JOEL HAN (Brooklyn NY, USA)
Joel Han (b. 1988) is a photographer and visual artist based in New York. He received his MFA in Photography from Pratt Institute, and BA in Fine Art from Penn State University. His recent shows include exhibitions at Fabbrica Del Vapore in Milan and Pierogi Gallery in Brooklyn. Joel currently works at School of Visual Arts while living in Brooklyn.
My ongoing longing for intimacy lead me to a blind spot of other people’s existences. Shackled by the obligatory routine of the everyday life, I seek escapism in the brief intermissions in the mundane scenery; the familiar interiors and traces of ourselves in the city never seem to be what they appear. These self-reflective moments give relief in the quotidian life we participate in. While anonymity resonate in these places, I can’t help but to view them as fragments of my own loneliness and peculiarity. I sense the distance as I gradually succumb to the routine life. This is my attempt to locate and contemplate on them. By endeavoring this, perhaps, I will finally accept this anxiety as an embracement of solitude.
Practice Statement: How does photographing on film (or using your material photographic process of predilection) inform your artistic practice?
Photographing on film is an experience. Images nowadays can be created in a flash; and thousands of them are viewed in a split second via online. At a certain point, I inadvertently devalued my own work as a mere exchange of information on social media. It became shallower than a single sentence I read so often online. I wanted to go back to the roots and actually work for the photographs I initially treasured. I started photography because I tend to be forgetful of the moments I was part of. Sometimes I question the legitimacy of my own work, as if I question if whatever was captured actually happened. Did I drink this cup of coffee? Is this even a portrait of my own cat? It no longer became reality. This issue was personally important to me, since my work is diaristic in nature; I didn’t want to persuade myself that I wasn’t living in a fake life. But holding a negative, which is a physical entity that has been formed by light and chemical reaction, reassures me that the moment was true.