based in Seoul, South Korea
Youngho Kang portfolio on Visura - a professional network to connect with photo editors and art buyers, and build photography portfolio websites. Visura members, like Youngho, share photojournalism, art photography, landscape, travel photography, portraits and more. Youngho has 3 projects, 17 community news posts, and 4 images shared in the photo stream.
Youngho Kang is a fine art photographer based in Seoul, South Korea. 99 Variations is his main body of work, and it is in process....
I want to share this issue with you and also ask for your thoughts and opinions about it. I decided to make this issue public after receiving comments that I should not consider it unique to myself. This issue concerns my ongoing documentary film about street children and a question that I want to raise concerning press photography. The question is directed to Slovak Press Photo, I want to ask "What is morality of a photographer?"
The photo that is with this post is a comparison between my documentary film and the pictures awarded in Slovak Press Photo.
Summary of issue: This issue started as a personal argument, but not any more. Now I no longer care about whether the copyright legally belongs to someone or not. Now I am doubting the philosophy of Slovak Press Photo. I need to ask, “What is the morality of a photographer?”
The issue started when my short-term intern assistant (no contract created), Dorota Holubová without my permission photographed as she wished in my works. She submitted the pictures taken in my created scene to Slovak Press Photo (without notifying me), and she won. I discussed with Dorota about this issue and she acknowledged what was her fault (submit without permission), apologized and said that she would cancel the prize the very next day. However, the next day Dorota changed her thinking after talking with the director of the competition, Jana Garvoldtová, now they insist that clicking the shutter is enough to have the copyright and be the rightful author of a picture, in any case, even in a scene created by someone else. This is why the issue now is concentrated on Slovak Press Photo.
I have to say, making good pictures and film is not my goal. My documentary works have been just tool for revealing the voiceless dark side. Absolutely it would be nice if in the end, her winning leads to further helping and bring interest in the children. I hope it is not just short-term casual interest in the children thanks to this prize. And I confess, this issue made me more serious about project for the street children. I feel thankful from this happening.
Edge of Humanity contacted me and they wanted to feature my project about the aftermath of Agent Orange. The project is called "Weapons that kill the future". To see more of the images and commentaries, click here.
Place : National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, Korea(MMCA)
Artist’s statement for the performance
Art is to me a passionate effort that only I alone can master. When it comes to art, I realized thateven during my days as a commercial photographer, there was something that distinguished me from other commercial photographers. During my shoots I would be playing loud music and be directing my models through shouting and dancing with them. This made me different, different to the extent that I gained the nickname “the Dancing Photographer”. Creating images is one thing I do best, but it is that skill combined with my dancing that truly makes me unalike any other photographer.
When giving my performance, I become both the photographer as well as the actor, on one stage. Because I seek to express both of these sides, I make use of a mirror, through which I can have both sides displayed simultaneously. After which I am able to find my true identity as an artist.
2009 I had my first exhibition, , during the working process of creating the images for this exhibition I had, through staying true to my identity as an artist, made use of my camera as well as my mirror. During the same exhibition I also made a shorter performance, showing the process which covered how some of the images displayed there came to be.
The number 99 means to me, “Almost”, it also means the images are to amount to 99 pieces, which would be 99% of me, and for the final percent to be contributed, it is my own physical appearance. In an attempt to display 100% of me, as close to the real me as possible, I also show the performance.
In that first exhibition of mine I exhibited 49 images, which is 50% of my total goal. In the beginning, all of my works were centered on me altering myself in various ways, be so by make-up or more physical alterations such as diets. However, in the most recent of my works I have extended my thought about changing my figure through placing another subject in the frame, at this point the other subject is not just a mere subject, but it is a subject which houses both themselves as well as me. We absorb each other, becoming one being, one subject.
The first pieces of my works were very strong images, even sensitive at time. But as I proceed with my works, only the form of the mirror and the camera will remain while I myself become more and more subtle in the frame, becoming less visible over time. Only the subject that has us both absorbed will be visible.
As soon as the performance begins, I dance, I turn up the volume of the music and I display the images that are being taken, all at the very same time. I lose a fixed identification, the genre of my art disappears. The only thing I do is to showcase the passion of something that only I can do. Thiskind of effort is my art, where I am looking for a 100% of myself, perhaps this does not even exist, which could be likened to the scientific effort of human beings who seek immortality.
In a world where the term “selfie” is ubiquitous, it’s easy to grow tired of the endless stream of self-promoting photos that flood your social media dashboard. But one South Korean artist and photographer is turning the word on its head. In his latest project, 99 Variations Youngho Kang is giving the self-portrait a whole new meaning.
Photographers have been turning the camera toward themselves for years. From Andy Warhol to Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman to Francesca Woodman, Lee Friedlander to -- well, you name it. These are just a handful of artists who helped set the stage for many of today's contemporary photographers who set out to become the sitter and the maker.
I met South Korean photographer Youngho Kang at the LensCulture FotoFest Paris portfolio review event in 2013. Kang is not shy in front of the camera. In each image, he's playing a part in a story that only he could tell. As he puts it, "the mirror became the space where I am both the director and the actor on stage." And on this stage, Kang plays the lead role.
At first, I found the camera to be a distracting element in the photographs. Kang leaves it visible in each shot -- many times he doesn't even try to cover it up. But after a while, I no longer see the camera -- my eye is forced to focus on the gestural movements of Kang's body, the posing and the "dance" that he is doing in front of the mirror, the camera, and his viewers.
And then there's the androgyny aspect of his work that is quite noticeable. He takes on both a male and female persona, which he states he discovered hidden within himself." The camera symbolizes the male who shoots and hunts, while 'my present self' becomes a symbol of androgyny as an intermediary, and the mirror symbolizes the female, with all her accepting and reflecting qualities," says Kang.
Kang has completed over 50 self-portraits on his way toward his goal of 99. Why did he settle on the number 99? As he explains, "99 is a theoretical number that denotes myself as a whole to be 100 minus one -- my present self."
This is just a glimpse into Kang's world. To see more images, and to read a very in-depth statement about this project, visit: http://99variations.com.