Continued from vol.1

- What kind of photography do you plan to create next?

I will exhibit my latest work titled “There is no there there” at a group exhibit in Switzerland. The theme of the exhibit is “youth.”

In Korea, there is this website called “ULZZANG,” and it’s been around since I was in my teens. The website name means most beautiful face in Korean. The website allows users (mainly girls) to upload pretty photos of themselves and other users can comment on them. The prettier the girl is, the more famous she becomes. When doing research to gain creative inspiration for the topic “youth,” I remembered about this website and realized that it still existed.

Digital cameras are the norm these days, and it is also easy to Photoshop the photos. Most of the photos posted on ULZZANG are digitally processed. It’s funny to me because, most of the girls have retouched the photos so much, that it is hard to know what they really look like.

My latest piece consists of a series of contorted images of these types of girls. I contacted each of the girls that I wanted to feature through the website and took photos of them in a studio. I then sent the photos to each of them. I got each of them to Photoshop the photos as they like and post them on the website. The posts on the websites comprise my latest work.

This piece is similar to all my other works in that they all incorporate the theme of “identity” and issues around the topic. What is the beauty standard in society? Why does society pressure young girls into becoming beautiful? Why do girls have to retouch their photos? These are the types of questions I am posing to my audience. Identity cannot be found in a face that does not really exist. The same goes for my other works.

- The Korean economy is doing well these days.

Seoul is changing at a high speed right now. The cityscape of where I used to live has completely changed to the point that I can barely recognize it. Tokyo is also changing, but it is still recognizable. On the contrary, it might be because I live there, but I find that time in New York passes slowly and calmly.

I feel that in Seoul, there is a new reform happening, not just on the surface but a little deeper. Almost like a revolution. People’s ways of thinking and their lifestyles are gradually becoming westernized. People want to be rich, and their desires for materialistic things are high. I think that values related to capitalism are at its top now.

Because the economy is becoming better, people’s attention is moving towards cultures, art and politics. Including our relationship with North Korea. Right now, South Korea is full of energy and is trying to bring in new values. I see this as the country trying to understand its own identity. Up until now, our country was in a rush to achieve its goals, and on the way, it had to copy what others were doing. Now, it is trying to create its own values and grounding.

- For you, identity is the key.

Wanting to pursue one’s identity is a very natural desire. I have many faces. I am a photographer, an artist, a daughter and a wife. I am on a long journey of figuring out my own identity. I think that life is about finding yourself, and this becomes life’s long goal.

【Exhibit Information】
Ina Jang Solo Exhibition
Venue: G/P + g3/ gallery
Address: 2F TOLOT, 2-9-13 Shinonome, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Dates: Until August 10th
Open Hours: 11 am to 7 pm (reservation required)
Closed: Sundays, Mondays, and National Holidays