Posts Tagged ‘ Asian photography ’

Interview with Dayoung Kang

강다영 Dayoung Kang was born in 1984 in Hong-Sung, Korea. She is majored in photography and has taken part in several exhibitions in European countries (Finland, Slovakia, Germany).


Picture from Condensed Memory

Could you please tell us shortly how you started taking photographs?

I’ll skip this question. It actually does not come to my mind.
(Two weeks later)
Ok, I’ve thought about my past for the last two weeks. I am still not very sure, but now I have a lover. There is a chance that I started taking photographs to meet this person. It’s so romantic. I’ve actually always been a romanticist.

Your work Swallow, talks about anonimity / identity. Why don’t you show people’s faces in your photographs?

I understand there are lots of words to describe how I photographed. Yet I did so just because I wanted to. I personally prefer quietness, but showing faces in pictures can be rather noisy. Covering people’s faces soothed myself and made it possible to tell more stories. I am one of those people who find the potential to tell more stories from invisible parts.


Picture from Swallow

The pictures in Swallow seem to be printed in fabric or seem to be a Polaroid transfer. I find the results really interesting and I think all our readers would like to know the way you work to get that effect in the post-processing. Could you please explain it to us?

I’m afraid to say that I once failed actually to paste emulsion on a Polaroid transfer and fabric. This work was digitally retouched after scanning the Korean traditional paper. I was attracted to the texture and tone wedge of the Korean traditional paper. Other than the Korean traditional paper, retouching any vintage-style paper would make a similar effect.

In your work Condensed memory there’s something mysterious, something unpredictable inside the everyday life. What moved you to take these pictures?

I’m focusing on the boundary, I mean, something ambiguous and anxious. Sometimes I feel pressure due to the hurt from a kind of relation or anxiety that I can’t define correctly. Actually, I believe it would be better if I just hide or run away. But everyone has something that can’t talk about, everyone has some memories in which they try not to think at all. So do I. I’m working under the theme, ‘anxiety’. Memories pull out them and make anxiety although time goes on.
My photographic act (l’acte photographique) is begun from them. The world in my eyes is not the mirror about reality, but the mirror about the anxiety I can’t define inside me. And I want to take photos from those mirrors. My thoughts may be impossible to communicate because that is a too private action. However, I work on an extension of the memories from the past now, and I hope to solve the answer about my anxiety not cognizable as the act of ‘taking’.


Diptych from Condensed Memory

Between 2009 and 2011 you took part in several art shows in some European countries. How was the experience?

Thanks to the German professor Walter Bergmoser, I could hold an exhibit in Europe with my Korean friends, which was an amazing experience. European galleries seemed more open to their visitors. Answering questions from people of different ages and cultures from mine was unfamiliar yet very inspiring.

Who is your reference in photography?

My reference in photography is all the people I’ve met so far. In fact, until recently, the biggest impact was from the ‘stone’ pile packed/plugged into a puddle (see picture below).


Picture from Condensed Memory

What do you think about Asian current photography?

Asian photographers are very progressive, unique and fresh. I’ve just started in photography—for less than 10 years until now—so it is not easy for me to read the flow of Asian photography. But many Asian artists are advanced to the world and staying in the center of focus. This proves the uniqueness of Asian contemporary photography.

Are you working on any project right now? If so, could you tell us something about it?

My new projects are Acne (A bud) and Travel alcohol (way to travel).

I got acne when I started to love. Something sprouting inside me rose with the ‘acne’. I love something that is gushing with an uncontrollable urge. I desire to hold something sprouting, whatever form it may have, in my work. Such work is in process now.
The Travel alcohol (way to travel) project is a story of someone—you and me—who loves to travel and drink. I have a plan to publish a small amount of pictures recorded when traveling with drinks.

a bud

Picture from A bud

Spanish translation

Interview with Yoshihiko Ueda

Yoshihiko Ueda was born in Hyogo (Japan) in 1957. Even though he’s a well-known advertising photographer in his country, he also has an original and vast personal work. He has published 28 collections of photographs and has received many awards including the Tokyo Art Directors Club Grand Prix, the New York Art Directors Club Photography Award and the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival Silver Prize for Graphic Design.


Picture from his advertising works in 1992

Your portfolio is rich and varied. We can find celebrities’ portraits, intimate family pictures and advertising photographs. How do you combine advertising photography with your personal projects? Are you focusing more on one of those at the moment?

It probably sounds a bit strange, but with respect to my personal projects, I feel that for me it’s all part of the single thread of my photographic practice. My focus these days is on photographs in the Materia series of my personal works. These images began from my photographing of forests, then moved on to rivers, and the sea, steadily changing form along the way.

You have mentioned that your photography was very influenced by Robert Mapplethorpe’s work. Could you tell us how was the experience of portraying him?

That’s such an old story now. I think it was when I was in my mid-20s. In those days many photographers were affected by the influence of Robert Mapplethorpe in one way or another. That’s how tremendously influential he was as a photographer. But now I’m already in my mid-50s, and if I have to say whether that influence is in my photography now, the answer would be no. I believe it was 27 years ago that I took his portrait. I was overjoyed. And it still seems like yesterday that he was standing there quietly in front of my camera, his limpid eyes looking directly into the lens.

robert mapplethorpe

Portrait of Robert Mapplethorpe, 1986.

