A Poetic Reminder of What Korea Used to Be Like

Described by ICP curator Christopher Phillips as “the long-lost Korean cousin of Magnum photographers such as Henri-Cartier Bresson” is the lesser known Han Youngsoo.

South Korea’s rapid economic development during the past half century is unprecedented. The country went from being one of the poorest countries in the world to being the 4th largest economy in Asia. Han Youngsoo was one of the few artists working during that time to document the country that was soon to change beyond recognition; his photographs transport the viewer back to a time when Seoul was an impoverished city, devastated by the Korean war.

Though this is not a pure, cold documentary—there is clear authorship to be found in Youngsoo’s poetic, minimalist captures of Korea. We cannot always see clearly and are encouraged to want to see what lies beyond the boundary of the image.

During his life, Youngsoo’s photographs were rarely seen outside of Korea. Unfortunately he is no longer alive to enjoy the increasing circulation of his work outside of the Korean Peninsula, though his daughter Han Sunjung wants to ensure her father’s legacy is not forgotten. I talked with her about her father’s work following the recent exhibition at Space 22 in Gangnam, Seoul.

Where are you from and where was your father from?
“I born in Seoul, Korea and still reside here. My father was born in Gaeseong, Gyeonggi Province in 1933. Gaeseong is a part of North Korea now. He left his hometown because of the Korean War, he moved to Seoul with his brothers and sisters and all of his family. He died in Seoul 1999.”

When was your father taking photographs? What was happening in Seoul and South Korea during that time?
“My father started taking photographs just after “Korean war”, when he returned from the army in 1955. He joined the family business for a while, and shortly after started his photography career.

Here is an exert from his book Life: People in a period of recovery in which he describes his experience of war:

‘The war had taken away many things. Not only had it mercilessly trampled down on our beloved families and neighbors, but also their happiness, hope, and furthermore humanity itself. As if that wasn’t enough, by the end it had utterly destroyed everything on the face of the earth leaving behind ruins, despair, famine and sorrow.

The sudden advent of the 38th parallel paled a short-lived bliss of national independence, and thus opened up the tragic 1950s. At the height of the Korean war I was moving across the front lines as a soldier experiencing this tragedy, witnessing countless scenes that enraged me. I left the army with these horrific memories intact and found myself in the middle of a life
which still bore traces of soot from the war.

But what was even more surprising and astounding at the same time was perhaps the ordinary fact that ‘people lived on’ nevertheless. Although a sense of futility, sadness, shock, and despair lingered on, people were putting down their roots on the ground trying to find their place in this world. Though struggling with the multifaceted after-effects of Korean war, the 1950s was a period of recovery. I was able to find hope watching cities and rural communities being rebuilt, in bustling the markets and the sparkling eyes of children the laughter I had forgotten. Slowly but steadily I was recovering my own humanity.”

How was your father introduced to the photography medium?
“He started taking photographs as a hobby, like every other Korean photographer at the time.
During his life, there was no educational route to become a photographer. So he started his career as an amateur photographer; after returning from army he became interested in realism.
Shortly after, he also started his career as a professional commercial photographer.”

Did you speak together much about photography? Did he share with you any of his motivations and/or influences?
“My father was not close to his family, and he didn’t tell me many things. There was no opportunity to discuss such matters with father while he was alive. However, I know that he was influenced by his books and photograph collection.”

How often did he go out taking photographs and what camera was he working with?
“During my childhood, father was not often at home or came home very late. He was busy with advertising photography during the weekdays, and he took pictures for his personal project during the weekend. In the 50s’ and 60s’ he mainly used LEICA cameras. Later he experimented with various types and formats of cameras while I was working in advertising photography—cameras such as the Pentax 6×7, Hasselblad 6×6, Sinar 4×5, Linhof.”

Do you still feel a connection with the Korea of the past that your father has portrayed? What has changed?
“Of course, the Korea of my father’s day and the present Korea are connected. Just as my father and I cannot be torn apart, my father’s Korea and my present-day Korea are connected by history.”

All images © Han Youngsoo

The post A Poetic Reminder of What Korea Used to Be Like appeared first on Feature Shoot.

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The shortlists are out for the 2017 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards

Established in 2012, the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards are divided into three categories – PhotoBook of the Year, First PhotoBook, and Photography Catalogue of the Year. The winners will be announced on 10 November at Paris Photo, and all the shortlisted and winning titles will be profiled in The PhotoBook Review and exhibited at Paris Photo, the Aperture Gallery in New York, and at other international venues.

The year Albert Elm’s What Sort of Life is This, Mathieu Asselin’s Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation and the group book project Amplitude No.1, which is edited by Nadya Sheremetova and includes photographers such as Irina Yulieva, Igor Samolet and Irina Ivannikova, were among those to make the First PhotoBook shortlist this year. The PhotoBook of the Year shortlist includes Jim Goldberg’s The Last Son, Mark Neville’s Fancy Pictures, and Henk Wildschut’s Ville de Calais.

From the book What Sort Of Life Is This © Albert Elm

From the book What Sort Of Life Is This © Albert Elm

The full shortlist for the First PhotoBook is: Mathieu Asselin, Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation; Zackary Canepari, REX; Teju Cole, Blind Spot; Sam Contis, Deep Springs; Debi Cornwall, Welcome to Camp America, Inside Guantánamo Bay; Albert Elm, What Sort of Life Is This; Mary Frey, Reading Raymond Carver; Jenia Fridlyand, Entrance to Our Valley; Darren Harvey-Regan, The Erratics; Karoline Hjorth and Riitta Ikonen, Eyes as Big as Plates; Dawn Kim, Creation.IMG; Laura Larson, Hidden Mother; Feng Li, White Night; Cecil McDonald Jr, In the Company of Black; Virginie Rebetez, Out of the Blue; Claudius Schulze, State of Nature; Nadya Sheremetova, ed, Amplitude No.1; Senta Simond, Rayon Vert; Alnis Stakle, Melancholic Road; Mayumi Suzuki, The Restoration Will.

PhotoBook of the Year shortlist is: Anne Golaz, Corbeau; Jim Goldberg, The Last Son; Nicholas Muellner, In Most Tides an Island; Mark Neville, Fancy Pictures; Alison Rossiter, Expired Paper; Mike Mandel, Susan Meiselas, Bill Burke, and Lee Friedlander, Subscription Series No. 5; Dayanita Singh, Museum Bhavan; Carlos Spottorno and Guillermo Abril, La Grieta (The Crack); Erik van der Weijde, This Is Not My Book; Henk Wildschut, Ville de Calais.

The Photography Catalogue of the Year shortlist is: Brassaï: Graffiti, Le Langage du Mur, Karolina Ziebinska-Lewandowska; CLAP! 10×10 Contemporary Latin American Photobooks: 2000–2016, Olga Yatskevich, Russet Lederman, and Matthew Carson; Diary of a Leap Year, Rabith Mroué; Hans Eijkelboom: Photo Concepts 1970, Gabriele Conrath-Scholl, Wim van Sinderen, Gerrit Willems and Dieter Roelstraete; New Realities: Photography in the 19th Century, Mattie Boom, Hans Rooseboom.

In 1996, Monsanto introduced its first GMO seeds. This ensured that farmers could not save the seeds, essentially shifting the balance of power away from the farmers to corporations who now own about 80†% of GM corn and 93†% of the GM soy market. Now farmers not only have to buy the seeds from the corporations year after year, but they are also forced to comply with the rules and regulations embedded in the contracts, which are designed to put the farmers at a juridical disadvantage. Image shot in Van Buren, Indiana, 2013, from the series Monsanto®. A photographic investigation © Mathieu Asselin

From the series Monsanto®. A photographic investigation © Mathieu Asselin

The Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards is judged by two separate juries – one which creates the shortlist, and another which picks out the winners. This year, the shortlist jury included: Gregory Halpern, winner of the 2016 PhotoBook of the Year Award with ZZYZX; Lesley A Martin, creative director of the Aperture Foundation book programme and publisher of The PhotoBook Review; Kathy Ryan, director of photography for The New York Times Magazine; Joel Smith, Richard L Menschel curator of photography at the Morgan Library & Museum; and Christoph Wiesner, artistic director of Paris Photo.

The shortlists were created over three days, from over 900 submitted books. “The task of the shortlist jury is essentially a curatorial one,” says Martin. “The selected books comprise an exhibition that showcases the incredible array of creativity and excellence taking place right now in contemporary photobook making.”

For more information, including details of the book publishers and designers of each contender, visit the Aperture website http://ift.tt/1PVmfTv

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Vote for your favourite emerging photographer in the Felix Schoeller Photo Award People’s Choice!

Selected from 2,377 submissions from 92 countries, spanning six categories – Portraiture, Landscape, Architecture, Photojournalism, Conceptual and Best Emerging Photographer – this year’s thirty nominees are a celebration of some of the best contemporary photography the world has to offer. But whose work deserves to win?

This is your chance to have your say. The FSPA judges will be announcing their category and grand prize winners at the FSPA Awards ceremony in Osnabrück, Germany on 14 October. We are giving you the chance to choose your favourite nominee in each category, for a special People’s Choice Award which will be announced alongside the judges’ selections.

