GOYO 2023
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GOYO 2023

There, at the source and end of all existence, the 'Emptiness' is open.
GOYO 2023, HGG29

GOYO 2023

 

Nothingness and anamnesis are not denials of the subjective and objective movement and stillness of everyday life, but rather the nature of life itself. No-movement. In its true form, all dharmas are inherently still, without movement.

 

We should not have statuesque (相) and normal (靜相) because movement and stillness, stillness and movement, are the true nature of reality. I am all that is simultaneously still in motion and still in motion. Therefore, strictly speaking, it can neither be called immobile nor enemy. This immortality, this immobility, is what we are here and now. This is what we call “intrinsic stillness”.

 

The Purification Monk, from The Dharma Crab

Han Chungshik’s GOYO

 

Han Chungshik got his first camera in 1962, 55 years ago. At the first conference for the exhibition, he brought a photograph that he held his first camera in his 20s. He said he could not even imagine himself becoming a photographer. At the time, he was a school teacher, teaching high school students. Later, in 1968, he joined an amateur photography group called ‘Baek Young Hoe’ organized by Mr. Hong Sun-tae, and his life as a photographer began.

 

When he started his career as a photographer, Im Eungshik led the Korean photography trend known as ‘lifestyle Realism’. While many photographers were building their world of work within the framework of realism, Han took a slightly different path. He spoke of the path as a lonely road, and he could not go into realism documentary photography due to his personality, thus, he went to the outset of fine art photography. As he says, his path might be lonely, however, the Korean photography field became the category in which we can enjoy wider and more diverse perspectives. For more than 40 years, Han Chungshik has been pursuing abstraction through photography, an area that has been a brief experiment in Korean historiography, and it is impossible not to think that this is important for the diversity of Korean history.

 

One of the main reasons why his world of work has shone in the annals of Korean history is that he has accommodated and developed a new category of formalism, but above all, it is due to the fact that in the process of embracing it, he has found Korean style and developed it completely in his own unique way as a photographer, Han Chungshik. This has originated from his exclusive attitude of approaching the subject for photography and matters.

 

When he started taking photographs for the first time, he felt that the essence of photography was difficult to separate from its recording nature, so he began to record in detail the surrounding scenery that would soon disappear. The result was the ‘Bukchon’ series, a collection of works subtitled ‘My Seoul’. These photographs express the artist's affection for Seoul, where he was born and raised. The photographs meticulously depict the changing Seoul. Some people say that his other series of works are dissimilar to the ‘Bukchon series, but it is true that his early and future works are also very different from the Bukchon works. However, there are certainly some clues in his early photographs that will lead to his future works. The first clue is his attitude toward people. The artist depicts them as little as possible without provoking their emotions, and from a distance or even up close, he portrays them with the attitude logs of a thorough observer. This attitude of his then leads to a somber observer's attitude in dealing with things, which he has maintained throughout the series ‘Tree’ and ‘Feet’ and ‘Goyo(Serenity)’. While dealing with matters as if he were depicting only the shape of a person without confusing or hurting the feelings of the person in the work, he focused on the lines, surfaces, and colors that the thing had, but after developing and burning, the shape that came out on the photographic paper remained as it was, with the circle of connection with the surroundings gone, as the person had done. Another clue is the attitude of treating the subject in photography with diligent, and serious consideration. Just as he took pictures of familiar spaces by searching for the most appropriate frames through long hours of uninterrupted observation, his subsequent series also shows how much time he spent observing and searching for the right frame of mind for the subject matter. After such a long time of observation, the tree seems to take on the shape of a human body, and the human leg seems to be a part of the human body. It is thought that his basic attitude inevitably led him to complete his series of abstract photographs.

 

His abstract photography series culminated in the ‘Goyo’. In this series, the artist for the first time reaches the constant of serenity within matters as the term implies, without being bound by the form that things have. Spectators came to see concrete figures of matters in his photographs, but the subject in photography does not assert themselves. The artist remains in the frame of his paintings, and all the flowing things, such as time, movement of light, and sound, remain stationary, and he is conveying the image of ‘stillness’ to Korea.

 

There is one thing that is indispensable when we talk about the artist, Han Chungshik. He has been more prompt to inform us as a photographic theorist and educator than as a photographer. Probably no one who does photography in Korea could fail to read his book "Introduction to the Art of Photography. First published in 1986, the book has been steadily read for more than 30 years. Reflecting the meticulous nature of the artist, this book is a rare photographic theory book that provides a basic understanding of artistic photography and a general grasp of the mechanical characteristics of photography. Furthermore, the book and its subsequent translations and writings have made a significant contribution to the systematic grounding of photographic theory. He also trained many of his students while serving as a professor in the Department of Photography at Chung Ang University from 1982 to 2002. One of the reasons why the Department of Photography at Chung-Ang University is more oriented toward artistic photography than other universities and has produced some of the leading artists is certainly due in large part to the influence of the artist Han Chungshik. He was the first in Korea to establish a photographic society and publish a magazine to examine the direction in which the Korean history movement should go, and he also spared no effort to balance the direction of the true meaning of contemporary Korean history, which has been rapidly focusing on ‘making pictures’ since the early 1990s.

 

No one seems to disagree with the fact that Han has enriched Korean photography. Notably, his unique Korean abstract photography abundantly nourishes Korean photography history. The exhibition, Goyo(Serenity) will be the optimum opportunity to be pleased with the abstracted photographs that he has been devoting his lifetime to the audience.

 

 

2007

Jang Soongang

The curator, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea

The Self-statement

 

On the first day of the new year when I turned 21, my poem ‘Poplar’ was announced as having won an honorable mention in the annual spring literary contest at Hankookilbo. To win a prize was not a big deal in hindsight, and it was not the first place, but the effect it had on me was significant. Above all, it was an incident that helped me grow a little more. Looking back on it now, I realize that the poem was a direct expression of one aspect of my identity.

 

At the time, the poems were selected by Cho Jihoon and Noh Cheonmyeong, and I still remember Cho’s evaluation. He pointed out my personality in one of the poems, and even though I was young enough to wonder how he could see me so accurately in such a short poem, a corner of my heart was thrilled. He briefly indicated “I reckon he needs to get through more rough experiences in life.” It was 1957, a point only three or four years after the 38th parallel turned into the armistice line, and he seems to criticize me for writing a naive poem under the gloomy circumstances after the Korean War.

 

That was exactly what I was. It is me. I am realistic, meanwhile I am very impractical. I and my mother underwent a difficult time without a breadwinner, and I always put survival in the first place rather than anything, else and bid to be realistic. Backing in the day, however, I chose silly things far away from reality in fact. The evidence is that I chose poetry, to be a poet means to become poor. That is who I am, and who I still am, unchanged.

 

In a nutshell, I was always short on the realistic when it actually got done. In this world, people have to fight and embrace each other at the same time, but it does not suit me. On the contrary, I have sometimes bravely and directly broken through, but at the end of the day, I really wanted to escape from reality. Many people who know me seem to think I am a very active and outgoing person. However, those who know me a little better can notice that I am actually a very introverted person. I have been trying positively to conduct what I have to do because I am optimistic, frankly, I am very introverted and unrealistic.

 

This is why I do not, or rather cannot, do so-called documentary photography. While I deeply understand and sympathize with the point that photography away from reality tends to be somewhat empty, and that I am searching for the identity of photography in terms of its documentary nature, but I found myself into fine art photography. My eyes were not to the deep valleys of life, but to the white clouds floating high in the sky. That's how my ‘trees’ came out, and that's where the ‘GOYO(Serenity)’ series eventually came from. My heart always wanted to avoid reality, even though I lived in it, and even though I adapted relatively well and lived well.

 

So I chose pure photography, often called ‘art photography’, not documentary photography. If one leaves the scene of life, it must become a natural landscape. Landscapes are reality, and therefore photographing landscapes is a form of documentation, but they are not the intense ‘scenes of life.’ However, this does not mean that he could be satisfied with everyday landscape photography. In order to escape from simple external landscapes and move toward internal landscapes, I began to search for ‘photographic abstraction.’

 

The term ‘photographic abstraction’ may be a little unfamiliar to you, but if you change it to ‘abstract photography’, it may be a little easier to understand. Yet, I adopted the word, ‘photographic abstraction’ because I determined ‘abstract photography’ can get muddled up with ‘abstract painting’. They are different. Commonly photography is known as a tool to represent reality, and the record-ability from the genre attribute is considered essential in photography. Despite this, I wanted to achieve in photography the kind of abstraction that only photography can achieve, an abstraction that is distinctly different from other media. Moreover, photography is a medium that starts by reproducing concrete forms. Nevertheless, let us think about why and what photographic abstraction is.

 

I do not intend to explain at length the necessity and artificiality of ‘photographic abstraction’. I have already explained this several times in my published writings and articles. However, I would like to make it clear that we must consider abstraction in photography because the theme (theme) of photography is an abstract concept or idea. Especially in the case of pure photography, abstraction will not be passed over because it is almost an essential requirement.

 

One more thing. It is a fact that the majority of photographs still rely on literalness, not to mention the period of modern photography, which is classified as modernity. Artists and spectators alike all cling to the ‘meaning’ of a photograph. In particular, they are obsessed with the literary meaning, and they think and question what the photograph means. However, this ‘meaning’ is the domain of the literal arts, not the non-literal arts, referred to Park-Imun’s Poetry and Science. There can and must be meaning in the non-literary arts, but the meaning at such times is literary meaning, meaning that is not the meaning that is interpreted as language and understood as language. Most people think that everything can be expressed and communicated only in language. However, they often overlook the fact that there are many more meanings in the world that cannot possibly be expressed or conveyed through language: beautiful music, scenery, or emotions that are neither music nor scenery can never be expressed or conveyed through language. There are visual experiences that cannot be solved by language. Moreover, the internal experience, the emotion, which is neither visual nor auditory, cannot be resolved by words. This is why various mediums have been created in this world. Art, music, dance, and photography were all invented with the same idea in mind. In this way, the “world outside of language” is infinite. I could not remain indifferent to this vast and unchangeable territory, so I took a step forward in developing this “world outside language”, this vague territory that can be expressed through photography, and that is my photography.

 

I dare not consider this to be finished. Nor do I believe that the methodology I have attempted is the only one or the best. There may be many ways to visualize and visualize this. However, that is the role of other artists, and I am on my way steadily in search of this path that I am considering and pursuing.

 

When I went to the newspaper office to receive the notice of the win of the annual spring literary contest, the cultural department manager, who was Mr. Han woonsa handed me three or four sheets of manuscript paper to write down my thoughts on the award. I took the papers and went up to the roof of the newspaper office. I actually stayed up all night before trying to think of what I should write about the award, but not a single word came to mind until I climbed the creaky, wooden stairs to the roof. I hardly remember what I wrote next, but I still remember the first passage vividly, yet so far, I am remembering the first phrase I wrote; I get to know that I am on ‘the lonely path where no one looks back’.

 

Back then, and probably not much has changed now, writing poetry was what we call ‘the road of skipping meals’. Not only poetry, but art itself was like that. Of course, I was not prepared for it, nor did I have any particular sense of mission. It was just a path that I entered because I liked it, without any reason. Looking back, nonetheless, I see that it was my destiny. I started learning to smoke from that time on, after I realized my lack of ability in writing poetry and gave up all literature, whilst, I learned to play the game of Go, put down Janggi, played billiards, and sometimes played Hwatoo(Korean card game) as I passed the years, I stepped into photography by chance. There are so many coincidences in life, and my encounter with photography was likewise that I was not even aware of before. It was when I was around 30 years old.

 

Afterward, I entered, and I found that photography was an even lonelier path than poetry. It was a time when there was no social awareness of photography. Several senior members of the photographers were taking photography seriously without regard to the public, but the general perception was very lousy. Photography was regarded as just a look-alike technique and not art. I was once again on ‘the lonely path where no one looks back’. Besides, I never intended to resolve my ambition toward literature, and my feet began to enter into photography. I found myself as a photographer in my destiny.

 

Not only that, my choice of so-called ‘pure photography’ is also a lonely path in photography. Most of the world-class artists in the history of photography are also documentary artists, and the number of those who have pursued the purity and artistry of photography is too few to count on their fingers. Whatever the problem with the small number and the large number, I believe the reason for this is because it is ultimately connected to photography's identity, its reason for existence. My work in pursuit of abstraction in search of photography's other identity, its new possibilities, must be another solitary path.

 

Knowing this, why did I choose this path? In a word, it must all be my destiny because it is a path that came naturally to me as I walked, a path that my heart found. It is just such an earnest thirst, a spring rising up from my heart, making a river, forming a river, and heading for the sea. But I will walk silently along ‘the lonely path where no one looks back’ with a desire to make new footprints on the road I entered anyway like putting footprints after the first snow fell.

