Desert.
Photographs and text by Jungjin Lee. Text by Robert Frank.
Radius Books, Santa Fe, USA, 2017. In English. 188 pp., 106 monochromatic illustrations, 10x14".

Publisher's Description

Robert Frank once described the fragmentary, poetic images of New York–based photographer Jungjin Lee (born 1961) as “landscapes without the human beast.'

“And now, over twenty years later,” Jungjin Lee notes, “when I examine these works, I encounter the same experiences and energy I had felt then and there. Transcending time and space, everything is still, my mind is perfectly quiet, and I know I face ‘eternity and the absolute.'” In this body of work produced over five years in the early 1990s, Lee captures the vast American Southwest and transforms it with liquid light and diluted light-sensitive emulsions to create images that are as uncontrollable and natural as the landscape she depicts. Desert comprises four series of works (each bound as a separate book and presented in a unique slipcase), all of which contain monochromatic images of arid lands. Stratigraphy etched into rock faces, massive stones, cave-like precipices, and anthropomorphic fauna showcase an extensive compendium of the desert’s many faces and textures. Each image focuses on the landscape’s formal qualities, eschewing human presence, simultaneously evoking late 19th-century photography, while epitomizing the stark modernity of Lee’s lens. Certain images provoke a sense of the infinite in their vastness, while others fix upon particular features, deftly transitioning from the macro to the micro.

Born in 1961, and raised in Seoul, Jungjin Lee earned an MA in Photography in 1991 from New York University. Numerous galleries and museums in the United States, Europe, and Korea have exhibited her work. She has published several books, including: Wind (2009), Unnamed Road (2014), Everglades (2016), and Echo (2016). Lee’s photographs are included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Houston Museum of Fine Art, and various prestigious institutions in Korea. The artist currently lives and works in New York.


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