kyunghee lee – island

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Kyunghee Lee



‘Island’ is not an real island. It’s just a metaphor.

I am an island. You are an island. We all are islands.

I would like to say “the relationship and communication” between you and I.

I have always thought about them…

‘Island’ is the reflection and introspection on relationship and communication.

-Kyunghee Lee



When art mirrors life, the reflection seen is both an inner vision of the artist and  taps into the psyche of the viewer as well. Humankind is made up of many “individuals”, but a true artist is able to trigger something inside of all of us who may view the work even though the work is coming from a unique “personal vision”…

Such an artist in Kyunghee Lee. With her eye and spirit, Kyunghee Lee uses the camera to tell us what she feels.  While we, the viewers, may not expect what she shows us and are enlightened by what she shows us, we surely understand the moment.  Viewers want surprises and to see something from everyday life seen in a new context.  Kyunghee gives us this special pleasure. The world never quite looks the same again after looking at her photographs.

When I see her photographs , I sense a romanticism and a lyricism coming from deep inside.  Her inner being and personality are put right it front of us, but not in an  overt way, but with grace and subtlety and style. When I see her work, I recognize the elements, the place, the mood, and yet her pictures  come at me in way that I know I have never seen before.  This is art at it’s best. Recognition with enlightenment. Familiarity with surprise. Distance with emotion.

Kyunghee Lee is free and freedom is hard to find.  She does it by dancing . By playing  with the ordinary she achieves the extraordinary.  Her unpretentious photographs hold us.  Keep us. Make us think for awhile, and yet let us travel as we may through her juxtapositions of  unselfconscious simplicity and raw curiousity.

Kyunghee Lee is flying with a warm wind. And the wind will carry her far and to places even she cannot imagine.  We will always be waiting to find out where she will take us.

David Alan Harvey


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Kyunghee Lee


119 Responses to “kyunghee lee – island”

  • Dark, out of focus images seem to be popular these days.

  • I was unsure about this piece as it flowed before me but at the end I felt strangely satisfied and I’m unsure as to why, though I did want it to continue a while longer.

    I’ll be back for more again later. This is one I need to see a few more times.

    I did experience an urge to take off my clothes and go swimming. I wanted to swim in those images above. That’s where the satisfaction comes from, I think. I’m a swimmer. I love the water. It calls me every time.

  • I’ve been waiting for this moment. Kyunghee Lee’s “Island.” I’ve now watched it 3 times with the music on and once with it off. I think I prefer allowing the images to pull me into their depths in silence, like the undertow forcing sand particles through my bare toes. I just want Kyunghee’s vision to become my own with nothing in the way, not even beautiful music.

    Yes, I guess to some, “Island” might simply look like dark, out of focus images. But to me they are poems that cry out to be seen with new eyes, a new heart. Kyunghee forces me to look beyond the obvious, to peer into the distance, to crane my neck to see what she sees. She embues beauty with ugliness, ugliness with beauty. Nothing is as I expect it to be.

    I am not the same person I was before looking at this essay. And nothing will look the same to me again. You, dear Kyunghee, are a magician.


  • JIM…

    dark??? hmmmm, i only see LIGHT….

    cheers, david

  • Kyunghee
    Congratulations on Island!!!
    I am sorry – but I have not been moved by Island – I watched twice. Please explain what do you feel, felt?
    I just don’t feel that the sequence tells a story, shows me your mood, exposes my own mood to myself, except raising a lot of questions that I am asking right in this paragraph. I can pick beautiful pictures out of all but I can’t relate them all together – I am trying to scroll through in my mind and attempting to remember images: I can only recall those that I have seen before on your site and the out of focus ship. Music does make the whole thing dark. This is my perception – nothing more, nothing less. I have seen your other work and love it.

    David –
    Where is the light? What is it that I don’t understand? Why?

    All, tell me, nail me I want to hear.

    I do not personally know Kyunghee. But those who do, does her personality make a difference in the way you see this essay?


  • “I am not the same person I was before looking at this essay. And nothing will look the same to me again. You, dear Kyunghee, are a magician.”

    In what way are you a different person? How will you see the world now? I’ve watched this numerous times and all I can see are a bunch of photos with objects in the foreground out of focus. I’m with Haik: do you know this person personally? Obviously, I’m just not getting these photos and essays.

    Well, the cows were kind of cute.

  • Mr. Harvey —

    what’s up with the music? not sure it’s the right choice, i liked the sequence better without it. and, i don’t know if you ever addressed the matter which was raised a few weeks ago here, about music rights. can you do this — it’s a non-commercial site, i know, but aren’t you nonetheless broadcasting this music? vincent laforet has a highly traffic’d blog, and uses music — and there he talks about sponsorship from various companies funding his projects… i’m confused… but not about the success of kyunghee’s art!

    you would not be hurting the work here to show your slideshows without music. aren’t the power of the images sufficient?

  • Hey Jim –

    Not sure where you’re coming from, photography-wise, whether you are a practioner, fan, what… these pieces aren’t for everyone, but neither is anything on dah’s blog.

    many of them are abstracts… there’s a sophisticated eye at work here balancing the formal elements in the frame — light, dark, shapes, depth, focus, harmony in each image and harmony in the way they relate to one another…

    am i a changed person, is it magical??? no / maybe!

  • I am a photographer, but I clearly do not have a sophisticated eye. I’m a huge fun of DAH’s photography, but this stuff is something else entirely.

  • sorry for my bad english.what is this…art…whats hapening with the documentary.i dont understand the artist.this images not espectacular.

  • if you were to return after you have died, if you were to sense the world around you, sifting between those spaces in front of you, the places where though your scent and print have gone, still shape of you, still mediate between the focal point of your senses and all that loss around….

    a mediation on loss and sorrow, how we often imagine a place and what it shall be after we’ve gone though we have still, remained, there….as if we are seeing through the eyes of our spectre-selves, gone…..

    not an essay but a lament, not a howl but a sob, not a document but a diary, not description but evocation, not reasoned but intuited, not a truth but an anticipation, not dark but, as filled with light as an eye can meter because as goethe reminded, it is only in the shape and body of the shadow that we see the richest light…..

    no more comments from me….

    got pictures and books to make….


  • that should have been, ‘if you were to return after you had died, taken a walk around in order to see and sense the world around you…’etc….typing shit…..


  • Life itself is an experience that depending on the perspective of whom goes through it create a perception…
    Kyunghee, the isolation of the images from the rest of the context, the blurriness of the fore-image contrasting with the sharpness of the back ground, light contrast, and light on the uncertain are always a form to see an Island.

    Thank you, and congratulations on your essay.

  • Bob Black has created a word poem in response to this visual poem. And I am asked exactly how I am changed by experiencing “Island.” I’m sorry but the change to which I refer does not translate easily into words. It is a shift in perception, in how I see, how I interpret what I see…and how I recognize all that I do not yet see.

    I appreciate that work like Kyunghee Lee’s will not speak to everyone, and that is no reflection on the viewer or the photographer. But her work bears close attention. I personally think Kyunghee is one of the most original photographers of our time.


  • The appeal for me in Kyunghee’s work is in the romance and the poetry I see in her images. Or rather, that I FEEL in her images.

    I like her selective focus, the abstract framing, the fact that you have to look, really look, into the image to figure it out. And sometimes even then you cannot. It’s like a well crafted poem. It will shoot like an arrow straight to the heart of some and others will shake their head in bewilderment. But isn’t that true of any creative endeavor?

    Haik asked “Does knowing Kyunghee make you view her work differently?” I think not, and nor should it. Her work stands alone and in person, Kyunghee is as gentle and melodic as her images are onscreen.

    Kyunghee – I am now the proud owner of a signed edition of Island :) Congratulations!! Manhattan dream next???


    you can certainly watch the show with or without music…the choice of music belongs to the photographer…….

    cheers, david

  • This piece really makes me think. I didn’t get it so much, but I think it points out some very interesting stuff that needs to be brought to focus.
    It sorta left me hanging there, wanting to know “what’s next, etc..” I definitely think that this could become a very interesting piece if you make it more clear. It left me with sorta an itch that I can’t scratch. It portrays a very creeping feeling, like a chill down my spine. It made my stomach muscles sorta constrict at the thought of some absurd things. Reminds me of a great depression era. Sort of like a town being corrupted after a major disaster. I don’t know, just the thoughts in my head… Many of you probably disagree though.

