2020 - Ongoing
Seoul, South Korea
"Fearless Flowers. NOT FOR EVERYONE vol.2"
be not for everyone.
"Fearless Flowers. NOT FOR EVERYONE vol.2" is a continuation of a "NOT FOR EVERYONE" project, which started in 2019 and was exhibited in Seoul right before the pandemic at the beginning of 2020. Even though the format has evolved from photographing on the streets of Seoul to a studio environment, I continued my work with hand casting and searching for people to photograph. Usually meeting them first and investigating their take on society, and hoping for a change.
These photographs are subsurface in their softness, an exploration of Korean subcultures and their diversity. My subject, who may exude toughness in other settings, is shown with vulnerability and humanity. The muted tones, the slight pop of the person being photographed from the background, the posing, and flowers, represent an idea of the fragility of form. I'm not interested in taking pictures of someone naked but finding a way to express them as dressed in their own skin, secure in themselves.
Through the work I continue to do for the series, I decided to explore the themes of gender, sexuality, gaze, and identity. The human body with the addition of flowers represents the same universal innocence, timelessness, and purity. Each participant represents a different group of diversity that includes LGBT community members, which, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, received criticism and a surge in homophobia.
I've been living in Seoul for over 3 years now, but I had a chance to come here a few times before. Each time with curiosity, trying to observe and analyze society. Every time I came, I found positive and negative differences, which ultimately made me want to produce this body of work. I'm being introduced to a new vision and a listener of different stories and visions of life here with each person I meet.
I believe that awareness has the power to change the climate and people's perception of what they seem to fear. Most of the visitors who came to see my solo exhibition never came across someone openly gay or trans, has tattoos, is a drag queen, or just feels comfortable with their bodies. As someone who moved here from London, where this transition took place a very long time ago, there is no other but to just be yourself. And I was surprised to see how in Korea - such a modern country and super high-tech, people I photograph for this project feel oppressed or harassed.
When people photographed for the first edition, saw their faces hung on the gallery walls in the area of Seoul that mostly resembles rich people, they felt very powerful. They felt normalized and "allowed" to be their own very version in front of society for that split moment. Which I feel is beautiful and gave me the reason why I should continue this project.
I aim to strengthen the people who feel like they are not part of society and surround others with their worth of attention and captivating faces.