F-Stop Magazine: How did you first become involved in photography and what led to you working in this medium as an artist?
Hwa-Kyung Kim: I started photography without any experience or knowledge of it. I just instinctively wanted to do it, so I learned basic B&W film and print techniques and found myself in it. Seeing an intangible idea in my head manifest itself onto paper was so exciting. Those moments in the darkroom made me realize that photography was the right medium for me.
F-Stop: The current issue of F-Stop Magazine includes images from your project “ Alter Ego II ” can you tell us about this project? How did this project come about?
HKK: This ongoing series, Alter Ego, explores the inner self through fashion which acts as a metaphor of personas. Through my journey in search of the concealed self, I perceived self as multiplicities— a group of different personalities, memories or appearances existing in a time passage. By applying a notion of personas to fashion, I investigated how personas create the ego. In the images, the woman is facing, passing, or surrounded by her personas. Through moving and overlapping, different forms of personas are created into new forms. In these reinterpretations, new perspectives are created of the self. I call it an “Alter Ego”.
F-Stop: Can you discuss your process for making these images or your creative process more generally? What were you looking to capture?
HKK: I often change my role between the maker and observer in the process. When concepts and sensations are projected onto objects, I discover that the objects expand their territories of meanings, and begin to evolve or change in their forms and meanings. I play with those possibilities and put them in work; so the results of the work are always unexpected. When fixed ideas are deconstructed and recomposed is when I’m most excited about the work.
F-Stop: What do you hope people see or feel or perhaps learn when they look at your photographs?
HKK: My work is an effort to see a new world born from different perspectives of reality. I hope viewers discover new possibilities to interpret the world we live, and expand them in their worlds through my work.
F-Stop: Do you have a favorite image in this series? If so, which one and why is it the image that speaks to you most?
HKK: My favorite images vary day to day. My interpretation of my images often changes and differs as time passes while I continue to grow as an artist. For now, I would say that the image of three egos overlapped and the image of one figure overlapped by hands speak to me most.
F-Stop: What photographers or other artists inspire you?
HKK: I’m inspired by artists working in different mediums such as painting and sculpture. A few of my favorite artists are Francis Bacon, Egon Schiele and Ann Hamilton. Their work stimulates and challenges me to think of endless possibilities beyond photography and my own imagination.
To see more of Hwa-Kyung Kim’s work: www.hwakyungkim.com