The art of photography is spellbinding. Dorothea Lange, an influential documentary photographer, once said, “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” Photographers thus capture the essence of time. Their pictures arouse nostalgia within our hearts and allow us to anticipate the upcoming future. With the click of every shutter, photographers capture what they deem as the ‘perfect moment.’ The compilation of these moments is what makes history visible to the people living in our present day and age. Photographs are therefore remnants of what all of mankind leaves behind, to the next generation and the generations that follow.
The Chung-Ang Herald (CAH) had a chance to meet photographer Cho Seong-joon at his third solo exhibition in Cannonplex Gallery, Seoul. The “Memories of the Heart” Exhibition was held from March 22nd to April 5th.
-Photographer Cho Seong-joon
Photographer Cho Seong-joon was born on 1981 in Gwangju, South Korea. Cho majored in Documentary Photography at Chung-Ang University. He worked for the CAH from 1999 to 2001 while a student here. Both a photographer and an editor, he began taking pictures for the press, which eventually led him to pursue a career in photography.
Cho has actively participated in various projects and has challenged himself to extend his breadth and scope as a photographer. He has worked at FIFA Marketing Agency as an operation assistant from 2001 to 2002. He also took a job in the Olympic Council of Asia during the Busan Asian Games as an official photographer, thereby recording the vibrant moments in Korea during the time. After his military service, Cho joined Joongang Daily Newspaper in Korea and worked there as a freelance photographer. In 2005, Cho once again worked as an official photographer for the Peace Cup International Soccer Organization in Korea. He has also worked at Samsung, an official sponsor, in Torino Winter Olympics as a photographer in 2006. Currently, photographer Cho is working for Bloomberg News. His photographs have been published in various influential publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Time Magazine.
Counting the recent exhibition, Cho has now had three solo exhibitions along with various other group exhibitions in Korea. He showcased his first solo exhibition during his college years at the Australian Embassy in Korea, where he provided live coverage of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. The second solo exhibition entitled “The Inside Life of Bangladesh” was held in 2008 at Chungmu-ro Gallery in Seoul, Korea.
To find out more about the recent works of Cho, log on to his own webpage: www.sjcho.com
-‘Memories of the Heart’ Exhibition
‘Memories of the Heart ‘was the most recent solo exhibition Cho Seong-joon held in Korea. Photographer Cho effectively portrayed the essence of the world he captured through his lens. The exhibition was held in celebration of his fist photo essay book; all the works in his book are showcased in the exhibition. Canadian investment bank Scotia Waterous selected Cho as 'Photographer of the Year' in 2011 and launched a project, thereby supporting the publication of his photo book.
*Scotia Waterous Photography Book Project: Since 1994, Scotia Waterous has selected one artist each year and presented their work in finely crafted books. The project has helped develop the careers of photographers around the world, including its 18th winning artist, Cho Seong-joon.
Stirring black-and-white images catalog the quickly fading scenes of today: kids naively playing in the snow, people dancing in their traditional Korean masks, village women working in the tidal flat. Cho has a way of capturing the region’s essence in a way that evokes its rich, storied past.
Having said that, Cho also captures the images of the modern day Korea, which crate a sharp contrast to the nostalgic images of the past.
“My photographs are memories of the heart, nostalgic connections to the deep values and spirit of my country people.”-Cho Seong-joon.
By displaying both images of the past and the present, Cho effectively portrays the message that transcends history. His photographs bring viewers on a journey to the past, recollecting memories of our parent’s generation and their effort to establish the foundations of Korea. Images of the lives of our parent’s generation thus elucidate their sacrifices and devotions to transforming Korea, a highly developed nation, of which we currently live in.
-Cho’s Favorite Picture
During the opening ceremony of “Memories of the Heart” exhibition, Cho was asked to choose his favorite photograph. The picture on the right was chosen as his favorite among others. Cho says that the models for the picture were in fact his own cousins, which make the image relatively more affectionate and meaningful to him.
-Photography, Philosophy, and Life
Cho is cautious to define photography. He feels that he needs years of more practice to really be able to give a definition of his work of art. Even so, he defines photography as an “art of recording.” Especially in the field of documentary photography, documentation is the pivotal element to keep in mind. Taking pictures of everything visible to the human eye deviates from the purpose of documentary photography. The most important aspect, therefore, is to interpret the world in an individualistic and artistic perspective. Cho compares this act to ‘Magnum’ photographers who record history in a view that is different from ordinary photographers.
In an interview with News Cheonji (www.newscj.com), Cho shares an experience he recalls. When he went to take picture of the slums in the streets of Philippines, he was accompanied by a tour guide who was later found to be a priest in one of the churches in the slums. His first encounter of the church was deeply heart aching, for it was no less than a warehouse. He then contributed the pictures he took in Philippines to a Christian media and went the extra mile to open an exhibition in his church in Korea. He was able to raise enough funds to help the church in the slums. Cho believes, “Being able to help people with the pictures I take is the most meaningful way to spend my life.”
It has now been 13 years since Cho first held a camera in 1999. With time comes experience, and it seems that Cho has managed to gradually yet successfully build a strong foundation for his career. His home life is also meeting a pleasant turning point; he and his wife are expecting a new baby! The CAH congratulates photographer Cho Seong-joon on his third exhibition and hopes for all the best to both his life as a photographer and soon to be father.< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >