range from the very specific investigation of spirituality in East Asia and ritual theory, to researching cultural development and change in modernity. The photographic work circles around Asian spirituality, religious culture and altered states of consciousness (trance, ecstasy and spirit possession) and centers essentially on the relation between man and the sacred. “Korean Shamanism” is a long term project since the beginning of the Millennium. The goal of the project is to give an impression of ecstatic rituals, ceremonies with elements of trance and shamanic practices.

His doctoral thesis on Korean shamanism is, in German-speaking countries, regarded as a standard work on modern Korean shamanism.

You can see more of Dr. Dirk Schlottmann’s work at his website Photoanthropos.






Korea Photo Review’s First Issue and Exhibition

On August 6th, 2017, Korea Photo Review was proud to officially launch our first quarterly issue and exhibition celebrating the works of 17 talented photographers. Needless to say, the Korea Photo Review: Exhibition and Launch was a big success! Many people came out to see the works and support the artists. We sold many copies of our magazine, sold about 10 prints by the end of the event (100% of which goes to the artists,) and most important of all, we heard from you – the local community that there is an interest in a publication dedicated to promoting the works of photographers making stories about Korea.

We want to thank the host and staff at G-15 Sonnendeck for opening up their beautiful space to us, everyone who participated in the creation of our magazine and helped us throughout the event, and those who came out to spend their Sunday afternoon with us.

We would also like to thank once again, all the photographers who placed their trust in us to share their important stories: Ed Jones, Dotan Saguy, Joseph Chung, Hon Hoang, Minjin Kang, Mijoo Kim, Yangbantal, Jackson Hung, Ken Shin, Wynsum Foreman, Ali Safavi, Michael Kennedy, AC Parsons, Edward Rivera, 황준희, Eugene Lee, and Lidija Baard.

We still have a few copies of our August issue available for purchase for 12,000 won + 2,000 won shipping in Korea. You can send us a message on facebook to purchase your copy!

 

 

Editor’s Showcase: Minjin Kang

Title: Hidden Landscape

한국은 아시아에서는 4번째, 세계적으로 11번째로 큰 경제 규모를 가지고 있는 국가다. 빠른 속도로 근대화를 이룩하고 경제적 기반을 잡은 반면 그에 따른 양극화 현상도 큰 나라가 바로 한국이다.나 역시도 한국, 그리고 ‘서울’의 변화가 놀랍다. 일 년에 한 번 귀국할 때마다 낡은 건물이 고층 빌딩으로 바뀌 어져 있고 사람들의 옷차림 등을 통해 유행이 빠르게 변화하고 있다는 것을 발견하는데, 그 이면에 숨겨진 외로 움과 고독한 풍경도 마주하게 된다.“Hidden Landscape” 프로젝트는 우리가 일상에서 놓치고 있는 부분에 대한 물음에서 시작됐다. 어쩌면 익 숙해셔버려 자각하지 못하는 우리의 감정- 슬픔, 우울함 을 깨닫게 하는 것이 작업의 출발선이었다. 오랜 시간 서울에 살았고, ‘제 3자’가 된 나의 시선으로 서울의 ‘삶’과 ‘시간’, 그리고 단상을 사진으로 담았다.

As a photographer, I trace absence in all its manifestations to capture the various aspects of isolation and loneliness in human life. I’m keenly interested in human beings, their environment, and the tension that exists between the presence and absence of human’s life.

The economy of South Korea is the 4th largest economy in Asia and the 11th largest in the world and famous for its spectacular growth from one of the poorest countries to an advanced, high-income nation in just a single generation. It remains today one of the fastest growing developed countries in the world. I’ve learned that in fast growing developed countries, there is always a serious gap between the rich and the poor. I live in New York, but I visit S. Korea once each year. Every time I return, I am surprised by the sudden changes I see. Seoul surprises me with its changed trends and the destruction of historical buildings to create new trendy buildings. The gap between rich and poor is growing ever worse.

Here, I try to capture the details of that hierarchy the feelings of loneliness and isolation in Seoul. I explore the material choices we make in our lives and how those choices determine who we are. I always been interested in the environment we live in and how we create it and how our environment shows the world our true face. This project thus asks whether you know where you live and how it looks. Because I visit my hometown only once in a while, I notice these changes quickly. However, I don’t believe the people who live there see them the same way. I believe that photography has its own unique language, and indeed these photographs are an invitation for you to see and consider the unseen in life.

Bio: Minjin Kang is a contemporary photographic artist based in Brooklyn, NY. She moved to the United States in 2008 where she received her BFA at School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2011). In 2014, she acquired her MFA at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her work has been exhibited in the U.S nationally and internationally such as Asia contemporary Art Show in Hong Kong, Arpny and bcs gallery in NYC, and Aqua Art Miami in FL.

