Shadowrecommends / Shadow Times Editor : Manabu Miki
(2013.10.13_From Shadow Times Vol.47 " Crossroad of the desert")
About "Quiet River, Seoul"
Ryoji Yamauchi's photography has tried to capture afterimages and memories of cities cracking,
tearing, and peeling as they are homogenized by increasing globalization and the strong power its capital brings,
which wraps the Earth like skin on a body.
There's nothing like how Yamauchi vividly takes away these snapshots carefully collecting these cracks through an approach that he calls, "urban archeology through photography"
But no matter how much development of business and residential facilities brought on by this global capital increases, peculiar memories of these cities show their face at various moments. Even though you would expect the area to be homogenized, the day to day is changed by things like climate and people's lives.
In this project, the scenery of Seoul in winter that Yamauchi chose as his subject with its modernized views isn't all that different than Japanese cities. However, the saturated, faded out scenery due to the peninsular climate differs from japanese cities, creating an atmosphere like a parallel-world.
It even looks like the surface of the Hang river and the sky are connected and have faded together by the air of Seoul. And yet, even in this scenery which at a glance seems familiar, he shows the gap between what we know and the city’s people’s faces, fashions, and its signboards.
As communication and transportation facilities grow alongside our immensely increasing capital, cities and people’s minds will likely become more similar. Therefore we’ll be able to understand each other’s feelings better through this increased correspondence, distribution, and coming and going of people. However, sometimes history shows its face radicalizing borders and building walls in people's minds. It can also be said that history becomes homogenized alongside the city.
The hate speech that occurred after the unprecedented "Korean Wave" showed the fickle and stubborn condition of our minds. It's not just the homogenized cities and history, but further through casting an eye on and tolerating the differences between each other, we can open our minds.
Yamauchi's photography carefully takes out memories and subtle differences peeking out from between the city's cracks and holds them up for us to see. It's not to emphasize plain differences, but to give us neutral eyes to see the discontinuity within continuity. That is urban archeology as well as archeology to open our minds.
FOTOPREMIO 2013 REVIEW (Reviewers : Naomi Yanagimoto, Ryoji Akiyama and Takehiko Nakafuji.)
About "Quiet River, Seoul"
---The quiet visuals of this the image of "the Han River" flowing in Seoul, Korea echoed like a basso continuo.
I think these photographs showed us a world a little different than the image of Seoul and Korea that we had been before.
"Indeed, I didn't know about this side of Korea. Though of course, I think there are various facets wherever we go, I was made acutely aware of the bias in our feelings that we had been before. It is a very precious experience to be shown things which we did not know before through photography."
"I feel that, whithout getting carried away, he sees the sights expanding around him in a philosophical way. This may bring out another side of Seoul and Korea."
"The tone seems to consciously pull out the color saturation a little, too. I think that after firmly setting up the concept, he planned the color scheme and photography style."
---I think he can see minute details in the faces of the people and the city.
"That'a light. And that's why this kind of melancholic atmosphere flows through the entire project. The photographer has a firm reasonable perspective."
"Speaking of Seoul, I had a much livelily view of the city. But if we change viewpoints, I think we can come to see much more such as the sorrows of the people living there. I think he has a good eye for seeing that.