Title: Spirit Contact – 접신

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Our first issue of Korea Photo Review also features contributions from nine photographers in our “Reader’s Gallery.” They are: Ken Shin, Wynsum Foreman, Ali Safavi, Michael Kennedy, AC Parsons, Edward Rivera, 황준희, Eugene Lee, and Lidija Baard.

  • Lidija Baard

  • Lidija Baard

  • Lidija Baard

  • Lidija Baard

  • Eugene Lee

  • 황준희

  • Michael Kennedy

  • Michael Kennedy

  • Michael Kennedy

  • Ken Shin

  • Ken Shin

  • Edward Rivera

  • Edward Rivera

  • Ali Safavi

  • Ali Safavi

  • Ali Safavi

  • AC Parsons

  • Wynsum Foreman

  • Wynsum Foreman

Title: Hidden Landscape

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

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

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

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

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

Website     Instagram

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

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

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

In this interview for Korea Photo Review, Hon Hoang interviewed Ed Jones, AFP’s Chief Photographer for North and South Korea. Thank you to Ed Jones for the permission and use of his photographs.

Participants wait to take part in a mass parade marking the end of the 7th Workers Party Congress in Kim Il-Sung square in Pyongyang on May 10, 2016. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images
A woman stands between crates in a warehouse on an ostrich farm on the outskirts of Pyongyang / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images
A North Korean tour guide wearing a traditional ‘hanbok’ dress waits for visitors at the ‘Monument to Party Founding’ (not pictured) in Pyongyang on October 11, 2015. North Korea is marking the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers’ Party. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images

How did you find yourself with a career in photography and eventually as Chief photographer for AFP in North and South Korea?

A misspent youth, old copies of Nat Geo on the bookshelf at the back of class, and knocking on a lot of doors. I worked my way up through full-time yet relatively short stints at a few small news agencies in the UK, which led to a staff position at one daily newspaper, and then another. By the time I was 25 I had talked my way into a freelance assignment with AFP, which gradually became more regular. I left my newspaper job in Edinburgh in an effort to be more available, and about a year later I moved to Paris to work on AFP’s photo desk. From there I moved to postings in Hong Kong, then Beijing, and now Seoul.

What are your day to day duties as Chief Photographer?

I coordinate with my colleagues from text and video about the day’s events and monitor stories that may develop into something that we need to cover, which includes keeping an eye on local media. There may be text feature stories which we need to illustrate, and similarly if there are photo-driven stories that I think may be of interest to the reporters then I let them know. Occasionally we might receive requests from other offices for coverage of events concerning their respective countries, or contributions to agency-wide photo packages that we need to respond to. I also need to message our regional headquarters in Hong Kong to let them know what we have planned for the day, which ends up as part of a global agenda for our clients.

Korean People’s Army (KPA) soldiers marched during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images
North Korean soldiers leave their seats following a performance celebrating the 60th anniversary of “victory in the great Fatherland Liberation War” at the Ryugyong Jong Ju Yong Indoor Stadium in Pyongyang, on July 28, 2013. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images
Members of the Korean People’s Army at a military parade on April 15 to mark the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images

How do you compete to get your stories out before the other news agencies?

The photographers from the other foreign news agencies here often work closely together. They are all very outstanding photographers and operators, and have known each other for many years. The common goal we face in meeting a perpetual deadline means that the competitive element is often aimed at how each of us interprets any given story and whether we can bring new information to it, rather than the mere minutes between the time our photos hit the wire. But away from the camera logistics and diplomacy are important when covering any story, and an ability to be adaptive and sensitive to the surroundings can all add up to getting pictures to out quicker – although accuracy is always more important than speed. As for gear, I usually carry a laptop or iPad for editing and filing outside the office, and if needed I can use a wifi device on the camera to send pictures immediately to an ftp channel that can be accessed by any of our editing desks around the world.

Do you ever have spare time to work on personal projects? If so, what draws you to these projects?

So far I have not felt the need to differentiate between personal projects and my work for AFP, as the subjects that interest me on a personal level are aligned with that. Providing projects are in keeping with the principles of journalism we have a fair amount of creative freedom which allows me to experiment with subject matter and medium. I am predominantly drawn to human interest stories, but also to subjects that will allow me to try certain techniques from slow shutter speeds to softboxes, for example.