    I think you have a very good start so far, just needs some touch up here and there to make the story make sense.
    But congratulations! Keep it up.

  • The above comment is from my 14 year old daughter, Kacia… If she is around I ask her to watch the essays with me; her comment surprised me!!

    I like your vision of water and sky, being one of the same… Living in California, I find the pacific to be very passionate… The body of water that you photographed, and the sky, seemed to hold mystery and questions…. Keep seeking the questions… for in that, is the success of your story… It left me wanting answers, that I know at times are not there… Have to love the questions themselves….

  • I’m at a loss for words.

    Several times I have started to write a comment and deleted it, not wanting to be critical. I can see that Kyunghee has a unique talent and I don’t want to negate that in any way.

    As much as I’d like to stick to the philosophy that “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it” it seems even worse to see this site become a place where no one does anything but tell each other how great they are.

    So how to talk about photography without saying “I like it” or “I don’t like it?” I truly don’t know.

    The best I can come up with is that this is lovely poetry. I understand what Kyunghee is doing and she does it well but I’m just not interested in lovely poetry. I’m interested in hard core images that knock my socks off! I STILL can not forget the new image David showed taken at a bris. AMAZING. Can’t wait to see that one again. I want to see photos that make me jump out of my chair screaming “YEAH”. I suppose some of you must feel that way about this work….but I don’t. If it makes you feel any better, I’m as critical of myself as I am everyone else. I wish I were as turned on by all the work that’s been shown on this site as most of you seem to be, but I’m not. Not yet anyhow.

  • JIM …HAIK…

    as i have said before , i would not expect everyone to like everything…and , as in everything subjective , there are certain sensibilities that are often “acquired”…how much Asian photography have you seen??? as you probably know , the Eastern sensibility does not “answer questions” in the way that Westerners usually demand…does not reveal..does not explain…is not didactic… i do not think a Western photographer could/would have taken these pictures, and i suspect not every Westerner will immediately grasp them either….is that really a surprise??

    these first essays i have presented here on BURN are all of a certain subjective “type”….you will soon be presented with other visions….some will move you , some will not…by the time BURN is a month or so old, you may start to see my reasons for presenting certain bodies of work…i am going for a long term totality with BURN….hopefully, like a good book or film , not all is revealed at the beginning…we are so so used to instant information gratification and need to know all of the answers right away…clear , clean, just as we see everyday in the mass media…i have nothing against the immediate dissemination of information, but would bore myself to death if that was my goal here on BURN…there are plenty of terrific magazines which do that already….i have zero interest in producing a mass appeal magazine…i want to explore…..i want you to explore with me….to open up your mind just a bit…i am not saying you have to accept what is here , but i do suggest sleeping on it….if you really really dislike something, then go out and photograph your alternative…get fired up beyond the keyboard…..submit your work…i will publish your efforts as well…show me something on the leading edge, or over the edge, or too too hard or too too sentimental or too too anything, and i will jump on it…

    in any case, your questions are good and valid and i welcome very much your criticism…as you can already tell by my previous comments, if everyone loved everything, then i would know for sure i had failed…like everything i do , i want BURN to be a body of work….in its totality…BURN may go on for a year and manifest itself in print, or not last another week…who knows?? even that does not matter to me at all…well, i will stick around to give you some alternatives to the first 5 or 6 essays….not to pander to you nor please you , because you are not “clients” to be satisfied….but, because i truly love many different styles of work and if you stick around long enough you will find out exactly what i mean…

    cheers and respectfully, david

  • CATHY…

    please go back and read what i just wrote to Haik and Jim….you are being honest and that is fair enough….actually Cathy i went back and spent about two hours reading all of the comments in the first ten days in the life of BURN….80% of the comments were well thought out, as yours, and very few just said “i like it” or “i don’t like it”….

    hey, you are still around after all this time….thanks for that Cathy…and i am waiting for you to take one of those pictures you want to see so bad…one that knocks my socks off!!! no, no , no , lovely poetry would not be your thing…

    as always, wishing you well my friend….

    cheers, david

  • ok…
    i just watched “it”….
    honestly, i’m gonna read all the comments after i “let it out”, “spit it out”, let my heart speak:
    this time , i need to speak up… not :”i like your book coz you’re my friend” kinda thing… no way…
    Truth is : i lost my mind…
    i watched it with & without music…
    i watched it sober & not… this is a masterpiece…
    Unbelievable… Softness, air, space, infinity, 3-dimensional,
    in & out your soul, like fresh air that doesn’t reside in Los Angeles,
    like a poem, like a feather in the wind, like a bird, like a message,
    like a good movie, like a good book,
    like a friend… like a Great Photograph…

    you see, me and K.Lee do not really know each other…
    Kyunghee Lee barely speaks english but she is the cutest creature in the world…
    when i met her in brooklyn & witnessed her unique way of shooting and holding the camera…
    i freaked out…
    she is unique coz she thinks “unique”
    fuck talent… there is no such a thing as talent..
    you either work on it with your soul involved or not…
    dosnt need to speak any language but, she “speaks”
    them all…. she is a TRUE ARTIST…
    she can speak the “universal” language that derives from the heart…
    Look at this slideshow over and over…
    She does not manipulate your feelings…
    she doesnt try to scare you, for attention..
    there is no blood ( unlike mine ) involved, or sex, or death…
    no shocking of any kind…
    no hollywood involved..
    K.Lee keeps it real, coz
    she is REAL…
    My heart started going faster & faster…
    coz i knew where she was taking me…
    i can relate…
    i have seen the world just like that too before…
    thats why i RELATE…
    but, big but….but you know what?…
    i never dared or even occurred to me to PHOTOGRAPH
    or CAPTURE the world this way…
    in such a CONSISTENT way…
    did i just said the C word???
    Sorry i cant write more about it but this was a “punch”
    in all of my “artistic” values…
    I cant believe that artists of that “level” still “exist”
    to our days… K.Lee is as close to S.Dali, or Picasso
    as possible….ready to be “discovered”…
    I loved that “thing”…
    i cant even call it an “essay”… that piece was pure art…
    i will read now all the comments above…
    im curious to see the responses…
    i cant believe what i saw…
    She is a whole another lane…
    B&W or color, doesnt matter for K.Lee…
    she dont care…
    she has a third eye… literally…
    a 3rd eye that … we have it too but its sleeping…
    its eyelid is heavy… you see we have it but its “lazy”…
    never been used for years…
    thats why and how WE, the rest of us, the audience, the sheep…
    K.Lee is that “3rd eye” opener…
    that is her “JOB” as an ARTIST…
    An eye/soul OPENER..
    K.Lee… i wish U the best… i wish i were U for a minute…
    U are blessed…
    I am your fan for life… not even “envy” can help me tonight coz


  • DAVID,

    That is exactly, absolutely the type of answer I wanted to hear. There was not a single second I have stopped thinking about Kyunghee’s Island. I had not a slight doubt of essay being extraordinary. But I have been intrigued. I am a tinkerer by nature. I cannot just say I don’t like it, put a period, and move on. I have to understand but I had no place to put my fingers and start digging. The essay was and is above my understanding at the moment but you have pointed me in the right direction: “acquired” sensibilities, Asian photography, culture. Those are the concepts for me to hang on, research, and understand.

    In contrast to many here on BURN, I do NOT claim to be a photographer. I had relatively little exposure to the art of photography, photographers, styles, lack of latter as a style. I am here to see, hear, feel, understand, learn myself, learn others. I would have left if the fruit was hanging too low. Over last couple of months my interest in photography has exploded and the fire is getting bigger and bigger day by day – thanks to you, David. I am obsessed and passionate about it. I saw Kyunghee’s Island as a challenge for myself and it is nothing else but a driving force, a trigger to find the edge and walk on it.


    If I have sounded disrespectful and pointlessly criticizing, please accept my apologies. I was not. Never intended. My words were to bring up a discussion.
    I would love to feel the Island in me. I would like to discuss it with you when I do.

    … with love

  • Kyunghee

    You know what I think about your ‘island’.
    I will buy your book as soon as possible.

  • David

    Do you think there is still place in photography world for photographers who want shoot like Larry Towell?
    I know there is a place for Larry Towell, he is a big master, but for young photographer who want to take pictures as simple as Towell do?
    There is any need for photographers with this aesthetics? I mean high level photography.
    I don’t see young top photographers who working like he is latley.