Website     Instagram

Editor’s Showcase: 양반탈 Yangbantal

‘양반탈’은 정부 프로파간다를 만드는 것에 지칠 대로 지친 익명의 공무원이다. 2010년 어느 날, 그는 양반탈을 쓰고 건설 현장에서 사진을 찍었다. 나중에 사진을 되돌아보며 그는 더 깊은 의미를 발견하게 되었다. 본래 하회마을의 농민들은 풍년을 기원하는 탈놀이를 할 때 양반탈을 써서 지배계급인 양반들을 조롱하였다. 탈춤꾼들은 (턱이 분리된) 이 나무 탈들에 혼령이 깃들어있다고 말한다. ‘양반탈’은 양반탈에 정말로 혼령이 깃들어있는 진 모르겠지만, 어두운 곳에서 양반탈을 쓰고 있으면 혼자라는 생각은 들지 않는다.

Yangbantal is an anonymous photo project, started by a government employee seeking an escape from the doldrums of nationalistic propaganda. One day in 2010, he put on a mask and took selfies in a construction site, which on later examination seemed to present a deeper meaning. The yangban mask used comes from Hahoe Village in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province. Peasants there originally used the mask in ritualistic exorcism dances which lambasted the ruling class that made their lives miserable. Maskdance performers consider the highly expressive masks to possess their own spirits. The wearer of Yangbantal is unsure if this is true, and the spirit of the Yangbantal mask doubts whether its wearer possesses his own soul, but both see eye-to-eye when it comes to consuming actual spirits.

서울역고가 Seoul Station Overpass 201612
동대문디자인플라자 DDP 201011
홍대입구 근처 버려진 주유소 Abandoned Gas Station at Hongik University Station 201312
답십리동 Dapsimni 201011
송탄의 버려진 불교 사원 Abandoned Buddhist Temple Songtan 201203
버려진 대학 도서관 (장소 비공개) – Abandoned University Library (location undisclosed) 20161005
밤골마을 Bamgol Village 201703
인천의 폐부대 – 17 Infantry Division Army Base in Incheon 201307
금호동 Geumho 201110

Editor’s Showcase: Hon Hoang

Title: Youth Blood

Youth Blood is a collection of photographs about an older generation in Korea. It’s an outsider’s perspective of what it is like to be older. What role these people play in society, how they are perceived, their energy, and their ongoing contributions.

Bio:

Hon Hoang is a Vietnamese-American street, portrait, and event photographer currently based in South Korea. He was born in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, but grew up in Los Angeles, California. He began studying Photography shortly after graduating from UCLA where he studied Psychology. He sees Photography as a medium that answers questions, satisfies curiosity, and showcases the things that are often left unseen.

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Editor’s Showcase: Jackson Hung

Title: Bus Shelters of Chungcheongnam-do

Bus shelters. An ordinary everyday structure people take for granted. Some are made with traditional materials such as wood, bricks and mortar. Others are assembled together with prefabricated parts of glass and metal. On their own, they’re just man-made objects to keep people out of the elements. If one is damaged, another one will simply take its place. People never take a second look at them. Neither do they think of them as special. But they have a place in people’s subconscious; a sense of familiarity, a sense of origin, a sense of belonging. Bus shelters represent where you’re from; the starting point of your journey in the morning and the final destination in the evening. Bus shelters are a communal area. It’s a place where people come together to talk about their day, how their families are, and to share their happiness and sorrows. It also symbolizes the community where you grow up as a kid taking the bus to school and eventually to the outside world. Nevertheless, there is always that sense of belonging when you come back, the community where you grew up in, where you met new friends and said goodbye.

Bio: Jackson Hung is a freelance photographer based in Hong Kong. His work has been featured in the Toronto Urban Photography Festival, Seoul Photo & Imaging, PIK – Photographers in Korea magazine as well as an honorable mention in National Geographic Photo Contest 2015. He was also part of the jury for the Toronto Urban Photography Festival (TUPF) 2016.

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Asan
Boryeong
Buyeo
Cheonan
Cheongyang
Dangjin

You can see all the bus shelters from Jackson Hung’s project in the first issue of Korea Photo Review due out in JULY!

Editor’s Showcase: Joseph Chung

Title: Stand In Front of More Interesting People

To take better photographs, Jim Richardson the National Geographic photographer said, “Stand in front of more interesting stuff.” To me, the most interesting “stuff” about Korea are its people. So to take better photographs, I decided I needed to “stand in front of more interesting people.”

So I stood in front of college students climbing down from a rooftop at 2 A.M. in Hongdae. I stood in front of Christian anti-gay protestors performing ballet outside Seoul City Hall. I stood in front of cosplayers in Yangjae, and women in full body-paint from head-to-toe in Daegu. I stood in front of
countless people taking selfies, protestors crawling under buses, and police forming barricades during large protests. And I think I really made better photographs because of it.

Bio: My name is Joseph Chung and I’m a Korean-American street photographer based in Seoul, South Korea. While I was born in Seoul, I grew up in the Bronx borough of New York City and it was there my interest in photography began. In 2011, I returned to Seoul and became deeply interested in exploring aspects of the urban city and its inhabitants. Photography has a magical power to freeze time, and with my camera I hope to leave records worth seeing and remembering.

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