Center for Creative Photography, School of Art

The University of Arizona School of Art launches a new virtual symposium series examining Asian photography, beginning with “Photography and Korea: History and Practice,” available on Zoom, Feb. 24-26.

Organized by Assistant Professor Dr. Jeehey Kim, the symposium includes numerous Korean photography curators and historians from such institutions as Seoul Museum of Art, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Museum of Photography, Seoul, as well as the University of Mary Washington, University of Michigan and University of Massachusetts, Amherst. 

The series, co-presented by the Center for Creative Photography and Arizona Arts, is supported by the 2022 Korean Studies Grant Program of the Academy of Korean Studies. Participants can register here.

Thursday, Feb. 24, 5-7:30p
Friday, Feb. 25, 5-8p
Saturday, Feb. 26, 4-8:30p
Symposium website

Photography and Korea: History and Practice,
한국의가족연작, 익산 (KOREAN FAMILY), Gelatin silver print, 27.6×35.3cm, 1971 © 주명덕 JOO Myung Duck

(The symposium will be available simultaneously in South Korea on Feb. 25-27.)

“The Center for Creative Photography is honored to work with Dr. Kim on this unique opportunity to gather voices in Korean photography from Tucson to Seoul,” said Dr. Meg Jackson Fox, associate curator of academic and public programs at the Center for Creative Photography. “These conversations on Asian photography are a critical part of building a robust conversation about the medium and what its history was, is, and can be.” 

The symposium aims to explore various ways in which photography has been structuring Korean history and culture while addressing diverse photographic practices and movements to the global audience. Panels will be divided into topics, including the history of photography magazines, major photography movements and exhibitions, colonialism, postcolonialism, gender issues, and national identity. 

Photography and Korea: History and Practice,
섞여진이름들(THE MIXED NAMES), Gelatin silver print, 27.6×35.3cm, 1963~1965 © 주명덕 JOO Myung Duck

The keynote speaker is Yong Soon Min, professor emerita from the University of California, Irvine. Her art practice as an artist, curator, educator, and activist, has engaged the interplay of identities within colonial and diasporic histories. Her notable grants have been Fulbright Senior Research Grant, COLA Individual Artist Fellowship from the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, Korea Foundation Grant, Anonymous Was a Woman Award, Guggenheim Foundation Grant, and NEA Award in New Genre.

“This symposium is a part of a long-term project of diversifying the history of the photography discipline,” said Kim. “The project aims to discuss the status of Asian photography in museum settings and academia, including the challenge of organizing a nation-based exhibition as well as the issue of globalizing/de-Eurocentricizing photography discourse without exoticizing/Orientalizing.”

Dr. Kim’s research encompasses the history of photography, visual culture, and film studies in East Asia.

Photography and Korea: History and Practice,
Imprisoned Body, Wandering Spirit, from Mad Women Project series, 2002 – © Youngsook Park & Arario Gallery

Jeehey Kim Biography

Kim earned her doctorate at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, with a dissertation on funerary portrait photography in East Asia. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago. Kim is currently working on two book projects: “Imagining Korea through Photography,” on the history of photography in Korea, and “Photography and Death: Funerary Photo-Portraiture in East Asia.” She also has been writing articles on vernacular photographic practices as well as on documentary films and visual culture in relation to the Cold War and to gender politics in East Asia. As a curator, Kim has organized exhibitions, including “Pyongyang Bookstore,” presenting North Korean artists of the 1950s and ’60s at Seoul Metropolitan Library.