  • Beautiful, I love the mood that the music and images create together… there´s a lot of sensitivity in this work… Island really transports you to another place… I felt like hypnotized for a moment.
    Great work Kyunghee Lee.

  • Am i too early to accept that human vision worth nothing without a soul? I bet Kyunghee is laughing at us, who do not see.

    I feel now – these feeling may and will possibly change and that is the best of Island …

    we distanced from ourselves
    we love what we don’t have
    we are dead
    we fall and look for help
    we don’t help ourselves
    we omit the obvious
    we are boxed in our own made prison
    we never see the savior ship
    we are a fantasy

    i am buying the book, what should i do to have it signed, fingerprinted, stepped on by you. please. how do i email you?

  • I really enjoyed this. The images are of a beautiful graphicality, yet quite down paced. I was actually checking this on the slideshow of photoniceeye (I remember thinking there was a photograph with an out of focus tree that reminded me of Tomatsu’s -it’s in Skin of a Nation among others-). I liked the sequencing as well. Only issue I had, and this might be my monitor, was some highlights I’d kept down and some squished blacks, probably looks better on print, and some too sharp bits for my taste (like a digi conversion to b&w). I don’t know of how much importance to anybody such technical things are when you can try to solve or experience Kyunghee’s Island.

  • O.K. I’m out of here. This is getting too silly for me. I will check back occassionally and see if DAH has gotten back to documentary photography. But this site is turning into an artistic photography love fest. One DeviantArt is enough.

  • i think with these type of images it all very much comes down to taste.

    it’s not really my cup of tea – but there were individual images that spoke to me.

    it was in some ways a visual relief to reach images 24-25 when there WASN’T something blurred and out of focus cutting across the frame.

    i’ve got no problems with foreground bluriness as a device, but it seems overused in this essay to the point where it became a gimmick.

  • some wonderful mexican/spanish/slavish/guitar/violin kitsch.

  • David,

    I must confess that I am also one that doesn’t get it, and maybe after revisiting the work a few times, I still may not get it. But I do agree with what you have said and you are right, everything is not going to appeal to everybody. In the end though, hopefully those who dislike a particular essay or style will still be able to respect the work for what it is.

    Education does not mean agreeing with everything you have learned.

  • Pretty brilliant! Focus is on infinity in most shots as you’re longing away from the island to something new. The blur is what you leave behind, your current state. This is how I interpret it.


  • ben wrote: “”i’ve got no problems with foreground bluriness as a device, but it seems overused in this essay to the point where it became a gimmick.””

    fully agree with this!

  • and this kind of agruments and disussion I will support.

  • David, you write that we want answers, right now, and that this might be the problem in not understanding the essay. Might be like this for somebody, my problem with the essay is that it doesn’t make me ask questions. I hardly ever look for answers looking at photography, or art for that matter. But I need to be stimulated to wonder. Looking through it, without reading the words, without listening to the music, that is what I’m left with: ok, and now?

    Nothing personal, probably seeing the prints versus the grey and black pixels here on screen would help to appreciate the photographic side of it more.

  • and Even Bavcar’s pics are a gimmick?….is it just possible that a photographer choses to shoot in a certain way because that is how she sees the world?….and isnt interested at all in what others consider a gimmick?….

  • DAH: “The world never quite looks the same again after looking at her photographs”

    Seriously, do you really mean that ?

  • bob, we’re not speaking about Even Bavcar. we’re discussing Kyunghee Lee’s “Islands”.

    i found the repetition frustrating for about the first 23 images, and then a 2 image break and more of the same. my point of view. if that’s how Kyunghee Lee see’s the world then good for her, I’m just pointing out that I (my opinion only!) found it repetitive.

    call me demanding, but when i view a body of work its always nice to see some variety.

  • Thank you, dear Bob, for introducing me to Evgen Bavcar! His “vision” validates all I’ve ever thought about the artist’s sight. Artists like Bacar and Kyunghee Lee see through something other than their eyes. What that “something” is, I do not know, all I know is that they look “through” not “at” what the rest of us assume is reality.


  • “i do not think a Western photographer could/would have taken these pictures, and i suspect not every Westerner will immediately grasp them either”

    I fear i’m too typical a Westerner (no, I don’t fear: I’m absolutely sure about that, also looking at the way I approach photography myself… soaked up, as I have been, with all the “western” art and culture that were left around – and unfortunately too often forgotten or scarred – from the Romans on, in this tiny land called Italy… a peninsula btw) . So living on a peninsula (stubbornly attached on one side to the Pythagorean logic, the linear perspective, the scientific approach and all the typical steroids for left brain) does not allow me (unfortunately, again) to catch the fascination of Kyunghee’s island.

    Nevertheless, I really appreciate the fact that Burn offers such different point of views (in terms of essays and selected photos) about photography. Where else could I find them?

  • HAIK..

    you are a good and respectful man…i know that from being with you in person and from your writing…asking sincere questions and presenting your point of view is exactly what i want you to do here…to feel at home….to help raise the bar of discussion for all of us…

    i cannot speak for Kyunghee Lee but i am sure she welcomes all discussion as well….she comes from a culture of extreme politeness and face saving presentation, but certainly not a culture afraid to make feelings known in the long run….Kyunghee is diminutive in her physicality and she occupies almost no “space”….but do not think for a minute she is not strong….poets are intellectual warriors …..

    one of the truly exciting things in life for me is in accepting and appreciating the myriad of personalities and cultures…and the creative expressions resulting… for example, i would relish the meeting of Kyunghee Lee and Panos Skoulidas…culture clash??? absolutely…final line of communication??…absolutely…

    we are all tribal by nature…we like what is familiar…we seek out members of our own tribe…but, the wise woman/man sees that the fish hook developed by the tribe over on the other side of the island enables catching a totally different species of fish than what has been seen before….so, you do not throw away the old fish hook as long as you are catching fish, but the new one might bring a new delicacy to the table…..

    i do hope to see you in L.A. in the next few weeks….and maybe meet your family???

    cheers, david

  • PETE….

    yes, of course….most of us correctly throw out most of the information that comes to us..all of us are “editing” all the time…..but, you know a funny thing happens even in “rejection”..somewhere down the line you might just see something a bit differently or “looser” by being exposed to another version of “seeing”…Kyunghee’s work would certainly have no place in your world of American newspaper photography…and it does not “tell” you anything in the way that you are normally “told”…

    now amigo, you have an assignment from BURN….to cover the Obama inauguration….you are not being overpaid for this, but you well know that this means a lot to me and will help put you on a new map and help BURN and 37th Frame etc etc etc…symbiotic relationship….the most fun kind….so you do have a little bit of pressure on you, but you are a newspaper photographer, so you should be used to it…and the only pressure on you from me is not the kind of pressure you might get from another publication where you would need to get ” the picture”…quite the contrary….i want you to push your personal seeing way way out there…go where you have not gone before even while covering an international event like the Obamamania that will overtake Washington and the world…

    what does this have to do with Kyunghee Lee? perhaps nothing directly…but, as you well know, what i would wish is for you to keep your solid journalistic integrity and intent and yet allow yourself to go to a “new place” of being just as “honest” as you are but with just a tweak more of what things actually “feel like” as much as what they “look like”….there is no doubt in my mind that you will do it…you are about to shoot the short essay of your life…there is no doubt the importance of January 20, 2009…ceremonial to be sure, but that is why it can make a great essay..the “value” as a news event is already locked….there will be literally millions of pictures taken…all the more reason for you to go LOOSE…freestyle…interpretive….

    have fun Pete…no pressure amigo…but, all of us on BURN will be waiting….(hey, you know i am laughing now ..right???)….all best to Jenny….

    cheers, david

  • ABELE…

    you live in one of my favorite countries in the world…and are from one of my favorite cultures…do not think for one second that i disparage the Western world…i belong to the west….Caravaggio was just as much my teacher as was my room mate Masaaki Okada..hmmmm, i just said “was”…change that to “is” please…

    i hope to meet you when i am next in Italy…Sicily in the spring, Tuscany in the summer and Rome every so often at any time…you anywhere near the aforementioned??

    cheers, david

  • What was that? (first reaction)
    Blurry, unfocused.
    Is this a dog? Is this a bunny? Something gets in front of my view. I don’t know what it is, but I’d like to be there.
    I’m inspired. I want to grab my camera, but I don’t know what to do with it.

