Young Suh lives and works in Albany in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. His photographic work addresses the complex nature of the human involvement in managing natural resources and the shifting concepts of nature in the contemporary society. Over the last 12 years he has completed two major projects, “Instant Traveler” and “Wildfires.” He had solo exhibitions with Haines Gallery, San Francisco, Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento, Clifford Smith Gallery, Boston, and Gallery ON, Seoul, Korea. His work was also shown at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and Seoul International Photography Festival. His latest work has been exhibited at Mills College Art Museum. It is titled “Can We Live Here? Stories from a Difficult World,” a multimedia exhibition of photography, video, and performance created in collaboration with poet Katie Peterson.
This Beautiful Beast
The title is taken from a passage in John McPhee’s book, Coming into the Country, in which a man tells a story to the author about his first experience of killing a moose. The storyteller is caught by the emotional conflict between the moral judgement against his own act of killing and the aesthetic beauty of the experience. My photographic narrative attempts at addressing this conflict through my own travel in two different kinds of climate in extreme, Alaska and the Deep Springs Valley in the High Desert of the Eastern Sierra.
It is a narrative of human existence, both beautiful and ugly, seen through the eyes of landscape. In this sense I am working against a certain tradition of the landscape photography, in which man takes the central role in the narrative progression. I imagine instead an imaginary narrative of two landscapes in a conversation, in which one speaks to the other in another time in the future or the past. In this structure the story escape the obligation of the storyteller to provide a moral lesson. The storyteller, who is a landscape itself functions as an indifferent observer of human existence.
To view more of Young’s work please visit his website.