When I was a kid, one of my first career ambitions after giving up on NASA and the Mars Mission (which never turned out happening anyway) was to be on the staff of National Geographic Magazine. Sam Abell started as a summer intern in 1967, and nicer still, he’s still around to talk about what that was like.
It appears that Lenscratch is a site I really ought to have been reading all along. It’s Fine Art Photography, and just as I’m discovering it, they have concluded ‘Korea Week,’ highlighting 5 South Korean photographers, all chosen and curated by Jye-ryong Min, a Korean photographer working in New York City.
Start with Shin Eunkyung’s examination of a pretty uniquely Korean sort of place, the wedding hall, and it’s part of a larger concern about imitational and artificially constructed spaces. Next, Yang Jae Kwang seems to want to tell stories, or repeat stories heard, in a couple of enigmatic series, one called ‘Nightswimming’ (whose characters are primarily children) and the other, ‘Urban Myth’ attempting to depict obscure narratives being shared in Seoul in 2010. Keum Hyewon’s ‘Urban Depth’ series documents a waste disposal site deep underground in the center of the city, and it is fascinating.
Like a lot of people, I’m intrigued by urban decay, the destruction of the old – either gradually through entropy or overnight via redevelopment. A room in an apartment that contained a universe of memories for its previous inhabitants becomes an indistinguishable bit of rubble when the wrecking ball arrives, but Jung Jihyun undertook an interesting project: he chose one room and part of a hallway and painted them bright red, thus marking one particular location.
His photographs of the demolition are entitled, ‘The Stain of the Existence that Remained a Red Dot.’ Song Suhong says:
The only traces of the past are the indiscernible scribbles on the old wall paper, the black smudged hand prints surrounding the door knobs, and ratty toothbrush abandoned on the floor. The discarded picture frames and toys thrown out with the trash, attest to life’s irregularities. Fungus grows on the flower wall paper plastered once dreaming of a bright future. The ceilings and walls where the wall paper was torn off can no longer hide the faded concrete peaking through shinning coldly like skin. The people who lived here and traces of the space that embraced them are all gone, transient.
Lim Soo-sik has constructed a lot of photographs of books on shelves, and I’ll confess freely that I really don’t know what’s going on with that. Jung Kang’s work is rather more interesting to me, portraiture that consciously sets out to break every ‘rule’ that is taught about how to take pictures of people – to give you an idea, one series is called ‘Portraits Without a Face.’
I’ve never been to South Africa, and after looking through these 50 Photos of Capetown, it’s barely possible that I might not have to. Do not succumb to scrolling-fatigue because some of the best shots are down near the bottom. My personal favorites are Number 18, Nelson Mandella’s cell, and Number 14, fog rolling over the city at night.
Here’s a picture of a hamburger. Actually two hamburgers, and fries. I took it. Then I ate it. The one in front, anyway. It was delicious. Gotta head over there again soon.