  • for me the most interesting so far. maybe because i switched off the speakers :) some shots are really cool and show a great and fresh understanding of how to compose an image. one man´s gimmick is the other one´s consistancy :) it´s moody and suggestive. but i as a viewer prefer to see it pure, without having my imagination forced in a certain direction by the text and the music. maybe it was the photographers intention to work about communication and relationships, but the work is so abstract that i rather decide for myself what it´s about for me. some of the shots made me imediatelly smile, which is always a good thing. but i have to agree with some of the above critic: like all the essays i´ve seen here so far it would benefit from a much tighter edit. i mean, peeps, of course you wanna show it all, but where´s the use when the viewers turn their head away because they become bored by the fillers half the way? the chances are better the audience will appreciate all your good stuff if you show only the good stuff. bring it down to maybe twenty, get rid of theoretical ballast and let the viewer do their own cruise.

  • As my southern mother used to say, “The proof is in the pudding.” Well, Kyunghee Lee’s “Island” has already begun to work its magic in me. I awoke early with the mantra going through my brain: “Poetry, all you need to shoot is poetry.” So I just did. At least that’s how it feels to me. It was like Kyunghee was sitting in my head saying, “Try this. Now, try that.” I hope my self portrait series will never be the same again. If it ain’t poetry, I don’t want it!

    Thanks, sister.


  • I can sense the minds opening.

    Especially mine.

  • by usıng the word ‘gimmick’, you are not suggesting a ‘critical’ question but a pejorative one….that is what i find increasingly depressing here…’repetition’ of a visual motif may not be for everyone, just as kyung-hee’s particular visual vernacular (you familiar with her work outside of Island?) is NOT for everyone…and particularly this ground which seems to be dominated by traditionalists and people interested in ‘objective’ (i dont know what this means) street photographers or documentarians…maybe it has to do with the fact that it’s a magazine cultivated by David and people who were drawn to him by his work (which is more classic)…but Harvey’s work is pretty subjective actually….totally being frustated by her work or the foreground obfuscation/outoffocus or the repetitions is totally fine….i jumped on the word ‘gimmick’…it implies disdain….

    people who dont like it, totally valid….particuarly can be received as either unapologetically (for me) strong or ridiculously narrow (for others) with regard to her work as her vision of the world…repetitive: absolutely….boring, yes for many, uninteresting,….it is not ‘heroic’ fire-in-the-moment stuff…but questioning the repetition and all the out-of-focus stuff is a legitimate question, and one kyung-hee might speak about, but calling it a gimmick is, to my ears, a knock off, a cut down….a pompous indictment of another’s work…

    having no feeling for something: cool…considering something boring: i can live with that….underwhelmed by something: hell yea….

    but considering a particular photographic decision as a gimmick is a beast of a different color…

  • Wow, you guys blow my mind!! First, let me say that I try to validate everyone”s work. This essay is definetly not to my taste…as a landscapist, I don’t “roll that way” meaning no out of focus foregrounds. That said, I would have liked to see a little more “leit motif” here instead of the heavy clubbing. Tease me, confuse me, lead me….bam!!..epiphany! Whoa, where she going here….that’s just not right….c’mon man…bam!!! epihany. Hey, let’s build a mystery. What’s that….my grandmother can take pictures like that…I’m outta here…bam!! Eugene you genius!! Yessss!! Let’s take a boxing metaphor….this essay is presented like a boxer not a knockout artist….ok, not heavy clubbing just jab, jab, jab setting up the knockout…..We are the island distanced from the main. We’re caught up in our own way of seeing, believing….you’re out of focus you landscaping bastard. It’s always about you, isn’t it Cliff??? This work left me questioning myself and if that was her intent I applaud it….after all, she has a book and I have a hard drive full of images.

  • there ıs somethıng wrong wıth the computer im using…my posts still get screwed up…i didnt finish my thought…

    ok, HERE IS MY CRITICISM…This essay and the book exclued images that i thought were the heart of this story…images of children…as a photographer, i felt this was a ‘failure’ of the book…and i told kyung-hee about this…i still find the essay above empty without those children, because for me they were the center around which the piece revolved…without it, the essay MIGHT appear to many (as expressed above) as empty, solipstic, repetitive, without emotional or existential life…I AGREE…when i got the book and i’ve looked at the book many many times, i felt at a loss for this and didn’t understand why kyung-hee or the editor or the publisher removed the images of the children….

    it is the use of the word ‘gimmick’ that i objected to, not whether or not you find the essay interesting or substantial…gimmick is a pejorative world and implies that her use of out-of-focus or foreground obfuscation is just a stupid, trick, a cloying visual tick that doesnt have visual importance for her….that’s what annoys me about alot of the discussion that pops us here (and elsewhere)…it isnt discussion…asking the photographer:

    ‘why do you shoot like this?’…’why have you chosen to shoot truncated images’….’what is the reason for so much repetition’….’cause i dont get it, i dont feel it, i does nothing for me’ etc…those are legit…i mean, i have the book, and as a photographer, i felt MAJORLY dissapointed that Kyung-hee or the editor or the publisher decided NOT to include a significant photograph from this series in the book (of children)…and as a photographer, I asked her, privately, WHY?….i think the addition of a child in this barrent and death-filled landscape would have made a profound difference….and to this day i do not understand the exclusion of the children…and i dont actually understand why one of the children pics was excluded here…it may have offered an emotional connection for people who see it as purely abstract, or empty or kitschy or whatever….

    that’s what i think dialog is about…not calling something kitsch…or a gimmick….

    nothing wrong with sayin ‘i dont like this, i dont get it’…but i find here, and many places elsewhere, more often people dismiss rather than investigate….

    same shit is said to people at places like Eddie Adams workshop…it is much easier to dismiss than it is to investigate….

    that’s all im saying…people dont have to like it….i mean, i repeat, i feel really disappointed that photographs of the children have been removed and it changes for me alot of ‘my’ connection to the work…and i would like kyung-hee to talk about that, if she wants…

    but her work is not gimmicky…

  • Bob, it took me long to write here, to me there is too much “I like it, amazing again” around here…

    you know what I find increasingly depressing here? that people who do not agree with the masses here, get a lection in how they have to see or think….

    and I agree again with Ben here, we are speaking about the work of Kyunghee Lee, not Evgen Bavcar…

    by the way do you know the paintings Miquel Barceló made od Evgen Bavcar? great work, that how I meet Evgen Bavcar and his wonderful work.

  • i dunno bob, “gimmick” to me is just a word used, perhaps carelessly. i think you are reading too much in between the lines of what i am writing, which was not intended to be disdainful or agressive. i was just writing, albeit quickly, my immediate reaction to a set of images.

    so what if i’m not familiar with the rest of the Kyunghee Lee of work? does that make my opinion on this body of work any less valid?

    so, if it’s going to satisfy you and quell your burning rage, then okay, the repetition of the blurred foreground objects isn’t a “gimmick”.

    but it still bothers me.

    i’ll ignore the ridiculous labelling of anyone who isn’t scared to be a dissenting voice as being a “traditionalist”…

  • stephan:

    i hope my last reply to ben addressed your concerns…i used Even’s work as an example, and I know you know as well as any, that there is a difference between criticism that says “i don’t get it” and “this is stupid”…maybe it’s the problem with the internet (yes) but i have a problem with Island (which i have just described) which i asked/wrote Kyung about…i love her book, alot, but i think the decision to remove the images with the children took away one of the most important visual and emotional strengths of the work and so i want to know and to understand why…if i appear lecturing, it is because i find it tedious that people dismiss quickly instead of question…by the way, there are alot of good and legitimate questions raised about the work already….

    you, as a instructor yourself, know that the heart of doing work begins with investigation, first and foremost with one’s own ideas about what constitutes a picture..

    hellos from marinka :))


  • “you are not being overpaid for this”

    Thats OK David, in all my years as a photojournalist, I have NEVER been “overpaid”….dammit!

    Maybe one day.

    Looking forward to the challenge. Both yours and my internal one.

