It is always a surprise when I see student work that surpasses even the idea of student. After being in Santa Barbara for two years, I have watched the growth of the Master’s program at Brooks Institute, seeing young artists make their way through a complex system of hoops to visualize, craft and create new ideas. During the recent student showcase of the graduating Master class, it was Hee Kim that stopped me in my tracks. The work was so personal, so unique and so quietly powerful, I went back to the show many times to look more closely at the work.
It was his idea of disconnection, of loss, and ultimately of gain that I found so compelling. We have select prints here at the gallery, for more information about Hee Kim, or to see the work, stop in and experience this stunningly beautiful work.
About The Trap –
As a foreigner in the United States, I experience a conflict in my identity due to different cultural practices in everyday life, such as greeting, meeting, communication, and social structure. Although I was excited about encountering new cultures from the beginning, I soon realized that the differences in conflicting cultural practices created feelings of alienation, displacement, disqualification, and apprehension, and that my sense of who I was had been shaken.
I use my camera as a tool for locating my new reality, which is constructed by conscious and unconscious misunderstandings and disagreements. In my work, The Trap, the immediate and profound contrast symbolizes the conflict that arises from different cultural practices between Eastern and Western societies. The illustration of my model’s symbolic expressions reflects my various emotional responses to standing between the two cultures.
Like peeling layers off an onion, I unveil myself through every press of the shutter. By creating this body of work, I can better understand the conflicting perceptions of my reality, and I ask the viewers to challenge themselves to question their own perceptions of realities and see from a different perspective.
About Hee Kim –
Hee Kim was born in Seoul, Korea. He received a BC in International Trade and an MBA in Seoul, Korea. He ran his own international business for 15 years in Seoul, Korea, which allowed him to travel all over the world. It was during his travel that he began photographing people and lifestyle. This made him think of his own life and history, which led to his desire to tell his story using photographs for his future generations. Moving to the United States to study photography, Kim graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California, and received MFA in Photography.
With a background in photography, he works as a freelance photographer and Fine Artist, as well as a visual storyteller traveling places all over the world and writing photo-essay, and with a passionate eye for capturing the mystery of people, Kim seeks the unique human moments that animate photographs.
We have a select number of images from Heegon Kim’s series, The Trap. To see this work in person, or for more information about Heegon’s work, contact the gallery.