A government guide watches as attendees of the 7th Workers Party Congress arrive for a cultural performance in Pyongyang on May 11, 2016. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images
A woman carries discarded silk strands at the Kim Jong Suk Silk Mill in Pyongyang. The factory employs 1,600 people—mostly female—and is named for the grandmother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images
A North Korean soldier stands in the rain on Kim Il Sung Square following a mass military parade in Pyongyang on October 10, 2015. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images

Can you please tell me a bit about your street photography in Seoul? What are you trying to capture while in Korea?

I love the idea of showing people who have never been to (North or South) Korea what this place looks like, and I spend a lot of time exploring new locations or revisiting old ones while looking for images that can be used to illustrate various facets of Korean life. Generally I try to trust my intuition as to what might make an interesting image, although this means I often find myself loitering on street corners during sunset. I also try to capture Seoul in a way that does not rely on an approach or aesthetic that is too overbearing, as I feel the pictures belong not entirely to me but rather the people in them and others in years to come, who might need a visual reference of these times.

A fisherman smokes a cigarette as he stands before his lines on a bank of the Han river in Seoul early on January 16, 2017. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images
A street worker sprays water on Gwanghwamun square during cleaning, in central Seoul on November 20, 2014. South Korea’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in October but the number of young people out of work eased slightly, government data showed November 12. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images
In this photo taken on November 8, 2016, shaman Shin Joong-In (2nd R) prepares to stab a pig as he performs a ritual in which offerings are made to spirits, at a shamanic centre in Yangju, north of Seoul. Practitioners of the centuries-old spiritual tradition are furious that their reputation has been tainted by association with the corruption scandal involving a close friend of the president, Choi Soon-Sil. Shamanism is deeply ingrained in Korean culture, and despite living in one of the world’s most technologically advanced countries, many Koreans still consult shamans — as intercessors with the spirit world — for medical reasons, divination, or personal advice. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images

When working on a series or an assignment, do you plan what you want to capture or do you develop the theme as you experience the day to day? 

I think it depends on the assignment or story. I will usually try to plan how to cover something but not how to shoot it. By that I mean trying to make sure that I am in the right place for the right moments, but not to shoot those moments in a way that is too preconceived. However there are plenty of occasions where there might be an obvious need (with a portrait series for example) to ensure an element of continuity that will lend itself to the final edit.

Volunteers take part in a torch-lighting performance at Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang on 10 October. North Korea was marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of its ruling Workers’ party / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images
Performers take part in a torchlight parade on Kim Il-Sung square during festivities marking the end of the 7th Workers Party Congress in Pyongyang on May 10, 2016. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images
In a photo taken on July 9, 2016, North Koreans sit on rides at a fairground in Pyongyang. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images

How much of the tension and emotions of a situation affect your photography?

There is absolutely a point where these things affect the way I shoot, the question is where that point is. I find it happens less with mass displays of emotion such as political rallies, when I might be too preoccupied with moving around and trying to figure out how things will unfold, and more when photographing individuals or groups facing adversity, for example. In those cases I try to find a balance between a desire to be empathetic and a need to be respectfully assertive so as not to do a disservice to the need to cover the story.

What was the most tense moment you have experienced? What did you do in this situation?

Its difficult to say. I’ve been mugged at knife-point, tried to sleep amid indiscriminate incoming mortar fire, and been forcibly detained. On those occasions I like to think I’ve stayed mostly calm, and tried to hold on to my memory cards. But I have colleagues and friends who face the terrifying prospect of bomb attacks and threats against their families, on a daily basis, simply for being photographers. Next to that I would be embarrassed to say I have ever experienced a tense moment.

In a photo taken on April 13, 2017 Jong Kwang-Hyok (10) poses for a portrait on a football field at a school for orphans on the outskirts of Pyongyang. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images
In this photo taken on November 28, 2016, artist Hong Choon poses at the Mansudae Art Studio where he works in Pyongyang. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images
Korean People’s Army lieutenant and tour guide Hwang Myong-jin poses for a photo in front of the hut where there negotiations for the Korean War armistice were held in 1953, near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images

During moments where time and patience are unavailable, how do you blend in to capture candid moments? 

