GROUND LEVEL, COLES COURT ADJOINING GALLERY 1
KOREA, BORN 1998
LIVES AND WORKS IN SEOUL
Kim Sihyun’s photographic project, featuring more than 100 photographs from Identification (ID) Photo Project 2017, is an exploration of identity and contemporary culture. All of her portraits are in the ubiquitous front-facing, head and shoulders format of identity photographs with her subjects photographed against coloured backdrops. Kim is interested in the way that this standardised approach can create a snapshot of current fashions and trends. To find her subjects she advertises on social media with her photo sessions typically booked out within seconds.
Describing the creation of her work, Kim says: ‘The whole process takes 30 minutes. When the customer comes in, we talk about the background colour, then we discuss which angle and lighting would best suit them … After the photo shoot, rather than photoshopping on my own, the client stays and works on the process together with me. We go over quick fixes such as the tone of the background colour and make-up touch-ups. I think as a woman I can sympathise more with what [my customer] desires in the picture. It also helps that I drew a lot of portraits of people and became aware that a small change could make a big difference.’
Kim Sihyun is a young artist with a huge social media following who has achieved something of a cult status in South Korea. While studying photography at Chung-Ang University in Seoul, she has established her own studio where she invites people to come and have ID photographs taken. First exhibiting her work in 2017, Sihyun was awarded the Dior Photography Award for Young Talent for the Identification (ID) Photo Project at the prestigious Arles Photography Festival in 2018.