  • ben:

    “so what if i’m not familiar with the rest of the Kyunghee Lee of work? does that make my opinion on this body of work any less valid?”..yes…

    because you do not have the context or the familiarity of her work to get a sense of why she might shoot this way. but, i am really surprised at you because of all the people here who strive hard to talk about a large variety of photography and steep their discussion in the connection to other work, it is you. in fact, one of your very 1st post at RT included a discussion of 3 different photographers and asking the readership to consider your comments in light of you viewing habits. in other words, what appears to be a gimmick here might very well be a part of her entire body of work, how she sees…

    by the way, im not burning with rage ben…in fact, im done with commenting here, but i did because kyung-hee is a friend and i love the book, alot…

    incidentally, i see nothing wrong with being a traditionalist…by this i mean, one who views work in a traditional manner or shoots in a traditional manner…

    ok, broke my promise to myself last night…

    will just say this: i have offered Kyung-Hee and David CRITICISM…

    where are the pics of the children?…

    it’s a big big emotional and visual void for me and i do not understand not including them…

    just so you dont think im just a putz saying ‘i love everyone, i love everything”…

    the missing children was a strange and odd editorial decision…


    not being familiar with a photographers work

  • “that there is a difference between criticism that says “i don’t get it” and “this is stupid””

    oh yes Bob, I understand, but then I ask you: why nobody jumps on the people who write “fantastic again”?


  • “do not think for one second that i disparage the Western world”

    There was no such second, David: I could not misunderstand your words in such a way (even taking into account my poor english ;)! I don’t disparage my culture too: would be foolish, since part of our identity come from our cultural background… then it’s up to any individual to move on from these roots (and even challenge them, when needed).

    Sicily is quite far (damn, it’s an island! and, cultural differences again, my European concept of far distance probably sounds ridicolous to an American ;) from where I live (Piedmont, northern Italy), but maybe our paths could cross in Tuscany or Rome… would be great!

  • Lovely set, particularly picture 15, reminded me of The Shipping News by Mark Power. Music felt slightly out of place though.

    Also did anyone else find their eyes fdoucing about six inches behind the screen when watching?


    yes, of course….just in Magnum , for example , i see both Jonas Bendiksen and Mikael Subotsky working as very straightforward photojournalists….is that what you mean??

    cheers, david

  • Kyunghee,

    number 24 and 25 are gorgeous. I like how in many of the photographs the out of focus shape in the forground becomes something in the viewers imagination. A figure, an animal, someones flowing skirt………..

  • Jonas and Michael are too modern for me. I mean on aestetics way. Larry Towell is very old fashion. But may be only for me.
    I remember one dissusion about James Nachtwey’s last project, and there was many many woices that this is too much old fashion way (aetetic) of shooting. So if Nachtwey have old fasioned style so “how old” is Towell’s style.
    I would like to ask what you thinking about this way of seeing frames is still need. Wery simple aestetic.
    You have to agree that this is quite different way of shoothing than “modern” photographers do like Marcus Bleasdale or Jacob Aue Sobol or Zizola.

  • I am asking because I am convinced that I need simplicity in my photography. But photography move fovard and I am not sure that I should be “old style” young photographer, just dilemma.
    This “young” is probably not right no more :)

  • Eastern versus Western ?

    Amongst other things this work reminded me of this photo essay:


    i want to answer this question…because it is a good one…but right now i am in Washington and must rush to a meeting…meetings are what happen in Washington….i will, however, come back to this, because for sure it is an interesting topic…

    cheers, david

  • i find the response much of this community is taking with the dishes being served a bit demoralising. And that includes the people that are polite, but still just paying polite lip service. Sorry, it’s nothing personal towards anyone; it’s just the way I feel when I read many of these responses.

    and every time the chef has to come out of the kitchen to tell you this isn’t a kitchen that serves meat and potatoes, well it is just another sign that people are not willing to take up the mission that is Burn.

    Do you honestly think David doesn’t have access to the images that you want to see?

    Do you honestly think that David doesn’t know what you ‘already know’ and like?

    Are there not already enough of those places to eat those main-stream images?

    Do you honestly think you are ‘supposed’ to just swallow these essays whole and say ‘yum’?

    Sure some people will say yum, and that’s good; it shows the diversity of the audience. But because it’s typically such an extreme dose of something that’s not main-stream it’s more likely to make you say ‘ewe’ And that’s a totally healthy and totally honest first response. What you do next decides what kind of person you are.

    I keep thinking of my sister that came over to visit me in the UK from upstate NY and the thing I most wanted to share with her was the ethnic food. Well we went from Thai to Indian and even to Chinese, she hated them all. I love her to death, but she only enjoyed ethnic foods that were served by the hard rock café, ruby tuesdays, or planet hollywood. That’s fine. She didn’t come to the UK to explore food, she came to ‘see’ British ‘stuff’ and of course I see all the time my sister’s attitude toward food in most people’s attitude towards photography, and that’s fine.

    But the members of Burn are supposed to be coming here to explore other ideas about photography. And although we typically reject what we don’t understand, here at Burn we’re supposed to resist that urge.

    I could be wrong, but you really need to trust the chef and ask yourself what it is that I’m supposed to like about this course of food. You need to look first for what’s redeemable verse what’s dismissible. If you just sit back in your armchair and dismiss the entire essay then you have really cheated yourself.

    Did I love this essay?; absolutely not, it’s far too abstract for me, I like a much more western implementation of these concepts which can be found here:

    so again, it’s not categorical dislike.

    Are there things that are redeemable about this essay to ‘an’ audience?

    yep loads, depending on the audience. It’s clear this is of traditional eastern taste. I mean we’re talking about a culture that rakes a few lines in sandbox; chucks in a few pebbles for good luck and calls it ‘divine art’. How can we possible understand fully in the West what kind of appetite they have in the East?

    Are there aspects that are applicable to our traditional western tastes? yep loads:

    In almost every single image there is an overwhelming sense of tonal balance. Do all of your images consider this? In almost every single image there is an overwhelming sense of visual rhyme. Do all of your images accomplish this? In almost every single image there is cryptic sense vagueness, (sure when you do decrypt it, maybe it’s not something you prefer to discover), but do all of your images employ a certain cryptic sense of discovery? In almost every single image there a strong recognition of line geometry underpinning the organic shapes. Do all of your images consider the energy that diagonals and curves imbibe in an image, how they forge relationships? In almost all of the images there is a strong sense of spatial awareness with regards to the objects giving a sense of balance and harmony? Do all of your images have balance and harmony?

    So you’ve got things like tonality, balance, harmony, all thing we should care about, but since they don’t reveal peace in Gaza we should dismiss them?

    Yes we in the West want a recognisable linear story, but I challenge you to go sit in a hotel room with a Japanese person and have them explain to you the story of the advertisements. Even with a perfect translation you will be amazed by how non-linear of a message they respond to. I have no idea how they even know what is being advertised it’s such a convoluted message for me as a westerner…. again ‘horses for courses’ and I’m not at all surprised this essay would do exceptionally well in the East or with open minded people and not do well with a meat and potatoes westerner.

    I’m not sorry to be a broken record here, but again, seek first to understand before condemning, or maybe seek out your meat and potatoes elsewhere; you will have no problem finding them, but you will struggle to find the variety of plates that’s coming out this single kitchen.

    And so I don’t sound like such a kiss-ass, David you need to learn to stay in the kitchen.

  • Soren, that’s a bit wierd with Lud, but i like it more, so you thinking of it first doesn’t count ;-)

  • CLIFF….

    your “grandmother could do this”?? isn’t that some kind of put down of your grandmother? as if she were some kind of lowest common denominator…i would love to see your hard drive full of pictures….no need to question yourself….hey, this is a personal set of photographs from Kyunghee , not a personal indictment for what you may do!!! ….i am not sure i get the wham bam boxing metaphor…anyway calm down and let’s look at your work…this is all pretty subjective going here….

    read Joe…he always has the best handle on things in general…

    cheers, david

  • Again, not dismissing Kyung-Hee’s essay, I will visit it again. But the work you linked to, Pacific Boredom… Now that speaks to me. Maybe I am just to literal in my photographic tastes.

    Thanks for the link Joe.

  • Cathy just put in words how I “feel” photography. Something I’ve already said many times in Spanish but that is difficult for me to express in English. “I’m interested in hard core images that knock my socks off! I want to see photos that make me jump out of my chair screaming YEAH”. That doesn’t mean that I only like hard, strong or “outsider” photos. What I mean is that I like visual power. And it can be in a smooth picture as well, in just a look, just an expression, just a pose… What moves me inside is an image that transmit feelings, something that hits you on your face and shocks you.