How to vote

The entries from the five finalists in each category are now being showcased here.

To vote for your favourite project in the ‘Emerging Photographer’ category, visit the Facebook gallery and like your favourite images from each photographer’s series. You can like as many or as few of the images as you want!

Find out more about each photographer’s project below:

‘Vault 7’ by George Selley

“On Tuesday 07 March 2017 Wikileaks released ‘Vault 7’, the largest ever publication of confidential documents about the CIA. This project specifically follows a “familiarisation” document that instructs covert agents arriving in Frankfurt.

I decided to travel to Frankfurt and follow the guidelines, as if I was a covert agent myself. The concept of exploring a city photographically through a top secret CIA document was an interesting process in itself.

Through my photographs, I aim not only to present and play on this banal absurdity, but also to challenge our conceptions of how such an organisation is run and to question its integrity.

The project is especially interesting to me, as it has been produced for a module on my MA course, which is focused on documentary photography; however, with this project I have attempted to blur the boundaries between fiction and reality – pushing the genre of documentary photography. Perhaps the term ‘conceptual documentary’ could be applied.”

To vote for this photographer, visit the Facebook gallery.

‘Living with War’ by Hosam Katan

“This series opens up a wide spectrum of conflicting emotions and experiences of what life has been to people in their hometown of Eastern Aleppo, since the start of the civil war. This work was photographed from 2014 to 2015 by Hosam Katan, a photojournalist from Eastern Aleppo. The work gives recognition to people in Eastern Aleppo who continue to simply live their lives with resilience and inventiveness in the face of perilous circumstances.

Drawing from his own experience living in that area, Katan aspires to create a nuanced view of how the residents balance the realities of war with their own personal, everyday lives. The project wants to engage viewers in the experiences and emotions of these people who are faced with brute military force being inflicted on them. This work not only intends to generate empathy, but to provoke a reflection on justice, responsibility and human dignity.”

To vote for this photographer, visit the Facebook gallery.

‘Road Diaries’ by L. S. King

“I am a child of stories, walking the fence line of yesterday and now. Historical narratives both real and imaginary, along with aesthetics reminiscent of 20th century Pictorialism, inform my work.

In telling visual stories, I am an antiquarian or time traveler – choosing landscapes with the limited constructs of modern society. Anything newer than half a century may be occasionally seen but only as a whisper, hinting at the present. Ever the year-hopping, day-tripping, decade-crawling passenger in my Road Diaries adventures, I capture glimpses of scenery from the vantage point of a moving car. As the narrator, I delight in the visual surprise of latent images coming into being. The final results are the documentation of a hybrid moment between my subconscious and reality.”

To vote for this photographer, visit the Facebook gallery.

‘Autobahn’ by Ann-Kristin Röhrs

“This series depicts my week on the Autobahn, looking at life between unlimited speed and gridlock, luxury limousines and trucks, Porta Potty toilets and service stations, fast food and Red Bull. For it, I drove all around Germany for seven days.

The mobilised masses drive on the Autobahn at a minimum of 60 km/h, without contraflow or crossroads, on two to four lanes of grey tarmac. All they have in mind is getting from A to B without stopping.

This is where deceleration meets acceleration, mobility and dynamics meet gridlock and where the dream of progress meets environmental problems. Despite the endless grey, life on the Autobahn has many facets – this is where all levels of society come together. I met Autobahn pastors, pilgrims, toilet cleaners, ‘bratwurst’ sellers, executives, people travelling and people waiting, construction workers, military personnel, speed freaks and people in sorrow.

I wanted to see how the non-place Autobahn generates new human habitats and was surprised in many ways on my visual journey. I was not disappointed.”

To vote for this photographer, visit the Facebook gallery.

’24 Miles’ by Fabian Melber

“More and more people are losing their lives in the attempt to reach Europe on the central Mediterranean route.

In 2016, the number of deaths reached a bitter record of at least 4500 victims. To prevent such loss of life, the Sea-Watch 2 – a ship belonging to the German NGO Seawatch – patrols the waters 24 miles off the coast of Libya.

The main task of the vessel and its crew of volunteers is to rescue refugees from drowning. The aim of the organisation is to raise awareness of the catastrophic situation and the inhuman activities of the European border control authorities and to motivate the European Union to establish safe and legal migration routes.”

To vote for this photographer, visit the Facebook gallery.


Be part of this year’s judging and vote for your favourite to receive the People’s Choice Award at this year’s awards ceremony for the Felix Schoeller Photo Award. Visit the Facebook gallery to vote.