 

 

March 2017

Han Chungshik

The Highway next to the Stable :

Vanishing Landscapes, Vanishing Customs

 

It has already been 50 years since I started on the path of photography. While doing photography, I have always heard and learned about the importance of photography to record-ability, yet I have walked a far way from that record-ability. On the other hand, there was something I noticed and felt when I looked into mu old contact sheets. I noticed things that are now gone and gone, or that still remain but will soon disappear. It was not only that I consciously felt it, but also that it was in the mindless picture, and that is the record nature of photography.

 

However, when I actually tried to put them together, I saw many things that were missing. There is not the order of photography or the main theme in it. Nonetheless, I wanted to tie it together because it was a new reading of the past.

 

There ware some questions as to the point of having to publish such a book if I did not write one with depth because I have been taking photography for 50 years, and I decided to make excuses and comfort myself by saying, “I am alive, not dead, so I can do this.”

 

Text / Han Chungshik

 

Bukchon, My Seoul

 

It was in 1978 immediately after I returned from short period of study in Japan that I began to take pictures of Seoul.

My photographic career started around 1967, when all my photo activities were to take pictures of curious objects just as I pick up coins on the streets and put them on photo contests, not knowing the real meaning and value of records. My conception that photos should primarily express human life was formed then, but I did not cast my eyes on real documentary value of photos nor have firm faith on it till my conception of photo resulted from study abroad.

 

However, I felt more interest in photography as art than in documentary photography, and the theme of my first exhibition in Korea was "TREE" far from documentary one. Nevertheless, I have never ignored nor abandoned documentary value in photos on account of artistic value. The more I studied, the more I felt importance of documentary photos.

 

For that reason, I intended to publish my picturs "Buk Chon (northern village in Seoul)" to prevent complete lapse of memory about the traditional features of old, familiar, snug streets of Seoul. I found that the antique features of Seoul had been disappearing rapidly since 1960 and reached its peak in 1970s. When I saw these changes, I felt deep sorrow and it was unbearable to me. I thought, “I must keep the record of Seoul. It's my duty to preserve the remaining portion of old Seoul. It's not too late.” I am the very native of Seoul, and my families have lived in Seoul through more than ten generations. I am a genuine Seoulite. It is none other than I that have to do something to celebrate the coming 600th anniversary of capital city.

 

Various events were being prepared by too many groups of citizens to celebrate the anniversary at that time. I was not willing to get on the crowded procession hastily. I changed my mind and decided to plan my own independent task to devote to the 600th anniversary and I began to take characteristic pictures of Seoul, kept them one by one for the future publication.

 

But I have postponed putting photos on exhibit year after year. A photo, in itself, gets more and more brilliance as it grows older, just as KIM-CHI and ME-JU contain more aroma and deliciousness when the materials, cabbages and beans, undergo process of formentation. Same is the case as in photos. There was no reason for me to make haste. It is the documentary traits in photos. It is 30 years since I began to prepare "Buk Chon". Now it's the time for me to publish it.

 

When I look back on those 30 years and the photos that I took, I can not help feeling regrets on having missed so many unforgettable features of Seoul which I should have kept in my photos. I witnessed remarkable changes in Seoul since 1970 and wanted to keep records of them as a photographer, but I regret that I lost and missed so many memorable changes and scenes owing to my dullness and laziness.

 

Moreover, I have laid emphasis on artistic value since my return from study abroad Artistic value seems to be vague and variable, and it is not easy to establish stable aesthetics. But I have tried to make both ends meet and I have firm belief that the two ways can go together. We can create value in documentary photos as well as in artistic photos. I was hovering between the two. This is why I could not exhibit the photos of Seoul earlier, and the reason of feeling painful sense of loss.

 

This "Buk Chon" is personal records of my home-town. It contains scenes of old Seoul in my memory. Seoul that I know and feel. "Buk Chon" means a northern village as well as my home-town, Seoul.

 

March 2010

Han Chungshik

The Trace

 

The decision to publish this book came out of the blue. Since I had not thought about it, I had to consider for a while whether it was really appropriate to publish this book. This was for two reasons.

 

First, I believe that the identity of photography lies in temporality, and I have always said so. In school, of course, I always spoke on this foundation whenever I talked about photography with amateur writers and photography hobbyist groups. It was a firm idea I acquired while studying photography. Ironically, my photography has been working on the side that has nothing to do with temporality.

 

It was my temperament. We all live in an embrace, and to record the hard life, I have to fight for others. However, I have no confidence in arguing with someone. Furthermore, I am not a very lucid person. To document our lives one must have insight into life and a keen eye to discern situations, but even in such matters, as in a fight, I was still unsure. I made up my mind not to because I thought that serious reflection and deep penetration into our lives with this kind of eye and this kind of spirit was not an area I would deal with. This is why I turned to pure photography.

It was also because I thought that there is indeed a reason for the existence of photography outside of temporality. I also thought that I had to establish my photographic identity in the search for the reason for the existence of photography here. This is where the question of whether or not it was appropriate to publish such a collection of photographs came from.

 

There was one more thing. These photographs were simply a collection of social scenes that caught my eye, taken withou pressure. I couldn't help but wonder what the point was in compiling a collection of photographs like this, which I had taken with such care, but which had failed to produce anything of lasting value. However, just as a spider feeds on insects caught in a spider's web, I felt that the various landscapes caught in the web of my consciousness are ultimately my consciousness and will. Not only that, when I expanded them, they were a trajectory of my photographic life, but if I gathered them together, they were also a section of our very history. Sometimes I discover facts that I had not thought of at the time I took the photographs, regardless of my intention.

 

The same is true of identity. It is not that I have to find my identity in photography in some formal genre. It is not a question of what form I take, but of how I have lived my life. But even more importantly, it is not a question of identity either. It is not about identity, it is not about ideals, it is not about just surviving, it is about putting in the effort to live that way, to live by taking photographs, and there is no better proposition.

Most of these photographs were taken long after they were taken. Although they may not amount to much as so-called "works of art," I decided to publish them because I thought it would be interesting to look back on our lives as they passed by at this point in our lives. I also added the idea that as we get older, we may only be able to look back in retrospect. Come to think of it, I turned 70 at my age. I have been living this way.

 

Not that there are many 70-year-olds in the world these days, but I have a feeling that I can only be saved by understanding whatever I do at this age. I am a little embarrassed, though, that I am old enough to try to gain an understanding for the mistakes I might possibly make.

 

Text / Han Chungshik

Tree

 

I am publishing my first book of photographs.

 

I would like this book to be the first signpost as the starting point of my photography, and at the same time, to confirm the foundation of my photographic practice in the following several points.

 

First, it is my faith in true realism. Since Lifestyle-oriented photography entered this region under the name of realism, it has done much to establish a new photographic aesthetics, but because of the lack of a thick layer of photography in this region, Lifestyle-oriented photography has become a monopoly as if it were the only form of realism, a phenomenon that is not very desirable. I feel that this is a very undesirable phenomenon. It was not a very useful phenomenon for the diversification of photography. At the same time, I felt that this lifestylist photography was too extroverted to recognize the infinite space of the world and the universe, and the absolute time of existence and extinction, and to sink deeply into me and into nature, and that it should be a vessel for dealing with the essential issues of life with its utilitarianism. In this way, I came to feel that the huge mountain range of that great and true realism, starting with Alfred Stieglitz and leading to Edward Weston, and Ansel Adams, was in that sense a hedge that I should wind around and live with. That does not mean that my work this time and in the future will be an imitation or inheritance of theirs. It only means that I accept the antecedents of their seeker-like sublime quest and their attitude as the essence of realism and try to build my home on that foundation, even if it is in a grass-roofed three-room house.

 

Secondly, it shows my interest in eroticism. Not only does eroticism not mean frivolous sexual stimulation or interest, but for me eroticism is seen as a life sensation. In other words, it has been grasped by me not as a means of life extension aimed at overcoming death, but rather as a life phenomenon that is a complete end in itself and an extension of death, as self-annihilation. For me, eroticism is an eternal thirst, the very hot spring from the depths of that life. It is the scent of thick skin, the painful flow of blood, the gorgeous melancholy, emptiness, eternity, and death itself.

The fact that this eroticism is relative to the merit of art is also connected to the original purity of art, and the fact that the artistic act and eroticism are both combustion and catharsis, with a deep abyss of emptiness behind it, is somehow thought-death-like, and all the pure emotions of beauty, nostalgia, loneliness, etc., are the basis of this eroticism and death. The fact that eroticism is based on death was also a factor in my interest in eroticism.

In any case, this eroticism as a life sensation based on the essence of existence and the deepest depths of being is a major vein of mine that I will continue to dig into in the future.

 

Finally, there is to search for the Korean style in photography. What is the Korean style? This is not to be discovered in photographs of the folk village or roofs of Korean traditional thatched houses. I believe that the search for creating photographs that have a Korean flavor, no matter what is photographed, is a major challenge that not only I, but all Korean photographers, must seriously consider, even if this challenge is too difficult to solve. Therefore, I will consider this as homework that I must continue to explore in my next and subsequent work, and try not to be impatient. However, I hope that others can feel some traces of my efforts from the tree I have included here, from my eyes that grasp him, and from my skill in handling him, in the sense that I want to confirm to myself that my search for the Korean style has grown at the foundation of my consciousness, but at the same time, this is a reaffirmation of my existence as a photographer. But it is also a reaffirmation of my existence as a photographer.

 

With this, I have shot my first arrow. The second arrow is in preparation. How close this arrow comes to its target is the expectation I place on my photographs. I don't dream of a fluke. I may end up not putting even an arrow on the target. But the more important question is how far I will be able to live up to this beacon I have set up here, how many times I will take off my mask and become new. In the end, I will reveal that I dared to put out this collection of photographs here as a standard by which to measure my stature.

 

Text / Han Chungshik

On the Landscape Theory

 

Someone once said my photography shows affinity, and others had mentioned mine alongside the tone of a woodwind instrument. It is true that I am more of an examiner of things as they are than an analyzer, criticizer, and advocate. I love and accept them as they are. I just listen to how the matters resonate within me.

 

There is a word in Korean, ‘Gwanjo’, which means ‘contemplation’, in addition, there is ‘Jick-gwan’, which stands for ‘intuition’. I believe those words are deeply embedded in Korean consciousness, and I seriously consider the emotional truth of the moment to face the matters during my work.

 

Whether I take photographs of trees, feet, and landscapes, I wrap them in my emotions. Otherwise, the photographs don't reflect me. This is my constitution, and I reckon this is Northen Asian universal emotion including Korean.

 

It is hard to find the answer to the question quickly why I took the trees and feet for so many years. To be honest, I just took them. I took the pictures because I liked the tree, and the feet just happened to catch my eye and I started taking pictures. I visited the chord that the material created in my mind when I met them. I am still deeply interested in trees, I have been taking pictures of feet for more than ten years, I am still taking pictures of Seoul after 20 years, and I have been taking pictures of this scenery for more than ten years. This must be the encounter them, and it is my work.

 

I have been taking tons of Korean landscape photographs. While I do take pictures of nature as it is, my main focus is on cultural landscapes created by nature and people together. However, when nature cannot exist on its own and culture is not formed on its own, it is quite natural for the landscape to have human imprints on it. I have always thought of a landscape as a symphony of mountains, clouds, and all other things that come together, but the fact that the character of the people who live in the landscape is also deeply mixed in among these various things is a new experience that I gained through this work.

 

The landscape of Korea showed us the harmony between nature and human beings. After the harvest, the bundles of straw tied to the rice paddies were just as

ordinary Koreans had lived. It was not only straw bundles, of all things. It was also a piece of plastic often used in agriculture these days, as well as rocks, trees, and grass. They were similar in spirit to our ancestors, who had lived a simple and peaceful life in Korea. This is what I was trying to capture.

 

The landscape reflects the life of local people had done. I believe this corresponds to other countries like Japan and America both of which will have landscapes similar to theirs and people similar to their landscapes. I guess the landscape’s difference arises from the reason.

 

In addition, there are more photographs that I am interested in working on, such as ‘The map’, which is a picture of my country's territory, and "Seoul," which is my hometown. My interests are as diverse but I always trim them by my way. Whatever the object is, I sharpen and polish it in my own way. I remember the first time I opened the ‘tree’, and mumbled, “This is my wood carving”, as if even I did not understand. Especially during the development process, I was caught up in the thought that I was sharpening the wood by grinding, baking, and then putting on more wood. As with ‘Feet’, this landscape was also very carefully polished in my way. That is why I named it ‘Landscape Theory’.