    But here with Kyunghee’s essay we are talking about something different. We are talking about poetry, yes, and we are talking about mood too. This is not the kind of photography I prefer, but definitely it transmits something that, like a melody, goes into the viewer. Maybe you like it or not, but it speaks in whispers that some people hear and some not. Like everything in this world.


  • So music is OK if it is credited at the end? Was that the conclusion, I did not think it was that easy? If there is a soundtrack, I am more interested in hearing something that relates to the pictures more directly, sounds of the island, or music created for the particular pictures. In general, I think music detracts from the pictures.

  • Whew!! DAH….I don`t feel indicted…..I was questioning my own narrow way of seeing things…my island….my quest is to be open to the unfamilar…….I`m just stirring the pot….peace and love.
    BTW both of my grandmothers are dead and I loved them dearly.

    Joe….you`re very logical and grounded…”a few lines in the sandbox..a few peebles….divine art”???
    That`s close to Asian Slur Syndrome. BTW, my son is a Buddhist….peace and love.

    Gotta lay off that Irish coffee in the morning!!

  • A mother sitting on the wet sand at the beach holding her dead child. She caresses the cold, pale skin of the little one that lays there with his eyes closed. The wind blowing soflty in his hair. While the mother wraps him tighter in a warm cloth she sings a quiet good-night song. Some rays of light break through the clouds … the waves whisper …

    Cannot explain, but that is what I saw …

  • that is what I saw “through” the images of Kyunghee Lee – as if my mind had been kidnapped.

    Sorry, no time to read all the comments above.
    Coming back later for it. Most probably it is going to be quite controvers.

    Have fun at it!

  • “Beauty exists beyond the beautiful things”

    I would like to appreciate your all sincere responses first.
    I really enjoyed your comments about my ‘island’.

    My photos have already left me.
    They are alive and moving by themselves.
    They are going to communicate with you.
    I wish that you listen to what they say with open mind.

    I think photos are very special and another languages.
    If we can say all completely by language it is no need of photography.
    I can say with photographs what I can’t express by language.
    It is Very amazing for me!
    I think it is not important to say like this…. it’s my taste or it is not my taste…
    We are going to seek a wonder world and enjoy freedom of expression.

    Anyway, In my ‘island’ foreground blurriness is very important.
    When we recognize or feel someone or something, we do “through” their own mind.
    When we remind or imagine something …there is something “sparking-plug”…
    Foreground blurriness means right that…”through” and “sparking -plug”.
    It leads to imagination and reach what I want to say.

    Many viewers of my ‘islnd’ have confessed their own trauma that never said to others.
    My photos and viewer give and comfort each other.
    I would like the ‘island’ to stay around with you and communicate for a long time.

    Tahnk you :)))

  • I love Kyunghee’s Island. I miss the images of the children that were excluded and, that i thought , were the main focus of her previous version of the essay. but in the end she’s the artist and it’s her decision. I love the book very much nonetheless. I could see the progression in her style over time. It’s very poetic and i love poetry. I admire the simplicity of her images. I dont see her work as being somehow ‘classical” or ‘conceptual’. i see her work as coming from highly sensitive photographer, who percieves her life in details and sentiments more than in aswering questions of how to build the world. I love the fact that there are different sensitivities that challenge the way we see things. I dont see the need to be attached to the categories: journalism, concept, fine art, .. in order to simplify things that we just do not respond to. Thank God, we’re so different! Hopefully, there is a place to everyone. Im very happy David celebrates all types of photography to be exhibited here. cheers to all

  • You write like you photograph.


  • My mistake, posted the comment not in the right place but any way, just to say that the emotion in your photographs ore touchable.


  • david:

    “…always has the best handle on things in general.” ??

    we reading the same comments?….

    i think kyung-hee’s comment is the most important, just as ashe’s contribution…

    the best comments on all the images/essays have come from the photographers themselves…the rest, to me, including my own defenses of all the work so far, look like empty noise….

  • I am in cambodia at the moment (the moment?), slow internet connection, can’t see Kyunghee’s essay, but David, yet as you make good points about asian culture and where it might be coming from, in all due respect, i do not think ” not getting” her work may have to do with being occidental. This may have been so for some contemporary “asian art”, in part, many decades ago, but not anymore.

    IMHO, many asians might not get it as well, actually probably more than westerners even, I am thinking “educated” ones, if that matters. No, it’s a personal thing, and how we let Kyunghee the chance and her pictures the time to impress on us. If art was accessible from the word go, it would be merely top 40 artistry, too easily consumable. It is good that it is not always obvious to everyone. What we really should not do is reject it outright.

    I love photography and I love to look at pictures, this keeps me ever curious of what everyone here submits. If Kyunghee’s art was to not “get” me too fast, so to speak, that can only gives me me more time to spend around it, at a pace that might be different from anyone else.

    Kyunghee, I find it wonderful that you express yourself in such highly individualistic manner, unique as well, out of the beaten track. That is definitely a high achievement in itself from anyone asian, moreover, a woman. So many dab into porn/Erotism, or disguises-cum-performance Art, to get their voices heard, not you.

  • Can’t we all get along? :))

    I am concerned about our lack of ability to “play” here together. Perhaps some suggestions of comment guidelines would be helpful? Let’s discuss HOW to discuss…Those who are not loving the work are being forced away from the site because they don’t feel they can fully express themselves. Others feel compelled to defend the work and in the process risk discrediting those who don’t agree with them. It would be great if we could transform this into a lively discussion where ALL opinions are respected and welcomed.

    I know many here are TRYING. It seems like we could use a little help though.

  • Marcin, I think I feel the same if I am understanding..for me it is a matter of what resonates in my heart, and that means ‘old school’ aesthetics, and I don’t think I could shoot differently just to keep up..

  • Ana,

    I know you didn’t write this for my benefit but I really appreciate what you said. Glad to know I am not alone. I often feel like there is something wrong with me for not agreeing with the majority here.
    If nothing else, I am learning to trust my feelings.

  • Hi Bob, i feel really uncomfortable with your post above citing my words with sarcastic contention. it’s really not like you to be so snarky, so i’d like to clear the air if you don’t mind.

    of course you are correct; there are only two things that are important: the images the artist puts up and then the information they provide subsequent to that. i don’t think anyone would disagree with you Bob.

    i think David may only have been referencing my plea that people should explore the images with the most open of minds; nothing more, nothing less. It would seem to be the most reasonable way for all of us to take the sound-byte you’ve cited considering the post above it.

    i hope my clarification compels you to respond with something more kind and we can just drop this and never bring it up again, but right now it makes me feel kind of weird having that comment just hanging out there like this; left like this it seems much like some of the other unhealthy infighting that’s going on.

    Kind Regards,


  • kyunghee lee..

    you are an incredibly beautiful person and it is a treat to see how you see, if only for a moment..

    for me, the most powerful image is 29..what appears to be a woman at the seaside with a point and shoot camera dangling from here arm..immediately I viewed that image as you, believing you had made a self portrait. now thinking on it, i am not sure that it is physically you, but symbolically, emotionally, it sums up the series for me..

    wishing you all the best and a very happy and peaceful year

  • Hi Folks,

    (I just spent a fair chunk of time write a post only to have it vanish when I stupidly closed my internet connection. Damn.)

    Anyway, I said something along the lines of:

    I’ve watch Kyunghee’s essay four times today. The images have lingered in my mind, which certain means that this work is gripping in its own way. I think, perhaps, that the non-western/western dichotomy has been a little over played. I see it as being a poetic piece of work; it is definitely non-literal, non-linear. I think these images evoke rather than explain, they hint rather than reveal. I think what they evoke and hint at is probably dependent on the viewer, as much as what is in each image, or what was intended by Kyunghee. They remind me of when a distant, fragmented memory pops into my mind. Sometimes its all about the feel of what happened so long ago rather than the exact facts. Well done Kyunglee!

    David, I sent you a private email the other day. Do you know if it arrived safe and sound?