I don’t necessarily try to blend in, although I absolutely think its important to avoid attention. Most of the time I have a valid reason to be there, so I try to be decisive and observant and usually that’s enough.

The AFP formally opened a bureau in Pyongyang in September 2016, with this access, what are some projects you would like to create? What have you experienced, but have not yet been able to photograph? 

Due to being able to travel regularly between North and South, I am working on a few projects that look at the peninsula as a whole. So much of reporting from either country involves elements of the other, that to me this makes sense. Generally it is possible to photograph the things that I am able to ‘experience’ in North Korea, although perhaps not always as extensively as I would like. During trips outside Pyongyang we often pass towns and villages that I would love to stop and shoot in, but which for obvious reasons is for the most part not possible.

In this photo taken on December 2, 2016, tour guide Baek Hyun-kyung stands in front of the Three Charters of National Reunification Monument where she works on the outskirts of Pyongyang. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images
19-year-old volunteer staff member Lee Young-Hwa poses for a photo in a study room at the SciTech science center in Pyongyang. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images
In this photo taken on February 21, 2017, shooting instructor Kim Su-Ryon poses for a portrait at the Meari Shooting Range in Pyongyang. Kim is holding a ‘Paektusan’ target pistol, gifted by late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung. Visitors to the range can pay 10 USD to shoot ten rounds. / ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images

How do you usually build rapport with the subjects in your portraits? How did this process change while working on Faces of Pyongyang? 

I show an interest in what they are doing, introduce myself, and take it from there. At the start the concept of stopping people for portraits was relatively new to our colleagues there, who also act as our guides, so it was important to make the actual process quick and as collaborative in order to get them on-board with the idea. Most people are pretty happy to have their portraits taken, and I often visit them on subsequent trips to take them prints. In the beginning I had thought about using a hasselblad, or a softbox, but it would have been too difficult and time consuming to set up on top of carrying two or three DSLRs and multiple lenses. And in any case I didn’t want to augment the feel of the portraits that I think should reflect as much as possible the conditions they are taken in.

Would you have any advice for aspiring photographers? If you had to start all over again, what advice would you give yourself?

I’m absolutely not qualified to give advice to others because times change, photography is subjective, and I will always have lots to learn.

As for advice to my younger self, I might say: photography in journalism is just a medium that is used to tell stories and is often of the same if not of secondary importance to the ability to identify and understand those stories…so go and study something.

 

Title: Youth Blood

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

Bio:

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

Website     Instagram

Title: Bus Shelters of Chungcheongnam-do

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

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

Website     Instagram

Asan
Boryeong
Buyeo
Cheonan
Cheongyang
Dangjin

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

Title: Stand In Front of More Interesting People

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

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

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

Website     Instagram

 

Editor’s Showcase: Dotan Saguy

Ordinarily a “black and white photographer”, Dotan took these color photographs during a short 3-day assignment for National Geographic and the City of Seoul in early September 2016. It was Dotan’s very first trip to Asia and as such reflect fresh eye of a complete outsider marveling at colorful street scenes that Korean natives might take for granted.

Bio: Dotan Saguy was born in a small kibbutz five miles south of Israel’s Lebanese border. He grew-up in a diverse working class Parisian suburb, lived in Lower Manhattan during 9/11 and moved to Los Angeles in 2003.

In 2015 Dotan decided to focus on his lifelong passion for photography after a successful career as a high-tech entrepreneur. Since then Dotan attended the Eddie Adams Workshop, the Missouri Photo Workshop and studied photojournalism at Santa Monica College.

Dotan’s work has been published by National Geographic, PDN, Leica Fotografie International, ABC News, has been exhibited in several galleries across Los Angeles and has been awarded 1st place photo story from the nationwide Journalism Association of Community Colleges in 2016 and an honorable mention in the National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Award 2016.

Dotan is currently working on several ground-breaking long term projects including an in-depth photo essay about the culture of Venice Beach and a photo documentary about the journey of people coming out of homelessness. Dotan lives in West Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

Website     Instagram