In your photographic work we can find two projects located in forests: Quinault and Materia. “I do believe I photographed the forest as a ‘force’, something completely different than merely shooting scenery”. These words of you explaining how you felt when portraying the forest in Quinault, could be also useful to explain the way you felt for your project Materia?

I intend to carry on with my Materia project, which began with Quinault when I photographed the forest as a living thing, and continuing for more than 20 years. The word comes from Latin and refers to the energy from which life is born. Starting with forests, it has moved on to rivers and sea this year. But it hasn’t changed in the fundamental way that it is still seeking to discover and express in photography the original life force.


Picture from Quinault

After reading your statements on Amagatsu or Quinault, I have the sensation that many of your projects came to you led by some kind of inexplicable force, just as if you were destined to make them. Few photographers get that spiritual connection with their projects’ subjects. Could you tell us in what sense those feelings influence you when taking photographs?

Generally speaking I feel that it’s joy. And that joy arises from being able to stand before the world and open one’s heart and mind to the feelings of fear and happiness that people are exposed to when they come into contact with the unchanging, unbroken flow of that origin in physical form, that sublimity and beauty that words cannot express.


Picture from Materia

You’ve made few solo exhibitions in Europe and America, only two or three, is it right? Why do you think your work is not so known outside Japan? 

Yes, you’re right.

I don’t really know the reason my works aren’t so well known overseas. Perhaps one thing is that I haven’t got any partner strongly promoting my photographs around the world. And I haven’t been devoting my own energy to positive action to have my works seen overseas.

What do you think about Asian current photography?

I don’t actually look at other photographers’ work that much, so I don’t know much about contemporary photography in Asia.

Could you please tell us something about your next project?

As I said before, I’m continuing to take photographs for the Materia series. And I’m progressing with preparations for M.River and M.Sea to be exhibited in Tokyo this spring.

ShimaePicture from Shimae

Interview with Guan Zitian

管子天 Guan Zitian was born in a small village in the north of China, in 1978. Now he is a documentary director and freelance photographer based in Beijing. His artist’s statement is one of the few things we can find about him on the Internet:

Not for fortune nor for fame.
Shooting no beggars.
Shooting no handicapped.
Shooting no reluctant subjects.
Neither recording misfortune of life, nor violating the privacy of others.
Only reveling in an affection to nature and the sensations of life.

We can’t find much information about you on the Internet. Could you please tell us shortly how you started taking photographs? Did you study photography in school or on your own?

I think taking photos is a very personal thing. I refuse almost all the invitations of photography events and contests.

I was a bad student and I never went to university. Photography doesn’t require education, but it needs a sensitive and desired heart.

I wanted to take photos because I desired a camera. It was a luxury for our family to possess a camera, and during my whole childhood I had only taken two photos. Later I bought a small 4mega pixel digital camera, with which I shot people around me everyday. Eventually everybody said I was good at taking photos. At that time, I didn’t even know what a professional camera was.

Shooting no beggars. Shooting no handicapped. Shooting no reluctant subjects. Neither recording misfortune of life, nor violating the privacy of others.” We found these words on your Flickr page. Why did you decide not to portrait this part of the life that could be  “not so beautiful”?

Personally, I don’t want to be forced, neither do I desire to force others.

From bottom of my heart, I admire desperate and melancholy atmosphere, which is not delivered bluntly by the miserable people in life. Instead I prefer veiled expression. I respect individuals and their feelings. People is a part of my work, and I don’t want my shooting to become one of their miseries.

In your photographic work, we can find portraits of children from rural environment. What can we see or learn about you in these photos?

Once I went back to my hometown. I was disappointed to find significant changes that have taken place. Less and less kids were there, and there is less and less vitality. From then on, I went to shoot these children. I was actually shooting my own childhood, my nostalgia.

Although I know all is gone, I am still reluctant to let it go.

Did you find problems when taking pictures of certain kind of people, the children, for instance?

The most difficult part is undoubtedly my laziness and procrastination. The rest is not a problem. There are too many things distracting my attention.

When you take pictures of landscapes, you show large pieces of land, and most of the times they are rural and lonely places. Do you prefer showing these areas of China rather than big Chinese cities?

Maybe it’s because I love being free, and a stretching boundless horizon. However, when I am truly in this situation, I find that we are lost, becoming more lonely, desperate and ignorant.

Admittedly, the pace of urban construction in China has been on a rocket, yet it’s a total failure. The unexpected change of time assimilates Chinese cities, causing them to lose their characters. Once I indeed made a brief trying to explore this issue by filming, but I was really not a fan of shuttling in the city. I don’t want to force myself into that.

How do you combine video and photography? Which of them do you like the most?

I am a director and that’s how I earn my living. It’s something I have to do, no matter I love it or not. But photography is a different story. it’s my true love. That’s why I only shoot what I like when taking photos (never to cater to reputation or benefit)

Who is your reference in photography?

There are not many photographers that I know, neither I am keen on watching big-name works. What influence me most are poems, other literature and Buddhism.

I believe reflection upon reality and life is my best mentor.

What do you think about Asian current photography?

I have limited knowledge about the photography circle. However, I have seen some works by modern-day photographers on Internet. Many of them are limited by the photography itself, instead of striding it as a tool to think.

To me there are two levels of photography. The first level remains a feast for eyes and the second level dives deeply into your heart.

All the techniques become embarrassing and trivialized in the eternity of time.

Time will filter everything out and leave the classics.

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