 

This was the starting point of my photography. I had never grasped the subject as an objective entity in itself. For this reason, my tree is not just a tree, and my feet are neither, and my landscapes cannot be called just landscapes. But reality itself has no word that presupposes the substantiality of the object, and from the very beginning, there is no such thing as substance, nor can there be such a thing. Every object and its name are arbitrary, they are justified by the cognition of the subject. My photography is to hatch them through my body beat. I have never intentionally distorted the subject with any intention or will. As mother nature spread in front of me, my photography naturally came to form like that, published them with utmost sincerity.

 

My only hope is my photography is getting to have depth and remarkable weight as I age with myself.

 

Text / Han Chungshik

From Autumn to Winter

 

For now, I feel spring is like autumn. Not only spring, but also summer seems like autumn, winter is likewise, and even autumn is autumn. Winter will come soon. If possible, I hope that one day without dragging waiting, winter will suddenly arrive.

 

I moved into my small house in 2003, when I turned 60 years old. My flat is on the first floor, and the good thing about being on the first floor, besides the easy access, is that the backyard of the apartment is our courtyard. It was a little small, but it was not dangerous for my grandchildren to come out and play, and it was always nice to be in sight of my family. At the moment of moving, I was already retired from school. I became old. I was not deeply moved by my old age. It was just that I was fifty or sixty years older, and I didn't feel any emotion, especially sadness or pity, because of my age. However, I have grey hairs anyway.

 

In the fall of that year, I noticed the garden changing along with the sunlight, and I thought to myself, "Oh, that's how I grow old and die," and I began to take pictures of the garden, the trees and grass standing there, peering at the sunlight reflected in them, with him in mind. I don't know if I felt a little sad or not, but I just kept on taking photographs.

 

At the time of my retirement, I had spent a full 20 years and 6 months at the school where I worked. Oh well, I thought, if I live this long, I'll be going. I thought that if I lived this long, I would go, seeing as most people die around 85-86 years old. I reckoned I had exactly 20 years left until the general age of death. I didn't feel sorry or that I wanted to live a little longer, I was just aware of the fact that I had 20 years left to live.

 

Still, what I felt in that garden was the shadow of old age that had seeped into it. I felt my aging self in that garden. When I took those photographs, I saw only that kind of landscape outside. It must mean that I am surely that old. So I organized this collection of photographs ‘from Autumn to Winter.’

 

Text / Han Chungshik

Taking Photography

 

When people say they are taking pictures, they're actually taking pictures of objects. Why do people say to take photographs when they take pictures of objects? What is the difference between taking pictures and taking objects? In other words, why do people say to conduct photography as taking objects? In fact, ‘taking pictures of objects’ is not the same as ‘taking photographs.’ What is divergent between them?

 

I believe in what it means to take a picture in photography, to take a picture out of the shackles of objects and make it independent as a picture. To find the original meaning of the image, to find the independence of the image, to contact the audience with a naked image. Pure photography aims for this.

 

My photography attempts to take photography, none of taking objects with gears, however, my attempt might be impossible. Photography is something that cannot take a step without ignoring objects. If nothing gets photographed, it cannot be called a photograph. Nevertheless, I aspire to cross the limit in photography by ignoring the representation of objects. I assert to search for the ideal figure in photography by my endeavor. My work, GOYO(Serenity) is an attempt to pass over the limit in photography that the objects are essential if it is able to go. I did recognize the work of great visionaries and photographic geniuses. Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, Minor White, and Ralph Gibson were some of the visionaries who nudged me.

 

That doesn’t mean they didn’t photograph. I am trying to say they photographed objects without revealing them, leaving only a feeling or an impression. They also took objects but feelings and the impression were more remained in their photography but the figure of objects. I mean to pass over the reproductivity and escape from reality, thus, it can be told as a non-verbal visual language. As long as you want to express the artist's thoughts or feelings through objects, not the objects themselves, all photography is ‘taking a picture’, not ‘taking a picture of an object’, so what's new about ‘taking a picture’?

 

Nevertheless, I have a different idea. I'm not talking about metaphors, which every photographer has already done, but rather the pure, naked message of the photograph itself, neither metaphor nor simile. Metaphors always presuppose an object. It's a way to say B with A. It's a methodology. Metaphors were originally developed as a means to overcome the limitations of verbal expression, such as bringing in flowers to represent the beauty of a woman or using a 'rainbow' to represent the futility of love. The 'photography' I am aiming for is a state that has left such metaphors. It is a task of rejecting any concrete image of metaphor and searching for such an ultimate state in which the object itself disappears, only a feeling or an idea comes to mind, or even an idea disappears and reality escapes and only the nakedness of the photograph is exposed. It is to become independent as a photograph of a photograph.

Strip the formation away in photography

 

The formation in photography is what it is, the possibility and limitation. Typically, photography is based on the record and represent reality, and this is a unique advantage compared with other genre in arts. On the other hand, the formation interrupts the path toward ideas and abstraction. However, it is difficult to enter the world of ideas and abstractions through the hard appearance. This is because the appearance blocks the way to ideas and abstractions. However, photography cannot ignore the world of ideas and abstractions. This is because the subject matter that we want to represent through photography is usually an abstract idea or concept. This gap is the limitation of photography. Moreover, in order to create a ‘visual meaning’ outside of the linguistic meaning, the formation of objects is a barrier that must be overcome.

 

Therefore, I tried to break the formation in photography. I tried to cut things up and strip them of their overall form, and I also used time to abstract the flow of water. This was an attempt to create 'visual meaning' by overcoming the limitations of photography, which cannot escape the appearance. When they leave their appearance, that is, when water, stones, or grass appear out of their tangible form, it will be something outside of the concrete form of water, stones, or grass. When these things leave their concrete form, they are bound to have some abstract image in common. Their images may not be simplified into a single form, but they will inevitably unite in an abstract form to form a single subject once they are freed from their original specificity. And even if it is freed from concrete form, it will not be able to completely escape any ‘form’. Therefore, it is not possible to completely escape form, but the form will be a form that does not take on the concreteness of things, a form that stops at the border between idea and form, just before the idea. That would be a form of so-called photographic abstraction. In fact, that's what photography is. Photographs are inherently located in the middle ground between reality and unreality, neither real nor unreal, and we can see that this process of abstraction is not an independent phenomenon outside of the process of photographic formation.

 

Flowers, water, and clouds in photographs are not related to the existing semantics and type. Whether it's water or a flower is a matter of what it means to you, not whether it's water or a flower. In photography, objects are stripped of their specificity. This is what I mean when I say that these images are fused together abstractly, sailing together toward a single subject. Instead, the lack of specificity makes it easier to form a composite image rather than a direct reference to a single theme, which is interesting because it can trigger a multifaceted imagination.

The Beautiful Scenery of Time

 

I have been thinking about a book about photography with text for a long time.

 

A book that combines photographs and text in a single volume, but where the photographs do not assist the text and the text does not go beyond explaining the photographs. This book was the first attempt to interact them each other.

All text of this book is for understanding photography, but U was devoted to putting it together in order to make up for being harmony. I hope that someday I will be able to release a book in which the photographs and text stand separately and assert themselves, harmonize with each other, create new meanings, and create new atmospheres, as I had originally planned.

I have been thinking about understanding photography, and I have been concerned about it as a photography educator in college. I have cared about theoretical subjects, especially photographic art theory. However, I was always concerned that my ideas about photography were limited to a group of experts. This is because I believe that no photographer can stand alone and that the future of photography cannot be bright without an understanding of its surroundings. The book ‘Introduction to the Art of Photography’, which I published more than ten years ago, was written with such an aim in mind and with considerable consideration for the general public, and this text was also written on such a foundation. Moreover, today's photography has become more common than the written word.

 

Photography is recently not monopolized by professional photographers anymore, and it has become a good friend to ordinary people. That is not to say that the new school group's willingness to cheekily enlighten the masses. It is the idea of a person who has devoted half his life to photography and, moreover, to broaden once and for all the ideas that he has usually done with the professionalism of a teacher.

The text in this article was originally serialized in ‘Photography Art’ for two years and at Keumho Munhwa for one year, and some parts of it have been replaced, added, and rewritten. The support of the readers at the time of the serialization has made me decide to publish this article, and I hope to receive as much encouragement from them as I did at the time.

 

 

Text / Han Chungshik

 

The Art of Photography

 

This is a newly revised edition as the publisher. While changing boards, I changed a few texts, but there were no noticeable changes because there was not the biggest change in the photography situation during this period. I added only a few notes on digital photography, and then only made a few minor changes to phrases and examples that were distracting. When I see the state of photography in a few years and decide to back off again, I intend to make major revisions in one fell swoop. However, I have substantially switched example photographs and added more Korean photographers’ work.

 

In 2000, when the acronym for the second revised edition was used, the photographic education community in Korea was very active, and more than 40 photography-related departments had been established at various universities. However, only four years later, photography education experienced the inner problem. The confusion that has resulted from a lack of vision for the next few years, and the rash establishment of photography departments that were only attracted by the number of students who came as long as they had a sign on their wall, has led to today's confusion. Nevertheless, photography is now becoming the center of the cultural arts world. Leading museums and galleries have begun to open their doors to photography, and finally, a photography museum has been established. The number of photography dealers has also increased, and some regions are holding annual photography celebrations, even though it has not yet fully taken root. The labor pains of the photography department will be difficult for a while to catch its breath, but it will stabilize and develop further after structural adjustments.

 

As I mentioned before, the fact that this book has not yet been discarded for any purpose almost 20 years after its publication is gratifying to me as the author, but I think it is not very desirable for Korean photography. I hope that a better book will come out soon and I hope to receive much encouragement and support.

 

Text / Han Chungshik

Photography and Reality :

Searching for the identity in photography

 

Two concerns preceded my attempt to publish the book. The first was whether it was really necessary to have such a discussion now. In fact, the idea for this book was conceived about 10 years ago. At that time, the so-called ‘making pictures’ was spreading like a fever in our photography field. There was even a feeling, especially, that this type of photography was the ‘new photography’ among emerging photographers and that conventionally straight photography was accepted as old-fashioned.

 

I thought this was not a good phenomenon. This was not a concern for the damage to the authority of the established generation, but rather a concern from the standpoint of photographic aesthetics. ‘Compositional photography’, which appeared in the name of so-called postmodernism and is referred to by the non-academic term ‘making pictures’, was after all only a passing fad. If postmodernism is the next step after modernism, it is all too obvious that another name will appear after that. Regardless of the name, fundamentally photography is just photography. Therefore, the idea is that such issues are not bound by time. Moreover, there has never been a serious discussion of this kind in our photographic community. I felt a pang of remorse at having to do something now that should have already been done, but I decided to write about it for the time being.

 

The second concern was my intellectual level. I guess I have been publishing books and artworks that released my lack of knowledge. Nevertheless, I am committing this folly again because I think it may still be of some small help to the Korean photography community. I decided to leave the deep and high-brow theory to the next generation and thought it would be meaningful to support people to want to know about in-depth photography.

 

When it came time to write the book, I was bumped against another problem: I did not want to turn the book into a photography textbook and describe it in a flat manner, even though it deals with the essential issues of photography. Moreover, it is impossible to examine photography in its entirety. Thus, I decided on only a few of them and decided to discuss them seriously. I believe it is a more fruitful approach to photography.

 

The amount of books I read also became an issue. Blame it on my laziness, but I never read burdensome books. It seemed unlikely that I would ever write an authoritative book but I had been thinking about photography not to compare with anyone. I had to do so in order to teach, but ‘photography’ is still a huge question that has never left the center of my brain. I think I have experienced enough now to be able to speak in my own words about my thoughts on photography. At the very least, I am confident that I can take responsibility for my words in my own way. I have spent more than 40 years as a photography professor. I would like to say thank you to the many disciples who were intertwined with me by fate during that time. They were there for me and I was able to grow up with them. Even away from those dealings, they have been my confidantes and neighbors. I will devote more time to photography from now on, but if a new idea about photography suddenly occurs to me, I will publish it, even if it is a short glow.

 

Text / Han Chungshik

Photographic Stories from Daily Life

 

Teaching students is my profession, so I had no choice but to study photographic theory, and I have published several books on what I have studied to that extent. It is very rewarding as an author to see their books sold sustainably with relatively favorable reviews. I think this was partly by virtue of the fact that others have not shown much interest in writing such books. If it is fortunate for me as an author, it must be unfortunate for the Korean photography field.

 

In fact, the books I have published so far have been for aspiring professionals and have been a bit problematic for the general public to approach. Not only that, but the public's interest in and demand for the art of photography has skyrocketed, and yet there have been few booklets to guide them in a friendly manner. It seemed that something had to be done to rectify the situation.

