대학에서 불문학을 전공한 그는, 20대 후반 우연한 계기로 사진에 대한 재능을 발견했다. 테크닉 면에서는 다소 미흡했지만, 대상과의 인터뷰를 통해 인물의 숨겨진 표정을 끌어내는 커뮤니케이션 능력과, 한 장의 사진에 스토리를 담아내는 문학적 감각, 그리고 음악을 틀어놓고 마치 춤을 추듯 사진을 찍는, 공연과 같은 작업방식으로 얻은, ‘춤추는 사진작가’라는 독특한 별명은, 비교적 이른 나이에 상업 사진가로서의 성공을 이루는 데에 중요한 무기가 되었다. 
30대후반, 상업 사진가로서, 돈과 명성을 얻었지만, 상상력의 가이드라인이 정해져 있는 상업사진계에서, 자유로운 창작에 대한 욕망은 결국 채워질 수 없었다. 
2007년, 상상력의 자유를 위해, 작업을 순수 예술의 영역으로 확장하며, 예술가가 되는 길로 들어선다. 
‘예술이란 나만이 할 수 있는 것에 대한 집중적인 노력’이라는, 예술에 대한 자신만의 확고한 정의와 함께 , 2009년에 ’99 Variations’이라는 작품으로, 미술관에서 첫 개인전을 열게 된다. 그러나 당시의 전시는 상업사진가로서의 명성이 어느정도 인정된 사실상 운 좋은 데뷔였을 뿐이라고 본인 스스로 고백한다. 이후, 한국을 비롯해 세계를 다니며, 다른 작가들, 예술계의 전문적인 기획자들을 만나며 예술가가 되기 위한 노력을 지속했다. 
그러나 40대 중반, 몇 번의 해외 전시 등의 기회는 얻을 수 있었지만, 상상력의 자유를 얻기 위해 시작한 ‘예술가 되기’ 의 노력에 대해, 점점 회의를 느끼기 시작한다. 
상상력 가득한 자신의 삶을 위해, 예술가라는 신분과 예술계라는 영역이 왜 필요한가? 
누구의 인정이 필요하며, 더 나아가 인정 자체는 왜 필요한가? 
현실의 예술가들은 예술계라는 영역에서 과연 자유로운가? 
이러한 질문들에 대한 답을 스스로 찾아 나가는 과정 속에서, 그는 결국, 삶에서 가장 중요한 것은 목적이라기 보다, 과정이라는 것을 점점 깨닫게 된다.
그가 진정으로 원했던 것은 예술가라는 사회적 신분이 아니라, 스스로 느끼는 예술적인 삶 자체였던 것이다. 

이러한 삶과 예술에 대한 생각의 진화는, 목표 지향에서 오는 조급함과 인정받고자 하는 욕구로부터 오는 스트레스를 과감히 잊게 해 주었고, 결과적으로 작업은 가정생활과 같은 일상의 한 부분이 될 수 있었다. 자신의 작업과 예술에 대해 그는 이렇게 말한다.
 “지금의 나는, 사진작가로서의 정체성은 가지고 있되, 장르와 같은 영역의 가이드라인은 없다. 즉 사진으로 내가 할 수 있는 모든 것을 할 뿐이다. 나에게 있어, 예술이라는 단어는 자유가 아니라, 오히려 감옥이다. 나는 사진을 찍으며 춤을 추는 공연을 하고, 인터뷰를 하고 글을 써서 책을 내고, 돈을 받고 광고 사진을 찍고, 거울을 보며 나 조차도 알 수 없는 무의식을 기록하는 작업도 한다.
다만, 내가 무엇을 하건, 카메라는 항상 내 신체의 일부분처럼 붙어있다."

또한, “사진가로서, 작품을 통해 어떤 메시지를 전하길 바라는가?”에 대해, 이렇게 답한다.
 “나는 아주 사적인 경험에서 끌어온 최대한 주관적인 이미지들을 통해, 질문을 던지는 사람이다. 물론, 동의와 공감을 바라는 욕구는 당연히 있다. 하지만, 어떤 대상이나 집단의 공감을 위해 눈치를 보는 것은 내가 생각하는 예술적인 삶과 거리가 멀다. “

그가 보여주는 사진에 어느 정도의 메시지가 상징적으로 담길 수는 있다. 그러나 그는 사진과 동반되는, 메시지로 간주될 수 있는 텍스트를 쓰는 데에 있어서도, 이성으로 이해하기 어려운 암호화 된 시적 표현을 사용한다. 글조차 이미지이길 바라는 것이다.

