Youngho Kang

JM (Jae-myung Lee) is Present.
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Nationality: Korean
Biography: 대학에서 불문학을 전공한 그는, 20대 후반 우연한 계기로 사진에 대한 재능을 발견했다. 테크닉 면에서는 다소 미흡했지만, 대상과의 인터뷰를 통해 인물의 숨겨진 표정을 끌어내는 커뮤니케이션 능력과, 한 장의 사진에 스토리를 담아내는 문학적 감각, 그리고 음악을 틀어놓고 마치 춤을 추듯 사진을 찍는, 공연과 같은 작업방식으로 얻은, ‘춤추는 사진작가’라는 독특한 별명은, 비교적 이른 나이에 상업 사진가로서의 성공을... MORE
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JM (Jae-myung Lee) is Present.
Copyright Youngho Kang 2022
Updated Aug 2021
JM is present

 In a 2017 newspaper, he wrote a column for presidential candidates for about six months.
 I met and interviewed the people, had them wear the same black turtlenecks, and took their portraits, against a black background.  The reason I did that was to focus on the face of the person.  The title of the column is “The face of the times- Who are you?”.
 I didn't know politics well, but it was a time when politics penetrated deeply into our daily lives and became a daily topic, so naturally, portraits of politicians became my interest.
 What I was most interested in was their tone of voice, their attitude, and the faces that their expressions symbolized.  Having recorded people's faces for 25 years, I was able to have the ability to read a person's inner side to some extent from their impressions.
 If you do not simply observe the exterior, but take a picture after having a comfortable conversation with the subject and feeling assimilated with them, you will encounter a fairly essential inner side.  I record those moments and feelings, and also record the words of the other person, and this interview with photos is similar to acquiring the key to predicting a thick book to some extent only with the title and preface of the book.
 Occasionally, when I feel the spirit of the times that “in this person’s case, even his private life can become a history that symbolizes the times,” he suggests documentary photography work that enters the other person’s daily life for a certain period of time.  In this work, a closer relationship with the subject should be prioritized, and in this case, I become an invisible mirror that reflects the daily life of the subject.
 Unlike studio work, which focuses on the face, documentary work mainly focuses on the direction, space, and relationship of the subject's gaze.  For this reason, in the case of my work, I tend to have a lot of pictures of the back.  Eyes show philosophy, and space shows reality.

 ‘Now Jae-myung Lee’, this work is bound to be misleading.  Given the situation ahead of the 2022 presidential election, paying attention to one influential politician is highly likely to be judged to be publicly revealing political colors.
The essence of my work, which I started in 2017, is Korea's 'Portrait of the Age', that is, works that encompass both the right and left.  In fact, it is not a work limited to politicians either.  It effectively encompasses many fields, classes and generations.
 Nevertheless, in the current situation, focusing on the character Lee Jae-myung is the optimal choice for the depth and completeness of the work to find the spirit of the times.  In an era of unpredictable pandemic variables, I can assure you, Lee Jae-myung is a person with a relatively large number of opposing variables.  The critique about him “He is too tough” paradoxically fits well with the spirit of the era of “now” with many variables.  There can be no graceful fighter in the face of total chaos.  Once again, I can assure you, now is an era that requires more field-type variable partners than indoor constant leaders.
 Therefore, the adjective ‘present’ is not only a modifier for Lee Jae-myung, but also a predicate of ‘it is now’, and becomes a very important message of the subject, Lee Jae-myung.

 Lee Jaemyung was my work partner on the field.  I go my way, he goes his way.  I just hope to see you at the top.
 Today we live each day holding our breath in a mask.
 Now, Lee Jaemyung is present.

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JM (Jae-myung Lee) is Present.  by Youngho Kang
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