 

This book was written for such a general audience. I have tried to unravel what photography is and what kind of art it is, as clearly and interestingly as possible. For this reason, the book was written in the form of essays on themes in and around daily life, kept relatively short, and placed appropriate photographs for each item. The first edition of this book was published in 1999, and at the moment, there were very few books that presented photography and writing together in this way.

 

This time, the title and style of the book were changed in order to make it more accessible to the general reader. Many of the photographs in the examples have been changed, and some new sentences have been added in place of some that were removed. The first book was filled with text centered on documentation, based on the idea that ‘photographs are landscapes of time’, but this time the emphasis was on artistry. This is because, while documentation is undoubtedly an important value of photography, photography as pure art, which is outside of documentation, is no less important. Digital photography has recently become very popular, and changes are expected in the art of photography. I did not add extra articles about digital photography because the origin of photography has fundamentally not changed. It is also my opinion that photography will improve as photography.

 

Photography starts is firmly established as the center of culture, in the art field, and it is an exaggeration to say that an understanding of photography has become an essential subject for educated people. One can only hope that this little booklet will be able to keep up with the conditions of our times.

 

Text / Han Chungshik

Photography as the Path toward Arts:

A Practical Advice for Creative Photography

 

A few years ago, I retired from the Department of Photography at Chung-Ang University, where I had worked for 20 years. Upon retirement, my first thought was that I should pay more attention to amateur photographers. Since the professional group was growing up with many younger artists and critics than I was, I thought that I should leave it to them and help the amateur artists, especially those who were trying to take a step forward and make meaningful photographs.

 

First of all, I was an amateur photographer. I started a life as a photographer and won a prize in a newspaper photography contest. At that time, I had no intention of becoming a photography expert. I was just trying my best to take pictures as part of my hobby, to enrich my life. What was most disappointing and frustrating at that time was what kind of pictures were good pictures and how to take such pictures. I had a sincere desire to take good pictures, but I could not take good pictures only with a sincere desire. However, there were only a few technical books on photography. I still remember the disappointment that there was no one to teach me and no place to learn.

 

Secondly, as is the case in any country, the gap in photographic awareness between professionals and amateurs is too wide for them to communicate with each other. The gap in perception between professionals and amateurs is much wider than in other art worlds. It is a problem that someone has to step up and solve, and I found myself as an adaptable instructor to fill the gap. I have experienced life as an amateur photographer and am therefore relatively familiar with the itches and concerns of amateur photographers, also I have been involved in photographic education for about 20 years. Moreover, I have published several books there, especially, ‘Introduction to the Art of Photography’ which has been popular with amateur artists as well as teachers in universities and has been on the board for more than 20 years. It is for these reasons that I felt compelled to do what I did.

 

The book attempts to be compatible with the theory and the practical in photography. I have chosen elements that are directly relevant to the production of artworks and have tried to describe them in as much detail as possible in a way that is easy to understand. However, I dealt very little with technical issues. Not only are there already many books on technology, but technology is a side issue, especially since the camera has developed so much recently that technology is no longer useful. It is not possible to write a book that focuses on practical skills and completely ignores theory. In particular, we see photographic perception as the most important aspect of photography, and we have included basic, central theory here and there to instill the correct photographic perception. I have tried to include as many examples of photographs as possible, as well as detailed explanations. I wanted to make this book practically useful for the production of my work.

 

 

Text / Han Chungshik

Photography as a Genre of Arts

 

This book is a concise and easy-to-understand summary of the process of photography's establishment as an independent art form. After outlining the major trends that led to the establishment of photography as an art form. I clarify and explain the awareness, experimentation, and problems associated with the turning points in the process. In particular, the second part of the book contains specific discussions on the style and individuality that photography as an art form should possess and is designed to be very useful in understanding not only the artistic development of photography but also various issues in photographic aesthetics.

 

When I moved to study at the Department of Photography at Nihon University College of Art, I attended a class by Professor Kanemaru on ‘The Art of Photography’, which was based on this book. Unfortunately, he passed away in the late fall of the following year after that lecture became the last one. After getting back to South Korea, I began to teach photography in the Department of Photography at Chung-Ang University College of Art and Design, and I taught my students based on this book. However, the contents of this book are too good to be simply used as teaching materials for college students. I wanted the book to be read not only by university students but also by ordinary readers. It is just at this time that interest and research in photography are beginning to take off in earnest, and writing about photography is becoming more and more active. I translated his text with the hope that the edition would become a cornerstone of the effective study of photography in Korea.

 

I have to say one thing in advance. I deleted a small part of the original copy; it is about Japanese technical content. I reckon this is not necessary for Korean photography. I did for concerning Dr. Kanemura.

 

 

Text / Han Chungshik

Photography is, basically, an art of time and an art of light.

 

I always realize that photography has a fragile constitution that makes it difficult to stand alone outside of temporality, but nevertheless, I try to escape from temporality. It is not for being different, because I thirst to fully enjoy the vast space outside of temporality.

 

Herbert Read once said, “All art aspires to the state of music.” This is a tribute to the abstraction of music, but it also means that all art seeks freedom at its core. As long as photography is a fine art, it has to seek freedom by destiny. Rather freedom could be hugely tempting in photography due to the limit; it cannot escape from its formation.

However, when it leads to an attempt to expand the scope of photography, I insist it functions as a novel work toward possibilities.

 

Photography is, basically, an art of time and an art of light.

When we say that photography is an ‘art of light’, we are referring to an attitude that recognizes the autonomy of light and respects it as an independent material, not just as a tool for taking pictures. Although visual meaning is not expressed and conveyed solely by light, I believe that photography, especially black and white photography, has many different possibilities compared with other mediums. The autonomy of light leads to the autonomy of the image, and ‘image autonomy’ is another goal of pure photography.

 

The autonomy of the image can be further enhanced through ‘the visual meaning’. When it comes to the visual meaning, it is told the visual encounter that is impossible to express like nonverbal language, so-called ‘the visualized non-deja-vue adventure’ by photography and objects.

It is one of my goals to find a path to modern photography here, and it is also an important reason for my focus on 'visual meaning'.

 

 

Text / Han Chungshik

GOYO I

 

Photography is at its most powerful when it's about people's lives by reason of time is power in photography. Time has meaning in life. Where life has evaporated, time becomes meaningless. The connotation that photography is an art with time indicates the value of photography is maximized when it is used to record human life. Furthermore, photography is the art of light. Light is, first of all, the basic method of reproducing an object. Yet so far, the term “art of light” would be an understatement. Light is not only the means of photography but also the object itself. We take pictures with light, but we also take pictures of light. I imagine light invented photography in order to praise itself. In particular, light is brighter in ontological photography without human events.

 

The photography, Goyo(Serenity) is my interest in the source of existence. Existence is silent. Not because it is quiet, but because the state of being is fundamentally quiet. This is where the title Goyo(Serenity) comes from. Being is alone. Being alone seems to be lonely, but that loneliness doesn’t mean human loneliness. It is only the existential aspect of being alone that is lonely. As a result, it is the existential aspect of being alone that is lonely. In my photography, I took water grass, and stones as my objects, but I did not approach them in the sense that existence originates them. I followed my footsteps to the water's edge, and when I sat down at the water's edge, I could see the stones in it, and I could see the grass, and I captured them as they were. My heart found water, grass, and stones without intention but logic, thus, they are myself in my mind.

 

The title ‘Goyo(Serenity) refers to the source of the object, but it comes from my name. My given name is ’Chungshik’, but ‘Shik’ is a generation name, hence, I have only ‘Chung’ as my own name, and ‘Chung’ stans for ‘serenity’, it contains the meaning of ‘GOYO’ in Korean. Furthermore, the character ‘Shik’ stans for clear water, so I feel like I'm circling around the name, or maybe my photography has finally found its place through my name. My photography is around my name if the name reflects me. I might be lying around the name that I gave by destiny.

 

May 2002

Articles / Han Chungshik

What is the perfection that I aim for?

 

The first time I released Goyo(serenity) was in 2002. I thought that my photographs were beginning from now on when I had announced it. My previous work might have been draft photography in my thought, even though I didn’t show my prospects to anyone. As far as I realized, I found that my previous ones were kind of studies when I started to Goyo series.

 

The beginning of my photography means that Goyo is the origin point toward the level of completion. However, it is just the first attempt and it is not the result. Therefore, it could be the draft because it is in the process. If so, what does mean to publish the Goyo series? Finally, the completion work would be the last work because I will develop my work and so on.

 

Nevertheless, no matter what I announce my work, every work has to be estimated by the public. Who knows someone’s final and perfect work? Some ended up with the first work as the last work and admired it was a masterpiece for the public. For example, Robert Frank's ‘The American’ is his debut and his masterpiece, even though it's not his first work. William Klein is not different. Cartier-Bresson has no debut, no masterpiece, just a whole bunch of works. I am perchance like them. My second Goyo series could be a masterpiece without the next. I nailed it as the second, and I plan to complete them as the Goyo trilogy, but it might be impossible in the end. I can’t help it if it is out of my ability.

 

The third one will take quite a while. I don't intend to release a work under the name of Goyo(Serenity) in it. Otherwise, I am satisfied, I will not use the title Goyo anymore. It is feasible the third Goyo will never released due to my shortage, it must be sad, but it is not under my control.

 

Overall, what is the perfection that I aim for?

It is simple, ‘taking photography’, that is all.

Existence is Serene

 

 

Roads lead to towns where people live, I believe the road in photography comes to people likewise. When it conveys people's scent and hears their breath, photography becomes THE PHOTOGRAPHY. Photography is the art of time, cutting and saving a slice of time in reality.

There are also trails that lead out of the village and into the forest. It's a road less traveled, with lush trees and the fresh scent of grass. It is secluded and tranquil, attracting people who want to be alone. Here, photography od light has surfaced from; running away from reality and physical time.

Photography is not only an art of time but also an art of light. Just as photography establishes itself in temporality, it reveals itself in the autonomy of light. Light is not just a simple means of ‘equivalent exposure’ to reveal matters. When light shines as light, it acquires autonomy. Light is

a method to express an object, a way to magnify an object. Light is an element in photography, yet so far, photography was perhaps created for light in my perception.

Within time, all beings flow.

Flow is narrative. It creates context, it builds logic. Beyond time, the flow is broken, and context and logic disappear. A pre-life existence appears there.

There is no life and no death in existence.

Look at that forest. The flowers are always there, and the water flows as it did yesterday and today,

Existence is here and there, no need for reason.

The silent rock is standing there, there is no need for a reason.

Existence is beautiful. It is not beautiful by its beautiful appearance.

One is beautiful by its pure beauty, and it exists itself.

Existence is serene. It is as still as a light illuminating around.

 

The serene is ‘GOYO’, and ‘GOYO’ is my name.

 

Text / Han Chungshik

 

사물을 벗어날 때 사진은 홀로 설 수 있다. 사물 아닌 사진을 찍는 일. 그 때 사진은 찍힌다.

 

현재의 순수 사진의 문제점은 그것이 사진만의 성과를 거두게 해 주지 못한다는 데에 있다. 그 성과는 음악이 거둘 수 있고 미술이 할 수 있고 문학이 이룰 수 있는 성과와 다르지 않다. 사진이 그 재현성에 정체성을 두고 작업할 때 사진 독자적 가치가 창출된다. 그것은 다른 어떤 예술로도 거둘 수 없는 성과다.

 

그러나 바이올린이 거두는 성과를 피아노로도 얻을 수 있다고 해서 바이올린의 존재 이유가 사라지는 것은 아니다. 그처럼 음악적 성과나 미술의 성과가 문학이 이루는 성과와 별로 다르지 않다고 해서 문학만이 예술로서의 지위를 누리는 것은 아니다. 결과적 성과가 같을지는 몰라도 이르는 과정이 서로 다름으로 해서 그 의미와 가치는 따로 가지게 되는 것이다. 순수 사진은 그래서 존재 이유가 있고 가치가 있는 것이기도 하다. 애초에 모든 예술의 목표는 같은 곳에 있었다. 가는 길이 달랐을 뿐. 그렇다고는 해도 그래도 사진만의 고유성을 찾는 길은 없을까 하는 것이 나의 고민이었다. 사진의 정체성을 지키면서 예술에 도달할 수 있는 길 찾기. 음악이 거두는 성과나 문학이 이루어내는 것과 같은 결과를 이룰 뿐이라면 굳이 사진을 해야 할 이유가 없지 않을까 하는 고민이었던 것이다. 사진을 해야만 하는 이유, 사진을 고집해야 할 이유가 분명 있을 거라고 생각한 것이다. 그러다 찾아낸 것이 존재론적 사진이었다. 존재론에 관한 한 사진을 따를 매체는 따로 없다고 판단한 것이다. 유사 예술에 영화가 있지만 영화는 움직이는 사진(활동사진)일 뿐 아니라 영화는 동영상이기 때문에 기록에 적합하고, 존재론에 관한 한 정지 영상이 이상적이라고 생각한 것이다.