  • THANK YOU JOE!!! thank you for explaining so well what DAH is trying to do here. I think that in general most of us ( artists/photographers) have knee jerk negative reactions when see “blurry” images, or over/under exposed/satured etc etc. because for the most part we have had inept “chefs” disguised as visionary curators in “galleries” directed more by “trends” than by true vision. So when we are presented by what seems like “more of the same” we can’t tell them apart when they are presented even in a different platform. But this is DAH, and I trust and respect what he is doing and creating.

    I often google words to see what comes up when I am curious about something or don’t know how to express an idea. so i just googled:
    “blurr + boundries + eastern culture” and this is one of the things that came up:

    Blurred Boundaries: An Analysis of the Close Relationship Between Popular Culture and the Practice of Law

    it talks about ” Courtroom Story telling” and “Visual Story telling” among other topics, but I will excerpt a few sentences that I found fitting:

    “First, powerful litigators are effective storytellers. Attorneys need to educate and entertain their audience from voir dire to closing argument using a variety of tools to portray their themes. Many rely on classic storytelling techniques as vehicles to convince the jury…The significance of storytelling in the courtroom is grounded in an important parallel between our system of jurisprudence and fables: both are driven by a personal and thematic “protagonist vs. antagonist” structure. The common law system is adversarial; parties square off against one another seeking victory, not compromise. However, the violence is removed from courtroom combat. The struggle takes place more abstractly as the courtroom becomes the “theater of battle.” If violence is the primitive ex-pression of the drives dealt with by mythology, the courtroom permits a more advanced and abstracted expression…
    The best courtroom stories, and therefore performances, are almost mythic in structure: good vs. evil, man vs. nature, big vs. small, innocence vs. deceit…Courtroom storytelling sounds simple, yet it is actually quite difficult. Not all cases are as inherently drama-laden as the O.J. Simpson or Rodney King affairs. Instead of bloody gloves or incriminating videotape, most litigators have to struggle with sixty-page lease agreements or complex insurance contracts….
    Second, visual communication has both a substantive and a stylistic component. Both “the message” and the way in which it is communicated matter. Every culture has certain boundaries or parameters that define the acceptable style or language of presentation within that group. For example, if you travel to a different country, you will notice that their billboards, newspaper and magazine ads, and television programs simply look different than they do in the United States. The message (e.g., “Buy Coca-Cola” or “Eat at McDonald’s”) might be the same; however, the method of delivery and the arrangement of the symbols are not. ”

    well, if anything, DAH’s “burn” has made me think. investigate. i don’t want to be part of a jaded or bitter group that likes or dislikes driven by a gut reaction or from rejection. i want explore beyond my perceived understanding.
    thank you DAH
    thank you JOE

  • oops, and i hit the send button before i said thanks to kyunghee lee and all the photographers here who put it out there for us to chew,digest, swallow, or spit out, feel full or still hungry… to continue Joe’s metaphor!

  • these photos make me want to go out and make photos…can’t say much more than that.

    ~ chris h

  • Joe:

    i cant seem to find the comment on this machine (running home to work), so forgive me for writing here instead of as a reply to your last comment (to my reply to David). First, let me just say simply that part of my comment was a ‘joke’ to David…i know david personally and have been with his Road Trips from the virtual beginning and so part of my comment was to tease him…if i wrote to you, i would have written about to you ;))…hopefully you understand that by now. so you do not feel weirded out let me clarify simply: i have been a cheerleader for other photographers here and believe, as a working photographer myself, that what matters is not intellectual dissection, but simply open-mindedness…i was a bit, honestly, bewildered by the difference between your initial reaction to kyung-hee’s work and you later long comment about what the audience should see as David’s orientation…it just seemed odd, anyway. it is increasingly clear to me that my contributions do not help. i didnt’ like all the ‘cheap’ talk about Burn at HCSP (i still read it), so elitist and pompous (not everyone, but much of the snarky comments there) and i find it annoying (as a photographer) that disagreement leads to a logical analysis. anyway, either way, my comment was a tease to David, and that the idea of Burn was the hope for a conversation between artist and audience, about Questions and discussion…not critique…i did not help that by offering my own positive critique for all the discussions that have come up….but, it’s clear that my own participation does not rememedy this. so, my comment was meant to tease david about contributions….nothing more…delete everything that i have written here over the last 2 weeks (for anton, panos, patricia, angelo, katrina, tom, bryan, chris, tom, mustafah, ashe, martin and know kyung-hee), my participation has not been (as a photographer, a friend and someone whose live is governed by photography) to be a critique or a guardian but a supporter of Burn, period. That i attempted to give others, those who agreed or dissented, ideas to thing about, and those ideas turned into long didactic off-putting screeds bothers me. I find them still happening. but, this was my fault and i shall not do that again. i commented here (about kyung-hee’s essay being about mortality, memory, death, sight) was in support for a photographer whose work i know well and love. as usual, it turned into more of an intellectual argument. again, my fault. so, i iterate the promise i made: no more words from me, period. I will contribute work to Burn (which i have already done) but i feel my words have not accomplished what they had intended to do. this note as an example. i am sorry if you felt i was attacking you, but i was teasing david. he knows me and he also knows what i can and cannot abide, for good or ill.

    for me, burn is about the work, not personalities or commentators. so, now, absolutely, silence from me. Burn will be a great magazine, will contain interesting challening work (i hope my bones will incite similar reflection), will contain literary contributions, will contain ‘behind the scenes’ interview/ideas/expressions, interviews, multimedia pieces, etc etc etc. burn is so so young, but burn is not a blog…it is in it’s infancy stage and developing and david and anton are busting their humps to keep it going…i worked my butt off to do what i do best: to make photographs and to write essays, all of which burn has, but my place is not here to be a critique or to snark off people or to make issues…my role, as i promised david, is to celebrate and support the artists and their work…

    hope that makes sense….

    i could not be happier for Kyung-hee (as i told her privately many times) and I am happy that so many know are seeing her work and i hope she sells a shit load of books….it is a magnificent book…

    all the best

  • I am up in the air about this, too, Tom — I can find no simple explanation of what is fair use for using music — this is a non-profit site but still it is being “broadcast” and nothing is given other than attribution — if I start a website to talk about photography and have a worldwide audience and possibly sponsored photographers, could i just pluck any photog’s images from his/her website and use them with a credit? fuzzy logic? or perfectly legit? could be ok, but feels wrong.


  • Hi Folks,

    Wondered if anyone has seen this……



  • kyunghee lee

    i received your book today and it’s so beautiful. it’s like blood in the veins. it’s contained into one feeling of contentment. you don’t go away. you stay. congratulations.


  • Congratulations Kyunghee; very thought provoking. Thank you David for reminding me of the East / West difference in interpreting images. I reached photograph 21 and then I saw something that was not, literally, there: the tree looked, to me, like a dragon, or another-world creature, perhaps a soul, perhaps MY soul – certainly not an out-of-focus tree. I looked again at the photographs, no music, and saw so much more than at first view. These are photographs for the wall: each day you will see something new. For those that don’t “get it” I was reminded of the first time I looked at a Medium Format ground glass screen – and saw nothing – I was looking THROUGH the screen instead of looking AT the screen. Just “stare” at the photographs, try not to focus on the reality too much.

    Can East meet West? See the work of Pep Bonet on the Contact Press website. The discussion as to whether photojournalism can use techniques such as personal vision, metaphor, colour-to-provoke-a-particular-emotional-response etc. can wait for another day. Today is Kyunghee’s day! I honestly saw something new today.

    Thank you.

    Mike R.

  • Thanks David !!!

    You are always welcomed in my home.

    I am starting to feel at home here on BURN as well. It’s a wonderful place to be. I have never taken participation on _any_ site and have been always skeptical in revealing my true name to the unknown of internets. I am sure many here will share the feeling with me – JOE “hellofa” SOMEGUY is a great example for me and I can credit the warmth of this site created by you that allows people to reveal their true selves. Thanks David …

    The meeting of Kyunghee and Panos? That is monumental. And if that ever happens and I am sure it will at some point, relish would not describe the full extent of feelings one would take home from it …


  • Hey Bob,

    You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. Your posts are endlessly thought provoking and always seem positive, to me anyway. Don’t stop them….

    Thanks David for having such an eclectic mix on Burn. Even though I might not like some of the stuff on here I always look with an open heart and mind. How else am I able to progress with my work and evolve as a human being if I can’t learn from other people’s view of the world ?