사진과 함께 있는 텍스트들을 보면, 현실계에서는 불가해하나 상상계에서는 이미지로 떠올릴 수 있는 모순적인 표현이 많다. 이는 몽상을 통해 자신의 모순을 드러냄으로써, 의식의 영역인 역사적 차원을 너머, 무의식의 영역인 신화적 세계에서 모순적 관계인 타인과 질문을 통해 소통하고자하는, 작가의 의도적 노력으로 읽힌다.



After majoring in French literature at university, he discovered his talent for photography by chance in his late twenties. In terms of technique, it was somewhat lacking, but his ability to draw out the hidden expression of a person through an interview with the subject; a literary sense to put a story in one picture. The nickname 'dancing photographer’ arose and was obtained by taking pictures as if dancing with music. These characteristics made him an important weapon in achieving success as a commercial photographer at a relatively early age.


In his late 30s, as a commercial photographer, he gained money and fame, but in the commercial photography area where the imagination was limited, the desire for free creation could not be satisfied. In 2007, for the freedom of imagination, he expands his work into fine art and enters the path of becoming an artist.  


With his own firm definition of art, 'Art is an intensive effort on what only I can do’. In 2009, he held his first solo exhibition at the art museum with his work '99 Variations'. However, he confesses to himself that the exhibition at the time was, in fact, only a lucky debut, due to his success as a commercial photographer. After that, he continued his efforts to become an artist by traveling around the world, including South Korea, meeting other artists and professional planners in the art world.

However, in his mid-40s, he was able to get several overseas exhibitions and other opportunities, but he began to feel skeptical about his efforts to become an artist, which he started to gain freedom of imagination. Why do you need the status of an artist and the art scene for your imaginative life? 

 Whose recognition is needed, and furthermore, why is it necessary?  
Are the artists really free in the art scene?
In the process of finding answers to these questions on his own, he gradually came to realize that the most important thing in life is the process rather than the purpose.  What he really wanted was not his social status as an artist, but the artistic life itself.

This evolution of thinking about life and art made him forget the impatience that comes from goal obsession and the stress that comes from the desire to be recognized. As a result, his work can become a part of everyday life, such as family life.
About his work and art, he says:
“Currently, I have an identity as a photographer, but I am not interested in any guidelines in areas such as genre. In other words, I do everything I can with photography. 
For me, the word 'art' is not freedom, but rather a prison.  
I do dance performances while taking pictures, I do interviews, I write and publish books, I take pictures for advertisements for money, I look in the mirror and record the unconscious that even I can't understand.  However, no matter what I do, the camera is always attached as a part of my body. “

Also, to the question, “As a photographer, what kind of message do you put in your work?”, he answers as follows. 

“I am a person who asks the questions through as much subjective images as possible drawn from very personal experiences. Of course, I have a natural desire for consent and empathy. However, paying attention to the sympathy of a person or group is far from the artistic life I think.“

A certain amount of message can be symbolically contained in the photos he shows. But even in writing the text accompanying the photograph, which can be regarded as a message, he uses a cryptic poetic expression that is difficult to comprehend by reason. He wants even the text to be seen as an image.


Texts with photographs are incomprehensible in the real world, but in the imaginary world, there are many kinds of contradictory expressions that can evoke images. This is the artist's intentional effort to communicate with others who have contradictory relationships in the mythical world, the realm of the unconscious, by revealing his contradictions through daydreams.


 

CV


Born 1970, Seoul, Korea
Lives and works in Seoul, Korea
President of Creative Company ‘SangSang Variations & SangSang Art Museum’


EDUCATION

1995    B.A. in French Language and Literature, Hongik University, Seoul


SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2021  Performance & Exhibition “Photographer and Shaman” – National Theater of Korea
2020  Performance & Exhibition “Photographer and Shaman” – National Theater of Korea
2018  “Figuring out on Empty” Gama Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey
2015  "99 Variations", Central European House of Photography, Bratislava, Slovakia
2015  "99 Variations", The Center for Fine Art Photography, Colorado, USA
2014  "99 Variations", The VI International Festival of Photography, PHOTOVISA, Krasnodar, Russia
2014  "99 Variations", Central Slovak Gallery, Banska Bystrica, Slovakia
2013  "99 Variations", House of art, Bratislava, Slovakia
2012  "A COMPANY" Samsung Cheil Worldwide, Seoul, Korea
2011  Documentary, "Road for Hope", KBS (Korea Broadcasting System), Seoul, Korea
2009  "99 Variations", Sungkok Art Museum, Seoul, Korea


GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2021  “The Perfection”, Canon Gallery, Seoul, Korea
2019  “Body Scandal”, Seongnam Art Center, Seongnam, Korea
2018  “This is fashion photography 2018”, Canon Gallery, Seoul, Korea
2017  “This is fashion photography 2017”, Canon Gallery, Seoul, Korea
2017  "99 Variations", Fotoistanbul photography Festival, Istanbul, Turkey
2017  "99 Variations", Photo Brussels Festival 2017, Hangar Art Center, Brussel, Belgium
2017  "Synchronizing Instances", Korean Cultural Center, Brussel, Belgium
2016  “This is fashion photography 2016”, Canon Gallery, Seoul, Korea
2016   "SKAM Photography Collection", Sungkok Art Museum, Seoul, Korea
2014   "Dream Society Exhibition: X brid ", Seoul Museum, Seoul, Korea
2014   "FULL MOON : A Story of Sky and Earth", Daegu Photo Biennale 2014, Daegu, Korea
2014   "Insight2 Exhibition", Nemo hall of Blue Square, Sponsored by Samsung Electronics, Seoul, Korea
2013    "Samsung 'UHD ZOO' Exhibition", Beyond Museum, Seoul, Korea
2013    "99 Variations", Ballarat International Foto Biennale 2013, Ballarat, Australia
2012    "Masquerade", Coreana Museum, Seoul, Korea2012    "Insight Exhibition", Yoo Art Space, Seoul, Korea
2009    "Myth in the Mirror", V-Gallery in Seoul Arts Center, Seoul, Korea
2009    "Olleh Art", Kumho Museum, Seoul, Korea
2007    "Myth in the Mirror", Artsonje Center, Seoul, Korea
2003    "A man who was stolen legs, and 30 eyes", Daelim Museum, Seoul, Korea
2003    "Chromatic Sensation", Gallery Hyundai, Seoul, Korea


SELECTED PERFORMANCES

2014    "99th Variation", Culture day, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea2014    "Dream Society Exhibition: X brid", Seoul Museum, Seoul, Korea


EDITORIAL

VOGUE / BAZAAR / ELLE / W / Marie Claire / In Style / ESQUIER and More


COMMERCIALS

About 600 commercial works includingCoca-Cola / MOTOROLA / SAMSUNG / LG / DUNKIN’ DONUTS / FISSLER/ OLYMPUS and 80 film posters


DOCUMENTARIES

2011-2012    
A Documentary of the first Korean female president, Park Geun Hye, "She is not only a woman, Park Geun Hye"
The children and child slavery with KBS, "On the Hope Road "            
The Third generation of victims from defoliant in Vietnam, "Weapon that kills the future-Agent Orange"


LECTURES

2012-2014    
“Special lecture of fashion photograph”, Art of Graduate School,Hongik University
2011              
“Humanities and society”, Department of Liberal Arts, Hongik University“Understanding of commercial photograph”, Department of Advertising & PR, Chung-Ang University
2007              
“Understanding of Photo Art”, Kyung Hee University


AWARDS

2018
Silver World Medal in "New York Festivals TV&Film Awards"Listen to Hearts Campaign "Korean People Archive"
2014              
3rd place award in “International Photo Awards 2014, Editorial: Environmental PROFESSIONAL” “Weapon that kills the future-Agent Orange”
2014              
A finalist in “LensCulture Portrait Awards 2014″ "Miss President”
2012              
Spikes Asia – Asia’s Creative Advertising Festival and Awards Grand Prix, “Samsung Electronics Insight Campaign”
2012              
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Two Gold Lions in Promo & Activation, “Samsung Electronics Insight Campaign”
2011                
Korea Fashion Photographer of the Year


OTHER ACTIVITIES

2015 New York Times Portfolio Review, Selected Participant
2015 Fotovisura Scholarship, Summer Editing Sessions, Workshop in Vermont
2012 Honorary Ambassador of Child Fund Korea
2010-2012  Member of Korail Design Deliberation Council
2009 Consultant of Presidential Council on Nation Branding
2007-2013     Creative Director of Fissler Korea Advertisement


Youngho Kang Photography

Youngho Kang was born in 1970, Seoul, South Korea. He is well known as a commercial photographer in South Korea. His nickname is “Dancing Photographer”, a nickname given to him because of his unique shooting style, which is that while taking pictures he communicates with the model through dancing, or very much as a conductor, with music always playing in the background.
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