Honest record through reserve

Novelist Choi Seonggak

Someday, a young person with a picture came by. photographer Area Park is written in a name card he hands me over shyly. His friend he came with was a son of person who I called "big brother". His name was Chan. Chan said that he studied photograph with him in his youth period and at the time they share the room. Also, he said that he doesn't take a photo now. Even though he said it was because of his talent, I could guess the time taken until he finally talks like it is other's business in front of his friend who currently engaged in taking photo. It must be very hard time.
   It has been…… until young person who used to study photography and take a picture says he gives it up, however, his voice was usual and his face was calm. The friend doesn't agree with Chan's remarks. Probably, he wanted to say that Chan's saying is not right. At the time, I saw his caring of his friend. His shyness that he came to a novelist who he never met before, the fact that he is still doing something his friend quitted, or saying that actually Chan is also taking photo was implied on his face. He was relatively humble and prudent man.
   So were Area Park's photos. It was so calm. Motion was moderate and event was hidden. What is implied in photo was low voice. It doesn't force an impression and make an eloquence to deliver the subject. Only order that his work require observer to follow might be a attention. It says like, “if you look more closely, you can find something even that I did not find.” In fact, it did so.
   In Koran society where various fussy events happen, however, his work seems to be not enough to attract people's eyes. In one hand, Korean society is dynamic, in the other hand it is a madly energetic society. All people are fussy and living with exited face under the mood like hot stove. They are hostile to others and stick more to personal feeling than public order, and the value of kindness is occasionally ignored. Moreover, events and incidents take place more than in any other society. The bridge was collapsed, and so was a department store. Korean society is still not away from such a shameful experience and memory. Korean society is burdened enough to solve and interpret the current events correctly. Streets are covered with commercial ad and heat derived from cars is already sizzling, regardless of global warming. Even hotter thing is people's discontented face. Opaque place where assurance about the direction and destination is not apparent is Korean society. It is like people run because they feel like they should. Somebody winded a spring and ran way. It is Korean society. People are drawn into a whirlpool because they were born in the society, which as a photographer he is studying continuously.
   Area Park is documentary photographer-Namely, witness.
   He never forgot that he is a witness.
   However, the way he witness was distincted from that of other witness. It seems like he ignored the part of the characteristic of Korean society intentionally. At this point, I could feel his artistic temperament.
   Area Park is demonstrating dynamic Korean society by using well-selected subject, while he represent and witness the Korean society through non-dynamic technique and way. At this point, he is an artist who is outstanding in term of patience, rather than creativity. In dynamic-society, Korean society It is so hard to moderate the desire to express dynamic subject in shocking way. However, he is maintaining some distance with characteristic of our society. In my opinion, he knows the nature of photography artist. He always remember the fact that image (photograph) is more precious and richer than literature, as John Berger says. However, he is not excited. In his work, he learned what he didn't find before, and through the findings extend his consciousness soundlessly. At this point, he was confident in the future of his work, which may last longer than his age. He wasn't excited and such assurance is based on his patience not to attract people's attention early. Though attracting attention with intensive shock is the one of photo's job, through his work, he is saying that boring job sticking the moment to permanence and leaving as the space for reinterpretation is also mission of witness.

Area Park's latest work is 'city boy'.
   The subject of this work is teenagers living in Korean society at the early 21st century. Korean young man, who are they? Area Park says that it has too much burden so that even boys grow as 'a boy'. The reason is that their sense of vale and desire and progression of the world is not flow as happy relation in terms of contents and speed. Why did I take this subject? Probably, writer's youth period also was as tough as young men living today are. Consequently, taking today's young man in the camera, unconscious intention of compensating his youth period was driving force.
   Two boys are standing at the intersection In front of a national cemetery. Boys have a ribbon on their chest, marking respect to the dead. They were all died for their country and regardless of their own will, meaning of death was settled out, so these boys are not interested in the house of the sprit served as name of country. Today, teenagers are no longer convinced in old nationalism. However, boys are still wearing same kind of shirts, same colors of pants, and same type of hat. Who made these boys standing in divine place at the day nation made seriously? School system still with overflowing nationalism made boys stand in this place. Boys' standing pose shows today's boring and pissed reality. Boy's gesture means inside of boys. People in worship are not interested in boys. Forcing nation is always insecure. This insecurity made boys wear uniform and require guide role in national days. Middle age gentlemen who worship on their knee with severe posture and tombstones in a line is integrated with direction guidance forcing boys. Using occasional comparisons, Area Park's work express the subject.
   As soon as schedule of instructional education is ended, boys change outfits to their own outfits and go to the street. The outfit that boys choose in stead of uniform is exposed as a mark of own class. What they wear is likely to represent class rather than individual character. In Korean society where has defect of capitalism, student who finish school is hard to be free in order of capital. Red cap of boys who take an inline skate lesson is new meaning of uniforms. Red caps are working as unforced boys and distinguished sign. In Area Park's work world, deep class consciousness is hidden, though it is not directly exposed. In Korean society, where Dualization phenomena of the rich and the poor are getting worse, his social consciousness and eyes should be the basic attitude of integrity transfer. Sometimes, teenager express covered sexual desire shyly between body of women newly embodied by fictional myth of 'body' in front of exhibition hall. Assured interest of boy leaning forward is in racing girl , rather than newly developed cars. Sometimes, boys explode their power of youth with motorcycles. Boys who don't wear a helmet drive motorcycles in the between their world and adult's daily life that is meaninglessly processed. Boys running like shot are nothing more than cause of noise to adults. So there is no enjoyment of reckless driving to boys around motorcycles.
   This loneliness made them absorbed in sports. In Korean society, power of sports is more worshiped than that of culture. Tae kwon do is lonesome sports, but it is the national sport. Tae kwon do is not only sport, but also martial arts actualizing the value of oriental morality, so a suit for tae kwon do practice is not a street outfit and wearing it in the street is prohibited. However, sometimes boys with the suit express themselves in the street. Boys are naturally lonesome being. Boys who practice in the bare ground to play in the ground covered with lawn is expression of desire to be socially recognized.
   Streets are covered with commercial ad and schools are barely standing around dense apartment buildings. It is urbanized nature. Boys can have good relationship with nature. Nature exists occasionally in the form of newly organized construction site. It is a lie like commercial ad is a lie. Boys can explain clearly those fake but feel it.
   It is the young man in Korean society in opening of 21st century Area Park painted. What are boys dreaming under this circumstance? He confessed that he lost in understanding boys as work is progressed. However, he wasn't trying to interpret in hurry, but he just attempt to show. He might think that right interpretation is not a today's job to be settled out. Therefore, his light and cheerful as well as dark and gloomy photograph is like he sees 'today' with eyes of future. It is point that Area Park targeted, his impatience and artistic desire-Namely, consciousness of responsibility that he is not going to see the 'today, this place' with other's eyes.
   Area Park is documentary photographer, who doesn't forget they are witness of age. However, he did not explain kindly. He might think, 'It is honest record that he can do for unexplainable phenomena. Although his silent works were not actualized as dynamic drama, but if we look closely, hidden story is alive. Hidden story is shouting like grass in wildness
   Revelation of the story through reserve. That is the way Area Park communicates with the world through panorama photograph.