Yesterday was the final day of the F/28 month of photography in Chiang Mai, so I spent a few hours running around trying to catch what I hadn’t already before it all came down. Highlights:
- colour images by Shin Jeseop of a frozen lake in the Manchuria where Mongolian locals drill holes in the ice to cast nets for fish (this is the only image I could find online):
- disturbing shots by Vincenzo Floramo of Burmese migrants (including children) who scratch their survival by picking through a landfill in the Thai border town of Mae Sot for recyclables that they can sell for 2 eurocents a kilo (there is supposed to be a gallery here, but none of the images load for me in either Firefox or Chrome):
But the absolute standout for me was Blue Homepage, the super-sharp black-and-white work of Julia Kook, a Korean photographer who describes herself as “A mom of two kids and an identity seeker searching for her ego.” A pair of rubber gloves hanging dripping at the kitchen sink; a pair of bare women’s feet, nail polish chipped, resting on a spotlessly clean gas burner; the top half of a scowling woman’s face, mobile clamped to her ear, against a backdrop of drab grey curtains;simple folds of cloth; a micro-detailed close-up of the top of a potted cactus, its thin spiky hair waving from what looks terrifyingly like carbuncles atop a deformed head; two lower legs, one cropped in half by the edge of the photo, standing in the sharply frozen wavelets of a large puddle. I have rarely seen the mundane domestic look so bottomlessly doom-laden.
Worth quoting her artist statement in full:
8:00 A.M. – Wake the kids and get them ready for school.
9:00 A.M. – Go to bed again.
3:00 P.M. – “Mommy! Mommy! I’m home. Guess what? In school today…”
Shit, can’t get up.
7:00 P.M. – Should make dinner.
Pick up the phone. “I’d like a large, deluxe pizza. My address is…”
Got married at 26.
13 years passed.
Got the blues.
Can’t sleep without the pills.
Have two kids.
Make meals everyday.
Look at their homework, clean the house and do the laundry.
Every morning, I’m just a normal housewife, starting a normal day.
My husband? He goes to work at dawn.
And comes home the next day at dawn; wasted.
Can see him before going to bed if I’m lucky.
Can’t remember the last time we had sex.
We are a married couple sleeping in separate rooms.
8:00 A.M. Again…
It’s been 13 years since I’ve been alone.