Sponsored by Felix Schoeller Group: This feature was made possible with the support of Felix Schoeller Group, a world leader in photographic paper since 1895. Please click here for more information on sponsored content funding at British Journal of Photography.

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Captivating Historic Photographs of Native Americans from the Early Twentieth Century

Captivating Historic Photographs of Native Americans from the Early Twentieth Century

It started in the year 1900 with a trip to Montana to photograph the ritual Sun Dance of the Blackfoot Tribe, and ended with photographer Edward Curtis having photographed 100 Native American tribes, producing 2,200 photographs that would come to comprise a 20 volume anthology called, The North American Indian, bankrolled by investor J.P. Morgan to the tune of $75,000. In the article written by Elisabeth Sherman for all-that-is-interesting.com, you can see 33 of his most stunning portraits.

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Andrea Grützner wins the ING Unseen Talent Award and €10,000

German photographer Andrea Grützner, who was born in 1984, has won the ING Unseen Talent Award with her series Hive. She now wins €10,000 to develop a new project and, along with the other shortlisted photographers, the opportunity to develop her work under the guidance of Nadav Kander, the UK-based photographer best-known for his huge commission for The New York Times Magazine, Obama’s People.

Grützner’s work was picked out by an international jury made up of: Maryam Eisler photographer, Trustee of Whitechapel, co-chair of Tate’s MENAAC and Unseen Ambassador; Francis Hodgson, pofessor in Culture of Photography University of Brighton, founder Prix Pictet and former head of photographs Department Sotheby’s; Dana Lixenberg, photographer; Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger, professor exhibition studies and spatiality, University of Arts Helsinki; and Darius Sanai, editor in chief, Condé Nast International.

The public prize, which brings with it a commission to make new work for the ING collection went to French photographer Robin Lopvet, who was born in 1990. The other shortlisted photographers were: Tom Callemin (1991, Belgium); Alexandra Lethbridge (1987, United Kingdom); and Stefanie Moshammer (1988, Austria). Each of the finalists created an artwork for the ING Collection in response to this year’s theme: Common Ground, and their work was displayed at Unseen Amsterdam this weekend.

Untitled 01, 2017 © Andrea Grützner

“Once again, we discovered that photographic artists are capable of tackling our society’s pressing concerns,” stated the jury in its report. “This year’s submissions touched on global issues including gender, consumerism, cultural diversity and communication. The artists proved that the medium of photography can convey a range of perspectives surrounding the theme of Common Ground.

“After consideration we have chosen Andrea Grützner, who is clear in her approach to “common ground” and how we collectively experience shared space, inviting viewers to evaluate how they picture it. She plays with colours in her work, grounded in elements of surrealism. The resulting work is compelling to the jury, and has been selected based on its imaginative substance.”

The ING Unseen Talent Award was set up by ING and Unseen in 2013, and aims to pick out emerging international talent. Previous winners include Thomas Albdorf and Miren Pastor (2016), Sophie Jung and Lara Gasparotto (2015), Anne Geene and Maurice van Es (2014) and Ola Lanko (2013).

Économie de marché (Market economy), 2017 © Robin Lopvet

Grützner has a BA in Communication design from HTWG Constant and an MA in Photography from FH Bielefeld. Her work has already been published in Geo Magazine, The New York Times and Collectors Agenda, and she was selected as one of the FOAM Talents in 2016. Lopvet attended de l’École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie in Arles, and a post-graduate diploma from the International Center of Photography in New York. His work has previously appeared in Der Greif, Capsule Magazine, and OffTheWallPhotoBook.

Unseen is a platform for emerging photography, which runs all year round online and offline, but which is best-known for its annual festival and photo fair, Unseen Amsterdam. ING is a global financial institution, which offers banking services via its operating company ING Bank.

http://ift.tt/RW83d7 Read this story on the finalists to see some of the work that won them their nominations http://ift.tt/2s8eHIe

Examine, 2017 © Alexandra Lethbridge

Woman in office hands, 2017 © Alexandra Lethbridge

Yellow woman sat down, 2017 © Alexandra Lethbridge

Yellow woman stood, 2017 © Alexandra Lethbridge

Handssalesman, 2017 © Alexandra Lethbridge

Ear, 2017 © Alexandra Lethbridge

Hands facing down, 2017 © Alexandra Lethbridge

Hand facing up, 2017 © Alexandra Lethbridge

Stage One, 2017 © Stefanie Moshammer

Stage Three, 2017 © Stefanie Moshammer

Stage Two, 2017 © Stefanie Moshammer

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