 

존재론에 관한 한 사진이 가장 알맞다고 하는 것은 사진의 고유한 능력인 재현성에 바탕을 두면서 재현성에 머물지 않는다는 점 때문이다. 존재론적 사진의 바탕은 재현성에 있다. 그 재현성이 다른 매체로서는 이룰 수 없는 성과를 이루게 한다. 그러면서도 존재 자체의 재현 기능에 머물지 않는 것은 존재를 제시하는 데 머물지 않기 때문이다.

존재를 바탕으로 하면서도 존재를 넘어 영원이라든가 진리라든가 또는 그리움이라든가 하는 초월적 가치 창출을 향한다. 종착지가 없다는 것, 가서 머물러야 할 곳을 두지 않는다는 것, 거기에 존재론적 사진의 의미가 있다. 시가 언어의 고유 가치인 의미 전달 기능을 바탕으로 하되 의미에 머물지 않음과 경우가 같다. 내가 쓴『사진과 현실(2003년, 눈빛)』속의 ‘순수 사진론’은 사실상 순수 사진을 지향하는 사람들에 대한 지침 이전에 이러한 내 사진적 입장에 대한 백서였다. 순수 사진에 대한 내 입장, 존재론으로 기운 이유이다. 물론 이것만이 전부일 수는 없다.

 

예술은 그 분야의 선택에서부터 예술을 하지 않을 수 없는 필연성에 이르기까지 전적으로 개인적인 것으로 거기에 무슨 이유가 있고, 의미가 있고 한 것은 아니라고 본다. 그러한 확실한 이유를 가지고 출발한 사람이 있다면 그는 존경받아야 할 특이한 사람이고 대개의 예술가들이 예술에 종사하는 이유는 어쩔 수 없기 때문이다. 제가 하고 싶어서 하는 것일 뿐 이유가 있고 의미가 있어서 하는 것이 아니다. 거기에 붙은 이유는 대개 나중에 만들어진 것, 이 글처럼 하나의 변명에 지나지 않을 뿐이다.

내 사진은 사물의 존재로 향하고 있다.

 

 

내 사진은 사물의 존재로 향하고 있다. 특히 물, 돌, 풀 등 자연 자체에 대한 관심이요. 애정이라 해도 좋다. 이것이 무엇일까 생각해 보았다. 내가 왜 자연으로 눈을 돌린 것일까. 사람 얘기, 사람 사는 사회에 대한 관심이 사진의 주요 관심사항이요. 사진의 정체성을 거기에서 찾는 것이 보편적 사진 인식임은 잘 알지만, 그리고 나 자신 그런 것에 관심이 없는 것은 아니지만, 보다 내 눈을 끄는 것은 대개의 경우 인간을 떠난 자연이다. 현실도피가 아닐까 생각해 본 적도 있다. 그리고 그런 면도 전혀 없는 것은 아닐 것이다.

 

언제나 내 가슴을 울렁이게 하는 것은 자연이다. 그처럼 자연을 마주하면 언제나 마음이 통하는 사람을 만난 듯 가슴이 트인다. 자연이 어떤 구체적 메시지로 다가오는 것은 아닐지언정 그런 구체적 메시지보다 더 절실한 메시지를 그 자연에서 느낌으로 받아들이게 된다. 내가 지향하는 자연의 사진이란 이런 것이다. 아름다운 자연 풍광의 재현이 아니라, 그 속 깊이 잠겨 있을 시원에 대한 향수, 하늘이 열리던 때의 그 아득함을 생각한다.

 

내가 진작부터 모색해 오던 어떤 경지, '적정 적멸(寂靜寂)' 곧 '공(空)의 경지라는 것도 결국은 사물의 근원적 존재 양태에서 크게 벗어나지 않으리라는 것이 내 생각이다. 움직임이 사라진 고요. 움직임도 움직임 아님도 아닌 고요. 다시 말해서 생성, 소멸을 벗어나 형태도 사라지고 존재감마저 느껴지지 않는 그런 경지. 소설가 김훈의 글에 나오는 이야기이지만, 구르는 자전거 바퀴의 중심에는 움직임이 없다 한다. 중심이 움직이면 바퀴는 구를 수가 없다 한다. 대신 밖의 테두리가 요란하게 움직인다는 것이다. 태풍의 눈이 그러하듯 모든 움직임의 중심은 결국 고요하다는 뜻이다.

 

모든 존재의 근원이면서 동시에 종말인 거기에 '공'은 열려 있다. 그 곳에 이르고자 하는 것이 내 <고요>의 또 하나의 목표, 아니 보다 커다란 바람이기도 하다. 그러나 이는 단순한 욕심일지도 모른다. 왜냐 하면 너무나 아득한 목표일 뿐 아니라, 사진, 아니 인간의 어떤 언어로도 이룰 수 없는 꿈이기 때문이다. 그리고 위에서 잠시 썼듯 비언어적 매체를 통한 관념의 영상화는 일종의 모험이다. 오히려 내 의도를 벗어나 전혀 다른 의미로 확산되지 않는다는 보장도 없다. 그리하여 그 언저리까지만 가도 좋겠다는 마음으로 이 고요II 작업을 하였다.

 

2013. 5

한정식

Nirvana, Extinction and Emptiness

 

In the pauses between movement and movement, time reveals itself. Goyo(Serenity) is the essence of time, the moment when time without a body creates a body.
At the moment of completion, matters cease, and it is death. Death is the return to serenity. It is a return to the source, to the original self.

My photography is directed towards the existence of matters. In particular, it is an interest, an affection, for the existence of nature itself: water, stones, grass, etc. My attention always heads to the nature that left human societies. Mother nature constantly touches my heart with infinity messages. I still remember the excitement when I saw Ansel Adams's photograph of Mount Williamson, and I can't help but be mesmerized by the greatness of nature. It is not the reproduction of beautiful natural scenery, but the nostalgia for the pristine nature that must be deeply submerged in it, the feeling of the heavens opening up. I have been longing to take photographs of it, I am trying, and I have to. And yet, I am looking at each object and taking them I'm just standing in front of the landscape. I am craving to go there, but I haven't found the way yet. In front of the beautiful nature, in front of the magnificent scenery, I am just standing dumbfounded and speechless. I didn’t find a way where the majesty of nature is felt spontaneously by the powerful breath of the primeval as breathing and watching.

I handle my work to find the way through objects, and it shifts me to the primordial in the end. There must be a memory of the opening of the heavens and the earth hidden in the DNA of the matters I am watching now. I do want to find it, and I am eager to take photographs when I unfold it, the drama of creation unfolds there. In the flowers, in the trees, in the rocks, and in the flowing water, there must be some vivid memories of the primeval era. I am searching for the DNA that is imprinted there and will never be erased.

I believe that the state of photography that I have been seeking for a long time, the state of ‘Nirvana, Extinction and emptiness’, will not deviate much from the fundamental mode of existence of matters after all. A serenity is neither movement nor non-movement, is neither movement nor non-movement, and is beyond creation and annihilation, also it has no form and no sense of existence; serenity is both the source and the end of all existence, and it exposes. Trying to reach the state is an attempt of my work, Goyo(Serenity). Goyo is the origin of existence. It is also nirvana and extinction, and the photography work is a footstep toward the emptiness.

I desire to hear the sound of the wind on the day the heavens opened and feel the echo of the earth when it first rose. Besides, I desire to feel the tiny touch of the first blade of grass that sprouted into the earth on my fingertips.

 

February 2010
Han Chungshik

My photographs are directed toward the existence of matters.

 

My photography is directed towards the existence of things. In particular, an interest in nature itself: water, stones, grass. You could call it affection. Why my eyes are stuck on nature? Most photographers focus on the human society around me, and I am interested in it likewise, but nature, which is far away from human affairs catches my eye. I have been wondering if it is an escape from reality, and it might be.

 

The nature that always makes my heart swell. I always feel like I've met someone who understands me every time I encounter nature. It may not come to me with a specific message though, I perceive that I receive a message from nature. then such a specific message. This is the kind of nature photography I aim for. It is not a reproduction of a beautiful natural landscape, but a nostalgia for the tranquility that must be deep within it, and a sense of wonder when the sky opens.

 

I believe that the state I have been searching for a long time, the state of “silence and nirvana” and “emptiness” will not deviate much from the fundamental state of existence of matters in the end. In other words, it is a state of silence that is neither movement nor non-movement, videlicet, it is a state of being that is beyond creation and destruction, where there is no form and no sense of existence.

 

The emptiness is open in the place; the beginning and the end of all existence at a time. To reach the place is my final goal of my serene and even greater desire. It could be mere greed because it is not only a very distant goal, but also a dream that cannot be realized through photography or any human language. And as I mentioned above, the visualization of my ideas through a non-verbal medium is an adventure. Moreover, my work might be widely spread as being misunderstood my connotation.
Nevertheless, I release Goyo Ⅱ with the hope that I may reach near the emptiness I was eager to be.

 

Text / Han Chungshik

고 요 I

 

사진은 사람의 생활을 대상으로 할 때 가장 큰 힘을 발휘한다. 사진이 시간 예술인 탓이다. 시간은 생활 속에서 의미를 갖는다. 생활이 증발한 곳에서는 시간도 발을 멈춘다. 시간이란 변화의 단위이거니와, 인간에게 의미 있는 변화란 우리 삶의 변화, 곧 생활인 것이다. 사진이 시간 예술이라는 말은 이렇게 생활 기록의 수단으로 쓰일 때에 사진의 가치가 극대화된다는 데에서 온다.

 

사진은 시간의 예술이지만, 빛의 예술이기도 하다. 빛은 우선, 대상의 재현을 위한 기본 수단이다. 그러나 이에 그친다면 빛의 예술이라는 말의 내용이 너무 빈약해진다. 빛은 사진의 수단일 뿐 아니라, 대상 그 자체이기도 하다. 빛으로 사진을 찍지만, 사진으로 빛을 찍기도 한다. 어쩌면, 빛이 스스로를 찬양하기 위해 사진술을 발명한 것인지도 모른다. 특히, 생활이 배제된 사진, 이벤트가 없는 존재론적 사진에서 빛은 더욱 빛난다.

 

사진「고요」는 존재의 근원에 대한 나의 관심이다. 존재는 고요하다. 고요해서 고요한 것이 아니라, 존재의 상태가 근원적으로 고요한 것이다. 「고요」라는 제목은 여기 유래한다. 존재는 홀로 존재한다. 홀로 있음으로써 외양이 외로워 보일는지는 모르나, 그 외로움이라는 것이 그렇다고 인간적 고독감과 관계되는 것은 물론 아니다. 홀로 있음의 실존적 양태가 외로울 뿐이다. 이 홀로 있는 존재란 그래서 고요할 수밖에 없다. 이들 사진에서 나는 물과 그 속의 풀이나 돌들을 대상으로 삼았다. 그러나 존재가 물에 근원한다는 뜻에서 물로 접근한 것은 아니었다. 나의 발길이 가는 대로 따르다 보니 물가였고, 그 물가에 앉아 보니 그 속의 돌이 보이고 풀이 보여 그들을 그대로 잡아 본 것이다. 작품이 그 사람이라는 말이 그래서 나온 것일 게다. 물가를 찾은 것이나 그 속의 풀과 돌에 관심을 갖게 된 것이 모두 결국은 내 심성이 그려낸 나의 모습일 테니까.

 

「고요」라는 제목은 대상의 근원의 경지를 말한 것이지만, 실은 내 이름이기도 하다. 내 이름은 '정식'이지만, '식'은 돌림자, 곧 형제간의 공통된 이름이고, '한'이라는 성은 가족의 이름이니, 순수한 내 이름은 '정'뿐인데. 이 '정'이 한자로 '고요 정(靜)'자인 것이다. 말이 씨가 된다고 하더니, 결국 이름이 씨가 되어 나도 모르게 내가 끌려 든 것이 아닌가 모르겠다. 더구나 돌림자인 '식(湜)'자도 물이 맑다는 뜻이니, 이름 근처에서 맴을 돌다 만 것만 같다. 아니, 어쩌면 이제 비로소 내 사진이 제 자리를 찾은 것은 아닐까 하는 생각도 든다. 이름이 나라면, 이름 근처에서 맴을 돌고 있는 사진이 내 사진일 수밖에 없기 때문이다. 팔자 도망은 못한다더니 이름도 팔자인지, 결국은 이름에 묶여 이름 근처에 주저앉고만 느낌이다.

 

2002년 5월

글 / 한정식

고요 III

 

사진이라는 것이 그 특성상 시간성에서 벗어나서는 홀로 서기 어려운 허약 체질임을 늘 실감하지만 그럼에도 불구하고 시간성에서 벗어나고자 나는 애를 쓴다. 남다르기를 원해서가 아니라 시간성 밖의 그 드넓은 공간을 마음껏 누려 보고 싶다는 마음에서이다

 

허버트 리드는 "모든 예술은 음악의 상태를 동경한다"고 했다. 음악의 추상성에 대한 찬사이겠지만, 모든 예술은 근본에서 자유를 추구한다는 뜻일 것이다. 사진 역시 순수예술을 지향하는 한 자유로움은 생리가 될 수밖에 없다. 오히려 구체적 형태를 벗어나지 못하는 사진의 한계성으로 해서 그런 '자유'는 더 강한 유혹일 수도 있다. 물론 유혹에 몸을 맡기는 것은 자칫 한량의 놀이로 전락하기 쉬운 함정일 수도 있다. 그러나 그것이 사진의 영역을 넓히고자 하는 시도로 이어질 때 이는 가능성을 향한 새로운 작업으로 기능하리라는 것이 내 생각이다.

 

사진은 그 근본에서 시간 예술임과 동시에 빛의 예술이다.

사진이 '빛의 예술'이라는 말은 빛이 사진을 찍는 단순 도구를 넘어, 빛 자체의 자율성을 인식하고 '빛'을 하나의 독립된 소재로 존중하는 태도를 이르는 말이다. 오로지 빛에 의해서라야 시각적 의미가 표현, 전달되는 것은 아니겠지만 여타의 매체로는 구하기 어려운 여러 가지 가능성이 이 빛에 있는 것으로 그것이 사진이요, 특히 흑백사진이 아닐까 하는 생각이다. 이 빛의 자율성은 곧 영상의 자율성으로 이어지거니와 '영상의 자율성'은 순수사진의 또 하나의 지향점이기도 하다.

 

영상의 자율성은 '시각적 의미'를 통해 완성도를 보다 높일 수 있다. 의미라면 '문학적 의미'를 생각하는 것이 일반적 인식이지만, 그러나 들리고, 보이고, 느껴져도 언어의 좁은 폭으로는 도저히 바꿔낼 수 없는 청각적, 시각적 체험이나 육감을 대개는 가지고 있을 것이다. 그처럼 말이나 글로는 도저히 표현할 수 없는 의미가 이 세상에는 얼마든지 있다. 이해하기 쉬운 것으로 무한한 자연의 스펙트럼 같은 것도 있지만, 그러한 단순 경험 말고도 빛과 사물이 만들어내는 전혀 새로운 '시각적 의미가 있다. 언어만이 아니라 어떠한 매체로도 표현 불가능한 시각적 체험을 말하는 것으로, 아직까지 경험해 보지 못한 새로운 빛의 세계, 카메라와 사물이 빚어내는 시각적 '비기시체험(non-dejavue)'이라 할 일종의 육감적 체험을 뜻한다. 소위 '현대사진'으로의 길을 여기에서 찾고자 하는 것이 내 목표의 하나로, '시각적 의미'에 매달리는 중요한 이유이기도 하다.

 

글 / 한정식

Feet: A Life Form that Appears in Nature

 

 

Han Chungshik published a collection of his Trees series in 1990. Seeing the expression of trees captured by Han’s lens, I pick up in my own eyes what I need to learn about the eye of a photographer. The way Han Chungshik looks at his subject is a world of transcendence, a limitless breadth of form. Han’s tree is not a common tree that criminals encounter. The tree, a plant, approaches me in human form.

 

I like George Balanchine's choreography because Balanchine is also an aestheticist of the female body, and I have encountered the female body of the Han Chungshik’s tree more times than I can count. It is the source of life, the water current that runs through our spirit. The visual experience of a tree transforming into a female body, a torso into a face, opens my ignorant eyes. The wood of the Han Chungshik’s photographs is the annual rings on the bare skin like an elephant's back leather, the texture like a protoplasm or even a quality, the powerful curves similar to the formation as if before the muscle-like cement dries, “Breathe!” from his unhinged lens. After a series of trees, Han Chungshik has been on his feet for a little over a decade. His obsession with a certain subject is a solitary step in a world that he has isolated from the rest of the world through the lens of his own. His cool stature, dark-rimmed glasses, and simultaneous outbursts of words make his obsessive warlord look stubborn and obstinate to me.

Even in Han’s feet series, for example, the knee region is again encountered with the embarrassingly mysterious female body ridge, as if he were an explorer of light. The subjects he encounters, for example, a broken piece of china, a fruit, and a mass of iron touch on the strangeness of removing traces of man and nature. I think so because human drama is a theme in his work. It is clear that the eroticism of a toe that has slipped between his knees is also a continuous line with a certain borderline of his tree work. His eroticism is like the ephemeral inspiration of a hidden leaf instead of emphasizing it. Often emphasized or exposed eroticism is sometimes vulgar, yet, the sexual provocations that reach our eyes again when we hide and examine their concealment are fresh in that aspect.

 

His feet series also appears to have remained in physical form before being the feet of the body. A few hairs remain on the steep tips of the body's tresses as if they were natural vegetation. Like a few grasses blooming in the desert, Han’s photography is therefore drawing nature into his feet. Even what looks like a small place buried in the sand is therefore part of nature. The foot gate of the foot that appeared clearly was an unexpected protrusion that erupted diagonally upward, but, the foot gate wet by the cheers sweats happily.

 

The human body of the tree, the nature of the foot, breathes freely from the perspective of Han Chungshik’s cosmology. When he cooks his subject, his work is given its own value beyond what others have already shown him. It is a new expansion of aesthetics and the awakening of another wonder, like the destiny he has walked, but I believe that the slow progress of a single theme is the fruit of competence.

 

Poet Kim Young-tae

Tree

 

I am publishing my first book of photographs.

 

I would like this book to be the first signpost as the starting point of my photography, and at the same time, to confirm the foundation of my photographic practice in the following several points.

 

First, it is my faith in true realism. Since Lifestyle-oriented photography entered this region under the name of realism, it has done much to establish a new photographic aesthetics, but because of the lack of a thick layer of photography in this region, Lifestyle-oriented photography has become a monopoly as if it were the only form of realism, a phenomenon that is not very desirable. I feel that this is a very undesirable phenomenon. It was not a very useful phenomenon for the diversification of photography. At the same time, I felt that this lifestylist photography was too extroverted to recognize the infinite space of the world and the universe, and the absolute time of existence and extinction, and to sink deeply into me and into nature, and that it should be a vessel for dealing with the essential issues of life with its utilitarianism. In this way, I came to feel that the huge mountain range of that great and true realism, starting with Alfred Stieglitz and leading to Edward Weston, and Ansel Adams, was in that sense a hedge that I should wind around and live with. That does not mean that my work this time and in the future will be an imitation or inheritance of theirs. It only means that I accept the antecedents of their seeker-like sublime quest and their attitude as the essence of realism and try to build my home on that foundation, even if it is in a grass-roofed three-room house.

 

Secondly, it shows my interest in eroticism. Not only does eroticism not mean frivolous sexual stimulation or interest, but for me eroticism is seen as a life sensation. In other words, it has been grasped by me not as a means of life extension aimed at overcoming death, but rather as a life phenomenon that is a complete end in itself and an extension of death, as self-annihilation. For me, eroticism is an eternal thirst, the very hot spring from the depths of that life. It is the scent of thick skin, the painful flow of blood, the gorgeous melancholy, emptiness, eternity, and death itself.

The fact that this eroticism is relative to the merit of art is also connected to the original purity of art, and the fact that the artistic act and eroticism are both combustion and catharsis, with a deep abyss of emptiness behind it, is somehow thought-death-like, and all the pure emotions of beauty, nostalgia, loneliness, etc., are the basis of this eroticism and death. The fact that eroticism is based on death was also a factor in my interest in eroticism.

In any case, this eroticism as a life sensation based on the essence of existence and the deepest depths of being is a major vein of mine that I will continue to dig into in the future.

 

Finally, there is to search for the Korean style in photography. What is the Korean style? This is not to be discovered in photographs of the folk village or roofs of Korean traditional thatched houses. I believe that the search for creating photographs that have a Korean flavor, no matter what is photographed, is a major challenge that not only I, but all Korean photographers, must seriously consider, even if this challenge is too difficult to solve. Therefore, I will consider this as homework that I must continue to explore in my next and subsequent work, and try not to be impatient. However, I hope that others can feel some traces of my efforts from the tree I have included here, from my eyes that grasp him, and from my skill in handling him, in the sense that I want to confirm to myself that my search for the Korean style has grown at the foundation of my consciousness, but at the same time, this is a reaffirmation of my existence as a photographer. But it is also a reaffirmation of my existence as a photographer.

 

With this, I have shot my first arrow. The second arrow is in preparation. How close this arrow comes to its target is the expectation I place on my photographs. I don't dream of a fluke. I may end up not putting even an arrow on the target. But the more important question is how far I will be able to live up to this beacon I have set up here, how many times I will take off my mask and become new. In the end, I will reveal that I dared to put out this collection of photographs here as a standard by which to measure my stature.

 

Text / Han Chungshik

GOYOⅠ

 

‘Goyo(Serenity)’ is my concern for the roots of existence. Existence is quiet. It is not quiet because it is quiet, but because the state of being is fundamentally quiet. This is where the title ‘Goyo(Serenity)’ comes from. Existence exists alone. Being alone may appear lonely on the outside, but that loneliness is not necessarily related to human loneliness. It is just the existential aspect of being alone that is lonely. This being alone, therefore, must be quiet. In these photographs, I have focused on water, grass and stones within it. But I did not approach the water in the sense that existence is rooted in water. I followed my feet to the water's edge, and when I sat down by the water's edge, I saw the stones in the water and the grass, and I tried to capture them as they were. I guess that's how I got the word that the work reflects the artist. I think that my search for the water's edge and my interest in the grass and stones in it is, after all, the image of me that my mind depicted.

 

Text / Han Chungshik

From Autumn to Winter

 

For now, I feel spring is like autumn. Not only spring, but also summer seems like autumn, winter is likewise, and even autumn is autumn. Winter will come soon. If possible, I hope that one day without dragging waiting, winter will suddenly arrive.

 

I moved into my small house in 2003, when I turned 60 years old. My flat is on the first floor, and the good thing about being on the first floor, besides the easy access, is that the backyard of the apartment is our courtyard. It was a little small, but it was not dangerous for my grandchildren to come out and play, and it was always nice to be in sight of my family. At the moment of moving, I was already retired from school. I became old. I was not deeply moved by my old age. It was just that I was fifty or sixty years older, and I didn't feel any emotion, especially sadness or pity, because of my age. However, I have grey hairs anyway.

 

In the fall of that year, I noticed the garden changing along with the sunlight, and I thought to myself, "Oh, that's how I grow old and die," and I began to take pictures of the garden, the trees and grass standing there, peering at the sunlight reflected in them, with him in mind. I don't know if I felt a little sad or not, but I just kept on taking photographs.

 

At the time of my retirement, I had spent a full 20 years and 6 months at the school where I worked. Oh well, I thought, if I live this long, I'll be going. I thought that if I lived this long, I would go, seeing as most people die around 85-86 years old. I reckoned I had exactly 20 years left until the general age of death. I didn't feel sorry or that I wanted to live a little longer, I was just aware of the fact that I had 20 years left to live.

 

Still, what I felt in that garden was the shadow of old age that had seeped into it. I felt my aging self in that garden. When I took those photographs, I saw only that kind of landscape outside. It must mean that I am surely that old. So I organized this collection of photographs ‘from Autumn to Winter.’

 

Text / Han Chungshik

Han Chungshik’s GOYO

 

Han Chungshik got his first camera in 1962, 55 years ago. At the first conference for the exhibition, he brought a photograph that he held his first camera in his 20s. He said he could not even imagine himself becoming a photographer. At the time, he was a school teacher, teaching high school students. Later, in 1968, he joined an amateur photography group called ‘Baek Young Hoe’ organized by Mr. Hong Sun-tae, and his life as a photographer began.

 

When he started his career as a photographer, Im Eungshik led the Korean photography trend known as ‘lifestyle Realism’. While many photographers were building their world of work within the framework of realism, Han took a slightly different path. He spoke of the path as a lonely road, and he could not go into realism documentary photography due to his personality, thus, he went to the outset of fine art photography. As he says, his path might be lonely, however, the Korean photography field became the category in which we can enjoy wider and more diverse perspectives. For more than 40 years, Han Chungshik has been pursuing abstraction through photography, an area that has been a brief experiment in Korean historiography, and it is impossible not to think that this is important for the diversity of Korean history.

