Photos by Ellie Brown entries for Photolucida's Critical Mass 2009
With this work, I pay homage to the late Bernd and Hilla Becher with my personal typologies. While living in Korea it was initially easy to look at every new and strange thing with wide tourist eyes and photograph it all. In the end, I lived in Ulsan, S.Korea for ten-months, I find there are certain visual repetitions that stick with me beyond my initial culture shocked photographer’s eyes. The photographs of Korean notebooks began with the discovery of a number of student notebooks and diaries thrown away at the end of the semester. The notebooks were filled with neat Korean writing, some English words, drawings and sometimes scribbles. The notebooks got rained on and the inks bled through leaving a formally beautiful mixture of all of these elements bleeding together. I feel that these notebooks are a metaphor for my time in Korea. The notebooks are beautiful and interesting to look at, sometimes humorous but mostly indecipherable. I cannot read the text in the books and again, like the notion that I can create an identity for the notebook’s former owner without any living proof. These trash objects are moving on an emotional level with certain earnestness and hopefulness of a student’s future that an object containing an individuals’ handwriting can only contain. I have photographed these objects in great numbers as a typology but also as proof that my life, confusion, culture shock and excitement in Korea existed.
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