Korean Photographer Ina Jang’s solo exhibit is being held at the “G/P + g3/ gallery” within the art space “TOLOT” in Shinonome, Tokyo. Until Aug. 10.

Ms. Jang studied photography in Tokyo and New York and presents her works, which are considered to go beyond the realm and cover the field of contemporary art. In 2011, she won a prize from the Hyeres International Festival of Fashion and Photography of France.

At the exhibit venue, her masterpieces such as “onigiri” and “a girl” are on display. Her style is girly and fashionable, and also possesses a surreal aspect, especially with the faces of the portraits covered. We interviewed Ms. Jang who visited Japan in line with her exhibit.

- How do you perceive your works in a time where the relationship between fashion and art is closer than ever?

I think that my photography falls under the realm of art. I take photos for my own happiness. Ultimately, the categorization of my works is decided by my audience. What people want out of fashion and art is different. To take photos for a fashion magazine, one would have to show clothes, bags, shoes and such products.

This is where I can’t identify myself with fashion. To me, fashion seems more practical. When I was a student, I created a story of a shopper whose handle is the only visible part from an audience’s point-of-view. For those who know much about fashion, they should recognize the brand of the shopper just by looking at the handle. With this piece, I wanted the audience to picture the invisible part to create an ideal bag in their mind. Doing this, the audience is truly able to connect themselves with the photo. But the piece couldn’t get a good review because the bag itself was not there. That is the reality of fashion, I guess.

But, it seems that people in fashion get me. My works are simple and clean-cut. Fashion snaps are elegant and simple, and they make a bold statement. I suppose these are the similarities between the two.

I don’t think I would make a good photographer for fashion brands. I am interested in fashion snaps though and would like to give it a go if websites or new media want to try out something avant-garde.

- You once handled the photo shoot for a French fashion magazine “Jalouse.” You took fashion photos of accessories, yet they relate to your current style too.

In this fashion feature, a story is depicted. I expressed the accessories as being the identities of each of the girls wearing them. I showed bags and shoes coming out of the girls’ faces. In fashion, accessories are a big part of expressing a girl’s identity. This is how I came up with the idea of substituting the girls’ identities with bags and shoes. The items are a part of the identities of those that wear them, but also those that sell them. These photos express such irony.

These types of fashion aesthetics are not my standard style but they do use the “cut out” method, which I often employ. They also express the concept of vague identity as do my other works.

- Why do you cut out the faces of the portraits?

By hiding the face, the audience can overlap themselves with the person in the photo. I like to use the method of “cutting out” the faces. In the past, I used to hide the faces of the portraits by having them look to the side or hide their face with their hair. Hiding the face makes the photo universal.

I also create the works for myself. All artists, including myself are self-centered. I want the photos to be about me rather than the subject in the photo. I hope that my mentality will change but for now, I want the photos to belong to me.

- How do you start the creative process?

In the beginning, I used to take photos randomly, but then I saw the limit in that. Now, I create an image in my mind first. Then, I sketch the image onto a piece of paper and take photos that reproduce the drawing. I usually take photos in a studio, and in a way the studio is like a blank canvas to me. This is how I created the works that are being shown at the exhibit. I suppose I am a photographer instead of an illustrator because I cannot draw well. I love photos because they capture the “moment.”

To be continued into vol.2