Why Hero?


Taking photographs is my way of resisting the city. This resistance stems from the act of shooting photography, rather than the image itself. In other words, it is not the surface of the city that I am interested in, it is the moment of shifting, when the city breaks free of its system. It is when microscopic change appears and disappears in everyday life, rather than striking from people or nature. In order to capture this, I try to follow a regular routine from home to work and from work to home. Between this limited routine, indistinct events occur, for which are invaluable for exploration.

Such as an actor mimics another person, the city hides itself inside various events and situations. At the same time, people hide behind the city and this creates inherent complex interests which we call ideology. I am interested in the moment when the city returns to its own nature, just like when the actor takes off his/her mask and returns to their own mundane life. But the actor we call “Seoul” constantly changes his/her face, thus gradually decreasing the chances for us to see its true self.

In other words, I am looking at the city through a peephole, zeroing in on what I want it to be. This is a matter of perception, figuring out a way to gain a different viewpoint. Although I cannot change the conditions of this particular city, I find that it is always possible to change my perceptions of the city through the practice of photography. This comes from an experience of crossing the visible into the will of the invisible and sharpening my critical perception. Using a photographic image as an art piece is irrelevant, it is more about the act of photography as a resistance to the overwhelming influence of the city.

This book contains photographs of people inhabiting their true city. I call these people “hero” since they are facing the issues that I cognitively understand as reality. Their appearances are related with fear, a source of despair that lies with the jobless and alcoholics laying on the streets. The reality that these people are reenacting in these scenes is interesting. I approach these heroes as a humble fighter exposing the realities of the city just like a self-burning anti- government demonstrator in a high crane who fights for change.

I call myself a “hunter”, carrying my camera as a tool which I call it my “weapon.” I use film and automatic film cameras which have the most primitive form and simple functions. I hide myself and my “weapon” like a hunter hides from animals. I shoot my camera when the target comes into view, into the exact space and time I planned, just like a hunter who uses the most simple tools to hone in on their prey.

As a tool, film cameras, as opposed to a digital cameras, do not offer much in my photography work. I am more interested in the specific chemical reaction that film goes through. It takes a certain amount of time from the shooting to the developing of the film which allows my images to inhabit a dimension of time.

Expired film and automatic film cameras with limited performance capabilities limit my ability to show each event and target. At the same time, as an end product they meet my expectations. In conclusion, I use photography not as an object to shoot cliched images, but as a tool to face new dimensions of time and space of the city. Photography is a tool to capture the city’s true self, and this book the consequence of that which my simple tools produce.

2011, December, yoobyungseo