    Kyunghee Lee’s work was very personal and although I didn’t particularly like it, after several viewings I felt I had gained something from the experience. Maybe when I next hold a camera my work will be nourished and better for having viewed her images.



  • Right after pressing the play button I was – speechless. Wondering in quiet awe. Then I thought: okay blurred foreground. A little later: Aha, again blurred foreground. Am I too much of a phototechnic freak and only see blurred foreground? Confusion. Then I asked myself why I was listening to some kind of Spanish music? At that time I was in Iceland because „Island“ in German means Iceland. Sorry, I didn’t read the introduction first. Looked „Island“ up in the dictionary much later.
    Half way through I switched off the music. No need for music.
    At the end: I am very thankful for this visual journey. I had to learn more about Kyunghee Lee. I only knew that Kyunghee Lee lives in Korea. No more. So language and lack of knowledge can create some irritation.

    Kyunghee Lee, you explained a bit about the blurred foreground, but honestly I felt that it was used a little too much for my taste.
    There are sometimes repetitions like in image 6 and 7. Both had roughly the same kind of composition and idea. Is this on purpose? I might have left one of them out. Image 14 and 15 look quite similar as well. To me it seemed a bit like you couldn’t decide. If I am wrong here please tell me. If this is your full intention: agreed!

    Kyunghee Lee, I feel your images work best in a book or in an exhibition. Just had a quick look at some of the pages of your book and I think it is good to see some images side by side and others as single. Perhaps a slideshow is not ideal for your work. Island will be in my book shelf soon.

    Yes, these images give the viewer the chance to go on his or her own magic journey. Mine was to Iceland and yes, I have seen the Korean (?) signs on the wood. But I was ignorant enough to stay in Iceland. And I longed for the sound of waves splashing or wind blowing softly.
    Image 25 is my favourite. Oh, how I love this image!
    Thank you very much for sharing your visual world. It is a great big pleasure!
    In Germany it is awfully cold and perhaps this is what made me think of Iceland in the first place.


  • Haik,

    I always welcome to your e-mail.
    My address is
    Thank you very much. :)))

  • Bob,

    “but i feel my words have not accomplished what they had intended to do” – that is the worst thing you have said since i ve been reading you. ne pizdi, eh. there, i said it in canadian russian.

    You are a crucial part of BURN and I am gonna play your comment above down.
    Please, don’t make us feel the void you may cause by being silent. I bet I speak for many.

  • Right on,
    Reimar !

  • I love Kyunghee’s Island. Your work is sweet, romantic, melancholic, passionate, sublime, fantastic…
    I have just bought your book…
    Best, audrey

  • Reimar Ott,

    About forblurriness:
    There have to be present “you and I” for coversation and communication
    The relationship between forblurry object and focussing object are like that.
    Usually Photographers take pictures of objects only…
    but I put myself or someone’s soul in my ‘island’.

    There are big differeces between Image 6 and 7.
    Image 6 is like a heavy burden of life to carry …
    But image 7 is smiling face of stone stature … means deliverance from repress..

    In case of image 14 and 15.
    Image 14 is like rumination…
    Image 15 is like …stand alone elegantely.

    I can’t express well.
    Because photos are like index and poem… somthing that can’t express exactly…

    I hope you enjoy my ‘island’,Reimar.
    Thank you so much. :)))

  • Kyunghee

    You are my master of way of thinking about own work. Your words expaline a lot.
    You are like a poet with camera, a thinker.

  • “but burn is not a blog…”

    Bob, here are my two (euro) cents: burn is what we make of it… we have still to learn how to manage this “road trips” evolution, but basically the spirit should be kept the same as before imo. The problem is that burn is more dispersive (“road trips” was basically a single flow of conversations moving, and getting richer, from a post to the next one) but on the other hand offers features (essays, single photos, the still to come work in progress section) that were felt as missing in the previous “incarnation”. My feeling is that, for the time being, burn looks more like a gallery open to the public, whereas “road trips” looked like a family’s living room, where you can talk more freely because you know that you will not misunderstood (due to the shared contest).

    Bob, please keep contributing also with your comments: I would personally miss your enlightening point of view…


  • BOB…
    I missed that “part”…
    or I misunderstood it..
    You didn’t mean u r stopping writing here..!!
    What the hell did I miss???
    Anyways , “BONES” are coming up soon..
    Anyways.. Sending U an emal…;-)

  • That is a good assignment for me…take photos that knock David’s socks off! :))

    I will give it my BEST shot. In the meantime I did just submit a single image that I hope is worthy of your consideration. Thanks.

  • Kyunghee
    Thank you very much for your reply. To find words to explain the own world of thoughts and ideas is always difficult. Yes, it would be much easier to talk face to face. Who knows – perhaphs one day.
    With your words it became more clear how deeply you think about your images. In contrast to that is my rather superficial way of looking at a picture. Perhaps I am more a plebeian rather than an intellectual. This makes me struggle with methapors and so on. My stomach talks.
    Nevertheless I enjoy looking at your images very much!

  • Dear Kyunghee Lee … One of your books in on its way to me. Looking forward very much to hold it in my hands!


  • Panos! you just said the “A” word! Photography and Art! Photojournalism and ART!!! Is it possible to show the world to your viewers and include something of yourself? I think so … Pep Bonet of Contact Press thinks so (I presume).Am I correct. Uncle Pep?

    Good light to all…

  • I would like to say ” Thank you very much from my heart.” to the friends to buy my book
    And also Thank you very much to the respectable viewers and sincere responsers to my island.

    For the freedom of Photography!
    Hope keep going!


  • I really enjoyed the images (music OFF) but it is of no importance if I enjoyed the work or not. Only the photographer would care, maybe… What might be interesting though, for those who like Kyunghee’s essay is to look at the work Pictus Interruptus by Ray K. Metzker.

    Regarding some heated discussions above I’ll just repeat what I said in another thread. I know it is the internet, therefore discussions get all over the place, but I imagine 99% of the people here are photographers. All these heated discussions, especially on essays, are beyond me. “Should have been done like this, should have been done like that”??? It’s done! I take it or I leave it. If I feel commenting I send the comment directly to the photographer. Every different way of treating the photograph (color, b&w, desaturated, painted, upside-down, whatever style) has it’s audience… None of the styles satisfies everyone! I understand people leaving comments here but I can’t understand why many feel that everyone should fall for the same thing.

    I honestly did not expect such a variety of different work here at Burn, but I’m very happy that Burn (David) goes for it all. It has become a place I have to visit every day and mostly because I know I’ll see something different than the day before (whether I like it or not).

    Cheers to you all. Veba

  • Paul, you said…

    “I was unsure about this piece as it flowed before me but at the end I felt strangely satisfied and I’m unsure as to why, though I did want it to continue a while longer.”

    Lsst part of my island… maybe It liberate all restriction, repress, pain, worries…
    And The last photo (dog tair and a hole of fence) is like a joke.

    You didn’t explain why and wanted to swim in those images above… I surely can understand your feeling.

    Thank you for sharing your feelings, :)))

  • Velibor,

    I have serched ‘Pictus Interruptus by Ray K. Metzker’ … Very unusual, awaking my thoughts and motivating me … Thank you very much for introducing him and your careful comments.

  • I understand Cathy, but why in the internet we need always guidelines? when we have exhibitions, outside in the real world, do we place security officers beside every single picture who control what the visitors say?

  • This week I received in the mail my signed copy of Kyunghee’s book “Island.” For those of you who had questions about her work as seen here, I encourage you to consider buying the book. This body of work is better suited for print than computer. It also calls for close examination of each photo rather than seeing them whiz by in slideshow format. To buy the book go to:

    Now I want to see an exhibit with her gelatin silver matted and framed prints hung on the wall of a gallery or museum. That would be best of all.

    Brava, Kyunghee!


  • Beautiful kyunghee lee, your mind is just beautiful :)
    love, miguel

  • I have just received your book, it is magnificent…

  • Dearest, KyungHee Lee sunsaengnim!

    Do you remember me? I am Hyun Min and we met last summer through Ilwoodang.
    It is amazing to see your works here. I was websurfing, and i got here somehow, and i am now very surprised and astonished to see your name here. I didn’t know that you have your works published. Congratulation! Your works are emotional, poetic and powerful. This reminds me of Busan so badly. I wish the best luck with your future works and i will keep up with them. :-)

    Hyun Min Lee

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