Figuring out on Empty
I have worked as a portrait photographer for about 20 years. The knowledge I gained from my work tells me that people live as they look; their lives relate to the way they look and vice versa. When I worked as a portrait photographer, I always regarded myself as a mirror. It means, the pictures are kind of mirrors showing a subject. I could always find and meet another layer of what makes humanity. Furthermore, thanks to the interviews, I could reach the deeper layers of my subjects and catch the invisible figure of the subject. My performance art is making portrait photos of my subjects, even myself, and having interviews with them, make a short article and displaying it on a wall by beam project. The photos and memos about my impressions from subjects fill the empty wall during the performance, like an exhibition. Finally, a lot of images and texts about the subject will figure out on empathy. This means a kind of many pieces of the mirror showing the subject. This is displayed only during the time of the performance, upon finishing, it disappears as if we can see our image only when we watch the mirror. Performing with one person takes about 1 hour. The person can figure out about their inner self and at the same time I can figure out about my own self. I can sympathize with the subject, and the subject can sympathize with their newfound inner selves. It is the totally unexpected happening. The fixed idea and image against someone is extended by pictures on the wall. This is the figuring out on empty.
Born in 1970, in Seoul, Youngho Kang is a well-known commercial photographer in South Korea.
His nickname is ‘Dancing Photographer’, a nickname given to him because of his unique shooting style, which is that while taking pictures he communicates with the model through dancing, or very much as a conductor, with music always playing in the background.
He graduated from Hongik University, where his major was French Literature, he had no special education in photography, but he still managed to become the top photographer in the commercial area in a short time. He confesses that he was very lucky for having chances like these.
Given this, he has a powerful planning ability that is based on the humanities, which shines through in his directing ability that makes for compelling stories being visible in the pictures, as well as a unique ability of communicating, that extracts the inner, hidden expressions from a person.
This, together with his luck, makes him the photographer he is.
Having started in 2009, he extended his imagination towards fine arts. This was the beginning of his unique works, titled ‘99 Variations’. In this work, he takes pictures while facing the mirror, while at the same time dancing and making changes to himself in various ways. And in 2012, he produced a unique documentary work titled ‘Who is she?’, in which he was photographing the president’s back side. Through this work, he extended his genre of photography.
In 2014, having found his own definition of art to be ‘a passionate effort that only he can do’, he is now going into a new adventure, in which he is reaching beyond the identity of a photographer. He held a performance work, titled ‘99th Variation’, where he was in-between being a photographer, a performance artist, a media artist, all kinds of artists, in National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea. He is now working while at the same time holding lectures on the ‘Oxymoronic power, Imagination’, in universities.