 

One of the main reasons why his world of work has shone in the annals of Korean history is that he has accommodated and developed a new category of formalism, but above all, it is due to the fact that in the process of embracing it, he has found Korean style and developed it completely in his own unique way as a photographer, Han Chungshik. This has originated from his exclusive attitude of approaching the subject for photography and matters.

 

When he started taking photographs for the first time, he felt that the essence of photography was difficult to separate from its recording nature, so he began to record in detail the surrounding scenery that would soon disappear. The result was the ‘Bukchon’ series, a collection of works subtitled ‘My Seoul’. These photographs express the artist's affection for Seoul, where he was born and raised. The photographs meticulously depict the changing Seoul. Some people say that his other series of works are dissimilar to the ‘Bukchon series, but it is true that his early and future works are also very different from the Bukchon works. However, there are certainly some clues in his early photographs that will lead to his future works. The first clue is his attitude toward people. The artist depicts them as little as possible without provoking their emotions, and from a distance or even up close, he portrays them with the attitude logs of a thorough observer. This attitude of his then leads to a somber observer's attitude in dealing with things, which he has maintained throughout the series ‘Tree’ and ‘Feet’ and ‘Goyo(Serenity)’. While dealing with matters as if he were depicting only the shape of a person without confusing or hurting the feelings of the person in the work, he focused on the lines, surfaces, and colors that the thing had, but after developing and burning, the shape that came out on the photographic paper remained as it was, with the circle of connection with the surroundings gone, as the person had done. Another clue is the attitude of treating the subject in photography with diligent, and serious consideration. Just as he took pictures of familiar spaces by searching for the most appropriate frames through long hours of uninterrupted observation, his subsequent series also shows how much time he spent observing and searching for the right frame of mind for the subject matter. After such a long time of observation, the tree seems to take on the shape of a human body, and the human leg seems to be a part of the human body. It is thought that his basic attitude inevitably led him to complete his series of abstract photographs.

 

His abstract photography series culminated in the ‘Goyo’. In this series, the artist for the first time reaches the constant of serenity within matters as the term implies, without being bound by the form that things have. Spectators came to see concrete figures of matters in his photographs, but the subject in photography does not assert themselves. The artist remains in the frame of his paintings, and all the flowing things, such as time, movement of light, and sound, remain stationary, and he is conveying the image of ‘stillness’ to Korea.

 

There is one thing that is indispensable when we talk about the artist, Han Chungshik. He has been more prompt to inform us as a photographic theorist and educator than as a photographer. Probably no one who does photography in Korea could fail to read his book "Introduction to the Art of Photography. First published in 1986, the book has been steadily read for more than 30 years. Reflecting the meticulous nature of the artist, this book is a rare photographic theory book that provides a basic understanding of artistic photography and a general grasp of the mechanical characteristics of photography. Furthermore, the book and its subsequent translations and writings have made a significant contribution to the systematic grounding of photographic theory. He also trained many of his students while serving as a professor in the Department of Photography at Chung Ang University from 1982 to 2002. One of the reasons why the Department of Photography at Chung-Ang University is more oriented toward artistic photography than other universities and has produced some of the leading artists is certainly due in large part to the influence of the artist Han Chungshik. He was the first in Korea to establish a photographic society and publish a magazine to examine the direction in which the Korean history movement should go, and he also spared no effort to balance the direction of the true meaning of contemporary Korean history, which has been rapidly focusing on ‘making pictures’ since the early 1990s.

 

No one seems to disagree with the fact that Han has enriched Korean photography. Notably, his unique Korean abstract photography abundantly nourishes Korean photography history. The exhibition, Goyo(Serenity) will be the optimum opportunity to be pleased with the abstracted photographs that he has been devoting his lifetime to the audience.

 

2017

Jang Soongang

The curator, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea

On the Landscape Theory

 

Someone once said my photography shows affinity, and others had mentioned mine alongside the tone of a woodwind instrument. It is true that I am more of an examiner of things as they are than an analyzer, criticizer, and advocate. I love and accept them as they are. I just listen to how the matters resonate within me.

 

There is a word in Korean, ‘Gwanjo’, which means ‘contemplation’, in addition, there is ‘Jick-gwan’, which stands for ‘intuition’. I believe those words are deeply embedded in Korean consciousness, and I seriously consider the emotional truth of the moment to face the matters during my work.

 

Whether I take photographs of trees, feet, and landscapes, I wrap them in my emotions. Otherwise, the photographs don't reflect me. This is my constitution, and I reckon this is Northen Asian universal emotion including Korean.

 

It is hard to find the answer to the question quickly why I took the trees and feet for so many years. To be honest, I just took them. I took the pictures because I liked the tree, and the feet just happened to catch my eye and I started taking pictures. I visited the chord that the material created in my mind when I met them. I am still deeply interested in trees, I have been taking pictures of feet for more than ten years, I am still taking pictures of Seoul after 20 years, and I have been taking pictures of this scenery for more than ten years. This must be the encounter them, and it is my work.

 

I have been taking tons of Korean landscape photographs. While I do take pictures of nature as it is, my main focus is on cultural landscapes created by nature and people together. However, when nature cannot exist on its own and culture is not formed on its own, it is quite natural for the landscape to have human imprints on it. I have always thought of a landscape as a symphony of mountains, clouds, and all other things that come together, but the fact that the character of the people who live in the landscape is also deeply mixed in among these various things is a new experience that I gained through this work.

 

The landscape of Korea showed us the harmony between nature and human beings. After the harvest, the bundles of straw tied to the rice paddies were just as

ordinary Koreans had lived. It was not only straw bundles, of all things. It was also a piece of plastic often used in agriculture these days, as well as rocks, trees, and grass. They were similar in spirit to our ancestors, who had lived a simple and peaceful life in Korea. This is what I was trying to capture.

 

The landscape reflects the life of local people had done. I believe this corresponds to other countries like Japan and America both of which will have landscapes similar to theirs and people similar to their landscapes. I guess the landscape’s difference arises from the reason.

 

In addition, there are more photographs that I am interested in working on, such as ‘The map’, which is a picture of my country's territory, and "Seoul," which is my hometown. My interests are as diverse but I always trim them by my way. Whatever the object is, I sharpen and polish it in my own way. I remember the first time I opened the ‘tree’, and mumbled, “This is my wood carving”, as if even I did not understand. Especially during the development process, I was caught up in the thought that I was sharpening the wood by grinding, baking, and then putting on more wood. As with ‘Feet’, this landscape was also very carefully polished in my way. That is why I named it ‘Landscape Theory’.

 

This was the starting point of my photography. I had never grasped the subject as an objective entity in itself. For this reason, my tree is not just a tree, and my feet are neither, and my landscapes cannot be called just landscapes. But reality itself has no word that presupposes the substantiality of the object, and from the very beginning, there is no such thing as substance, nor can there be such a thing. Every object and its name are arbitrary, they are justified by the cognition of the subject. My photography is to hatch them through my body beat. I have never intentionally distorted the subject with any intention or will. As mother nature spread in front of me, my photography naturally came to form like that, published them with utmost sincerity.

 

My only hope is my photography is getting to have depth and remarkable weight as I age with myself.

 

Text / Han Chungshik

Bukchon

 

The artist, who was born and raised in the Bukchon area of Seoul, depicts the story of his hometown with more than 80 black-and-white photographs and text. Seoul entered the industrialization era in the late 1960s and underwent rapid changes. The artist felt saddened by the disappearance of the cozy Hanoks(Korean traditional houses) and charming alleys of Bukchon, which had preserved the look of a historical city for 500 years, and as a native of Seoul, he documented the remaining aspects of Seoul with his photographs.

Bukchon, located between Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, and Jongmyo, is a traditional residential area with a high concentration of hanok houses. In this book, the author shares his memories of 27 buildings, including the well-known Gahoe-dong, Anguk-dong, and Samcheong-dong, as well as Unni-dong, Sagan-dong, Nuha-dong, Gyeonji-dong, and Gye-dong, all of which still retain historical traces. The book takes advantage of photography as ‘a unique medium that becomes more luminous with the passage of time’, and vividly depicts the scenery of Bukchon.

GOYO III

 

Photographs have gradually become a larger part of the contemporary art field, and there are many cases in which photographs are colored, or several photographs are gathered together and presented as a single photograph. The so-called ‘compositional photography’ or ‘making photography’ has spread a sense of crisis in traditional photography. The process of photography, which reproduces the photographed reality on printed paper, has undergone a major change.

 

This book explores the identity of photography, focusing on the essence of photography as ‘temporality’ and ‘light’. The author assumes time and light to be the keywords of photography and considers so-called "made photographs" that ignore temporality to be paintings rather than photographs. The rejection of the "making photograph" is that it rejects the photographic mechanism of capturing the present state of things and that it cannot be placed in the category of photography because if time is lacking in a photograph, only the conversational nature will remain.

 

He stresses that photography is founded on the axes of time and light and that when it relies on these two axes, it can maintain its purity, and that "if other [pictorial] elements intervene, photography loses its purity and becomes a painting or another visual art that uses photography.

 

The amazing developments in photographic technology have recently been summed up in digital photography, and for the public, a camera now means a digital camera. The author devotes the last pages of the book to digital photography, and it is noteworthy that he sees the digitalization of photography as a positive change and development, in that the factuality of photography can be maintained even with digital photography.

 

This book is valuable as a theory of photography that does not rely on Western theory but comes out of the Korean photographic world, where there has been no discussion of photography until now. The author, who has been active as both a photographer and a photography educator, has written a valuable essay on the nature and future of photography based on his long-term experience and reasons for photography.

GOYOⅡ

 

My photography is directed towards the existence of things. In particular, an interest in nature itself: water, stones, grass. You could call it affection. Why my eyes are stuck on nature? Most photographers focus on the human society around me, and I am interested in it likewise, but nature, which is far away from human affairs catches my eye. I have been wondering if it is an escape from reality, and it might be.

 

Nature that always makes my heart swell. I always feel like I've met someone who understands me every time I encounter nature. It may not come to me with a specific message though, I perceive that I receive a message from nature. then such a specific message. This is the kind of nature photography I aim for. It is not a reproduction of a beautiful natural landscape, but a nostalgia for the tranquility that must be deep within it, and a sense of wonder when the sky opens.

 

I believe that the state I have been searching for a long time, the state of ‘silence and nirvana’ and ‘emptiness’ will not deviate much from the fundamental state of existence of matters in the end. In other words, it is a state of silence that is neither movement nor non-movement, videlicet, it is a state of being that is beyond creation and destruction, where there is no form and no sense of existence.

 

The emptiness is open in the place; the beginning and the end of all existence at a time. To reach the place is my final goal of my serene and even greater desire. It could be mere greed because it is not only a very distant goal, but also a dream that cannot be realized through photography or any human language. And as I mentioned above, the visualization of my ideas through a non-verbal medium is an adventure. Moreover, my work might be widely spread as being misunderstood my connotation. Nevertheless, I release Goyo Ⅱ with the hope that I may reach near the emptiness I was eager to be.

 

Text / Han Chungshik

Photography as a Genre of Arts

 

This book is a concise and easy-to-understand summary of the process of photography's establishment as an independent art form. After outlining the major trends that led to the establishment of photography as an art form. I clarify and explain the awareness, experimentation, and problems associated with the turning points in the process. In particular, the second part of the book contains specific discussions on the style and individuality that photography as an art form should possess and is designed to be very useful in understanding not only the artistic development of photography but also various issues in photographic aesthetics.

When I moved to study at the Department of Photography at Nihon University College of Art, I attended a class by Professor Kanemaru on ‘The Art of Photography’, which was based on this book. Unfortunately, he passed away in the late fall of the following year after that lecture became the last one. After getting back to South Korea, I began to teach photography in the Department of Photography at Chung-Ang University College of Art and Design, and I taught my students based on this book. However, the contents of this book are too good to be simply used as teaching materials for college students. I wanted the book to be read not only by university students but also by ordinary readers. It is just at this time that interest and research in photography are beginning to take off in earnest, and writing about photography is becoming more and more active. I translated his text with the hope that the edition would become a cornerstone of the effective study of photography in Korea.

I have to say one thing in advance. I deleted a small part of the original copy; it is about Japanese technical content. I reckon this is not necessary for Korean photography. I did for concerning Dr. Kanemura.

