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시선 視線 The Gaze by Rala Choi
Rala Choi is a Korean photographer, whose
painting-like approach to photography is
His works feature compositions, similar to those of
oil painting portraits, rich colors and the warmth
that can only be expressed by analogue films.
His photographs also often depict the intimate
beauty of the natural body and flesh,
so intimately that it makes you feel as though
you can feel the temperature of the body through the photographs.
We fell in love with the artistry of Rala's works,
which break the boundaries between paintings and
photography, and commissioned Rala to create an
exclusive photo story.
Enjoy the extremely personal photo story,
along with his interview.
- Could you tell us about yourself?
"Hello, I'm a photographer, Rala Choi.
I grew up in the southern part of Korea until
I was 20 years old and have been living in Seoul ever since."
- What made you pursue photography?
"When I was young, I think my father,
who likes photography, influenced me greatly."
- Who are the photographers that inspired you the most?
"Paolo Roversi and Sarah Moon."
- Could you tell us about how you photograph?
"My work starts with thinking first.
And it's actually implemented through drawing
materialization. And I usually use natural light,
and only use lighting to take pictures when I need to emphasize it."
- What are the themes/ideas reflected in the Gaze?
"One of the many ideas about the truth.
It was an unpleasant physical contact.
Also, my personal experience.
When I was in middle school, a man in a hospital
uniform on my way home beckoned me to come
urgently and asked me to take out his penis
because he hurt his hand and wanted to pee.
At that time, I obeyed the thought that I should
help without thinking.
Since then, I have already been annoyed by the
society that distinguishes gender roles and
the atmosphere which people hide desires and
make it the situation, not a sexual harassment that
you can't bring up the fact.
I came to think and have the courage to express
myself honestly at this age, middle 30's."
- Previously, you said in the first 3 images
in this story, the gender roles are reversed,
depicting the male figure being looked at,
caressed and even touched by the female figures.
What has inspired you to come up with this idea?
" The stories of my friends and how they must have felt."
- What are the influences of what is happening in
Korean society today on your artwork, for example,
the rise of feminism in recent years?
"I'm not a person who looks at any movement
in society and thinks about it at all.
Just what I feel in my life is all that makes me.
So I don't know what's going on in our society,
but one good thing is that we feel that we're changing
into a society where it's becoming possible to speak
our own voice out."
- In this story and also, in your recent exhibition Feel
Lost, you seem to have changed the use of tones
dynamically from the previous works, which featured
vibrant, vivid colors, to calmer, serener colors.
What made you come to this idea?
"Conflicts with the person you know and the person
answering this question. As I learned what I was like,
I became more intense in myself, and I needed
the courage to break the past."
- What would you like to do next?
"I want to enjoy surfing as much as I want."