Copyright Hyunjin Kim, courtesy Farewell Books
Similar to the previous Farewell book that I recently reviewed of Noriko Takazawa’s Sensation, Kim Hyunjin’s Even Your Ears is a study in contextual minimalism, with the book’s title as the only clue for the accompanying photographs. This book does not have an introduction, artistic statement, captions or accompanying essay. I read the books title as being somewhat similar to Stefen Heyne’s The Noise, that the accompanying photographs are the equivalence of visual “noise”.
The book is a progression of black and white photographs, one per page, of places that could be close to home. The photographs seem to be of locations that could be a common everyday experience; the front entrance of a dwelling, the interior living room and a tight detail of a kitchen, room windows with curtains or plants on the window sill, and someone doing something at a desk. The other photographs are related to experiencing one’s life; traveling in an urban place, at a sporting event, meeting someone at a restaurant and events that occur on the street as we pass by. Maybe not a common experience is a baby lying in a hospital bed with a protruding Intravenous Vein (IV) set, but there are unfortunately experiences of a hospital environment while a family member or friend was ill and needed extensive care.
Hyunjin is exploring what goes on beyond the surface of what was heard while making these photographs, as to the memory of related events. These are photographs that Hynjin created, but I can only surmise what was heard while the event was photographed. That requires tapping into a personal memory bank of visual events with a linkage to the sounds that were occurring. A reminder that experiencing life is to also experience a canopy of sensory inputs; touch, sight, sound, smell, and taste.
Like the previous Farewell book, this book is also better thought of as a booklet, as the 24 pages are saddle stitched (stapled) with a soft cover (same cover stock as the interior pages), the pages are a medium weight, thus a bit fragile and susceptible to ear marking and fraying damage. The photographs are printed in Black and White by offset printing. The matte paper does not provide really deep blacks to the photographs, giving the images a smaller contrast range.
by Douglas Stockdale