 

Text / Han Chungshik

The Art of Photography

 

This is a newly revised edition as the publisher. While changing boards, I changed a few texts, but there were no noticeable changes because there was not the biggest change in the photography situation during this period. I added only a few notes on digital photography, and then only made a few minor changes to phrases and examples that were distracting. When I see the state of photography in a few years and decide to back off again, I intend to make major revisions in one fell swoop. However, I have substantially switched example photographs and added more Korean photographers’ work.

In 2000, when the acronym for the second revised edition was used, the photographic education community in Korea was very active, and more than 40 photography-related departments had been established at various universities. However, only four years later, photography education experienced the inner problem. The confusion that has resulted from a lack of vision for the next few years, and the rash establishment of photography departments that were only attracted by the number of students who came as long as they had a sign on their wall, has led to today's confusion. Nevertheless, photography is now becoming the center of the cultural arts world. Leading museums and galleries have begun to open their doors to photography, and finally, a photography museum has been established. The number of photography dealers has also increased, and some regions are holding annual photography celebrations, even though it has not yet fully taken root. The labor pains of the photography department will be difficult for a while to catch its breath, but it will stabilize and develop further after structural adjustments.

As I mentioned before, the fact that this book has not yet been discarded for any purpose almost 20 years after its publication is gratifying to me as the author, but I think it is not very desirable for Korean photography. I hope that a better book will come out soon and I hope to receive much encouragement and support.

 

Text / Han Chungshik

Photography Stroll :

Photographic Stories from Daily Life

 

Teaching students is my profession, so I had no choice but to study photographic theory, and I have published several books on what I have studied to that extent. It is very rewarding as an author to see their books sold sustainably with relatively favorable reviews. I think this was partly by virtue of the fact that others have not shown much interest in writing such books. If it is fortunate for me as an author, it must be unfortunate for the Korean photography field.

In fact, the books I have published so far have been for aspiring professionals and have been a bit problematic for the general public to approach. Not only that, but the public's interest in and demand for the art of photography has skyrocketed, and yet there have been few booklets to guide them in a friendly manner. It seemed that something had to be done to rectify the situation.

This book was written for such a general audience. I have tried to unravel what photography is and what kind of art it is, as clearly and interestingly as possible. For this reason, the book was written in the form of essays on themes in and around daily life, kept relatively short, and placed appropriate photographs for each item. The first edition of this book was published in 1999, and at the moment, there were very few books that presented photography and writing together in this way.

This time, the title and style of the book were changed in order to make it more accessible to the general reader. Many of the photographs in the examples have been changed, and some new sentences have been added in place of some that were removed. The first book was filled with text centered on documentation, based on the idea that ‘photographs are landscapes of time’, but this time the emphasis was on artistry. This is because, while documentation is undoubtedly an important value of photography, photography as pure art, which is outside of documentation, is no less important. Digital photography has recently become very popular, and changes are expected in the art of photography. I did not add extra articles about digital photography because the origin of photography has fundamentally not changed. It is also my opinion that photography will improve as photography.

Photography starts is firmly established as the center of culture, in the art field, and it is an exaggeration to say that an understanding of photography has become an essential subject for educated people. One can only hope that this little booklet will be able to keep up with the conditions of our times.

 

Text / Han Chungshik

Photography and Reality :

Searching for the identity in photography

 

Two concerns preceded my attempt to publish the book. The first was whether it was really necessary to have such a discussion now. In fact, the idea for this book was conceived about 10 years ago. At that time, the so-called ‘making pictures’ was spreading like a fever in our photography field. There was even a feeling, especially, that this type of photography was the ‘new photography’ among emerging photographers and that conventionally straight photography was accepted as old-fashioned.

I thought this was not a good phenomenon. This was not a concern for the damage to the authority of the established generation, but rather a concern from the standpoint of photographic aesthetics. ‘Compositional photography’, which appeared in the name of so-called postmodernism and is referred to by the non-academic term ‘making pictures’, was after all only a passing fad. If postmodernism is the next step after modernism, it is all too obvious that another name will appear after that. Regardless of the name, fundamentally photography is just photography. Therefore, the idea is that such issues are not bound by time. Moreover, there has never been a serious discussion of this kind in our photographic community. I felt a pang of remorse at having to do something now that should have already been done, but I decided to write about it for the time being.

The second concern was my intellectual level. I guess I have been publishing books and artworks that released my lack of knowledge. Nevertheless, I am committing this folly again because I think it may still be of some small help to the Korean photography community. I decided to leave the deep and high-brow theory to the next generation and thought it would be meaningful to support people to want to know about in-depth photography.

When it came time to write the book, I was bumped against another problem: I did not want to turn the book into a photography textbook and describe it in a flat manner, even though it deals with the essential issues of photography. Moreover, it is impossible to examine photography in its entirety. Thus, I decided on only a few of them and decided to discuss them seriously. I believe it is a more fruitful approach to photography.

The amount of books I read also became an issue. Blame it on my laziness, but I never read burdensome books. It seemed unlikely that I would ever write an authoritative book but I had been thinking about photography not to compare with anyone. I had to do so in order to teach, but ‘photography’ is still a huge question that has never left the center of my brain. I think I have experienced enough now to be able to speak in my own words about my thoughts on photography. At the very least, I am confident that I can take responsibility for my words in my own way. I have spent more than 40 years as a photography professor. I would like to say thank you to the many disciples who were intertwined with me by fate during that time. They were there for me and I was able to grow up with them. Even away from those dealings, they have been my confidantes and neighbors. I will devote more time to photography from now on, but if a new idea about photography suddenly occurs to me, I will publish it, even if it is a short glow.

 

Text / Han Chungshik

Photography as the Path toward Arts:

A Practical Advice for Creative Photography

 

A few years ago, I retired from the Department of Photography at Chung-Ang University, where I had worked for 20 years. Upon retirement, my first thought was that I should pay more attention to amateur photographers. Since the professional group was growing up with many younger artists and critics than I was, I thought that I should leave it to them and help the amateur artists, especially those who were trying to take a step forward and make meaningful photographs.

First of all, I was an amateur photographer. I started a life as a photographer and won a prize in a newspaper photography contest. At that time, I had no intention of becoming a photography expert. I was just trying my best to take pictures as part of my hobby, to enrich my life. What was most disappointing and frustrating at that time was what kind of pictures were good pictures and how to take such pictures. I had a sincere desire to take good pictures, but I could not take good pictures only with a sincere desire. However, there were only a few technical books on photography. I still remember the disappointment that there was no one to teach me and no place to learn.

Secondly, as is the case in any country, the gap in photographic awareness between professionals and amateurs is too wide for them to communicate with each other. The gap in perception between professionals and amateurs is much wider than in other art worlds. It is a problem that someone has to step up and solve, and I found myself as an adaptable instructor to fill the gap. I have experienced life as an amateur photographer and am therefore relatively familiar with the itches and concerns of amateur photographers, also I have been involved in photographic education for about 20 years. Moreover, I have published several books there, especially, ‘Introduction to the Art of Photography’ which has been popular with amateur artists as well as teachers in universities and has been on the board for more than 20 years. It is for these reasons that I felt compelled to do what I did.

The book attempts to be compatible with the theory and the practical in photography. I have chosen elements that are directly relevant to the production of artworks and have tried to describe them in as much detail as possible in a way that is easy to understand. However, I dealt very little with technical issues. Not only are there already many books on technology, but technology is a side issue, especially since the camera has developed so much recently that technology is no longer useful. It is not possible to write a book that focuses on practical skills and completely ignores theory. In particular, we see photographic perception as the most important aspect of photography, and we have included basic, central theory here and there to instill the correct photographic perception. I have tried to include as many examples of photographs as possible, as well as detailed explanations. I wanted to make this book practically useful for the production of my work.

 

Text / Han Chungshik

A Photography Stroll

(Photography: The Beautiful Scenery of Time)

 

I have been thinking about a book about photography with text for a long time.

 

A book that combines photographs and text in a single volume, but where the photographs do not assist the text and the text does not go beyond explaining the photographs. This book was the first attempt to interact them each other.

All text of this book is for understanding photography, but U was devoted to putting it together in order to make up for being harmony. I hope that someday I will be able to release a book in which the photographs and text stand separately and assert themselves, harmonize with each other, create new meanings, and create new atmospheres, as I had originally planned.

I have been thinking about understanding photography, and I have been concerned about it as a photography educator in college. I have cared about theoretical subjects, especially photographic art theory. However, I was always concerned that my ideas about photography were limited to a group of experts. This is because I believe that no photographer can stand alone and that the future of photography cannot be bright without an understanding of its surroundings. The book ‘Introduction to the Art of Photography’, which I published more than ten years ago, was written with such an aim in mind and with considerable consideration for the general public, and this text was also written on such a foundation. Moreover, today's photography has become more common than the written word.

 

Photography is recently not monopolized by professional photographers anymore, and it has become a good friend to ordinary people. That is not to say that the new school group's willingness to cheekily enlighten the masses. It is the idea of a person who has devoted half his life to photography and, moreover, to broaden once and for all the ideas that he has usually done with the professionalism of a teacher.

The text in this article was originally serialized in ‘Photography Art’ for two years and at Keumho Munhwa for one year, and some parts of it have been replaced, added, and rewritten. The support of the readers at the time of the serialization has made me decide to publish this article, and I hope to receive as much encouragement from them as I did at the time.

 

 

Text / Han Chungshik

 

The Highway next to the Stable :

Vanishing Landscapes, Vanishing Customs

 

It has already been 50 years since I started on the path of photography. While doing photography, I have always heard and learned about the importance of photography to record-ability, yet I have walked a far way from that record-ability. On the other hand, there was something I noticed and felt when I looked into mu old contact sheets. I noticed things that are now gone and gone, or that still remain but will soon disappear. It was not only that I consciously felt it, but also that it was in the mindless picture, and that is the record nature of photography.

 

However, when I actually tried to put them together, I saw many things that were missing. There is not the order of photography or the main theme in it. Nonetheless, I wanted to tie it together because it was a new reading of the past.

 

There ware some questions as to the point of having to publish such a book if I did not write one with depth because I have been taking photography for 50 years, and I decided to make excuses and comfort myself by saying, “I am alive, not dead, so I can do this.”

 

Text / Han Chungshik

The Trace

 

The decision to publish this book came out of the blue. Since I had not thought about it, I had to consider for a while whether it was really appropriate to publish this book. This was for two reasons.

 

First, I believe that the identity of photography lies in temporality, and I have always said so. In school, of course, I always spoke on this foundation whenever I talked about photography with amateur writers and photography hobbyist groups. It was a firm idea I acquired while studying photography. Ironically, my photography has been working on the side that has nothing to do with temporality.

 

It was my temperament. We all live in an embrace, and to record the hard life, I have to fight for others. However, I have no confidence in arguing with someone. Furthermore, I am not a very lucid person. To document our lives one must have insight into life and a keen eye to discern situations, but even in such matters, as in a fight, I was still unsure. I made up my mind not to because I thought that serious reflection and deep penetration into our lives with this kind of eye and this kind of spirit was not an area I would deal with. This is why I turned to pure photography.

It was also because I thought that there is indeed a reason for the existence of photography outside of temporality. I also thought that I had to establish my photographic identity in the search for the reason for the existence of photography here. This is where the question of whether or not it was appropriate to publish such a collection of photographs came from.

 

There was one more thing. These photographs were simply a collection of social scenes that caught my eye, taken withou pressure. I couldn't help but wonder what the point was in compiling a collection of photographs like this, which I had taken with such care, but which had failed to produce anything of lasting value. However, just as a spider feeds on insects caught in a spider's web, I felt that the various landscapes caught in the web of my consciousness are ultimately my consciousness and will. Not only that, when I expanded them, they were a trajectory of my photographic life, but if I gathered them together, they were also a section of our very history. Sometimes I discover facts that I had not thought of at the time I took the photographs, regardless of my intention.

 

The same is true of identity. It is not that I have to find my identity in photography in some formal genre. It is not a question of what form I take, but of how I have lived my life. But even more importantly, it is not a question of identity either. It is not about identity, it is not about ideals, it is not about just surviving, it is about putting in the effort to live that way, to live by taking photographs, and there is no better proposition.

Most of these photographs were taken long after they were taken. Although they may not amount to much as so-called "works of art," I decided to publish them because I thought it would be interesting to look back on our lives as they passed by at this point in our lives. I also added the idea that as we get older, we may only be able to look back in retrospect. Come to think of it, I turned 70 at my age. I have been living this way.

 

Not that there are many 70-year-olds in the world these days, but I have a feeling that I can only be saved by understanding whatever I do at this age. I am a little embarrassed, though, that I am old enough to try to gain an understanding for the mistakes I might possibly make.

 

Text / Han Chungshik