I am convinced that how we are shaped culturally influences what we shoot and how we frame the world. While much our influences in the West have been that of white male photographers and as a result this has skewed how we appreciate photography produced by other cultures. In my recent research I have sought to answer this burning question: How does who we are from a cultural and ethnic perspective influence the images we create? In my quest to answer this question I have expanded the photographer’s work I look at to go beyond that of the canon prescribed to us via western dominance and hegemony in the world of photography. To this end I have found the work of Koo Sung Soo to be very refreshing and eye opening.
Koo Sung Soo was born in Seoul, Korea in 1970. He creates large-scale photographs that have the canny ability to make see the familiar in new and interesting ways. He has a creative edge to his framing and use of color. He shoots with a large format 8” x 10” camera and I am sure this choice of camera influence how he shoots and what he shoots. You can see that his images are well composed and thoughtful. His use of color and light are exquisite. The images present a tension that mesmerizes invites the viewer. His work clearly has a deeper message than appears at first glance. His work demands that you sit with it. His images are thoughtful, visual strong and intriguing. The compositions use light, symbols and color to create relationships that begs further reflection.
You can see in Soo’s work the influences of his culture as he interrogates his culture like only he can. His familiarity with his culture empowers him to see it in unique ways and his work exhibits this uniqueness. What is your thing? What do you bring to your work? What makes your work stand out? How does your cultural / socialization influence your work in a good way? Are you conscious of how your cultural background frames what you see and what you shoot?