Ki Ho Park
Made in China
Using a very old, dilapidated 8x10 Deardorff camera I began photographing so-called common people: portraits of a tired salesman, a factory worker, house wives, a taxi driver, and many others like them. But instead of photographing them against their environment as I have done in the past, all the subjects were either shot on simple background paper or outside without the use of props and little direction on my part. After a shoot, I would then collect the related props either from the subject or elsewhere.
In Rush Hour a life-sized taxi driver is surrounded by over 200 miniature cars which I have tacked onto the photograph. Made in China is a portrait of my daughter wearing a pink Cinderella dress, surrounded with her lifelong collection of toys. Attaching the actual objects, rather than photographing not only captures my feelings about the subject, but distills them.
The idea of "rush hour" is represented with hundreds of toy cars that have metaphorically trapped the taxi driver. Ironically, the cars are frozen, negating the existence of speed. The driver’s tired expression is the result of 25 years of being a cab driver in Seoul, where the pollution count outweighs the comfort of an automobile and where the health of drivers deteriorates at an alarming rate. I am not making a sympathetic social statement, I let the viewer find his/her own connections. Ordinary objects such as piles of toys can convey powerful, emotional symbolic meanings. Objects in real life can show more than photographs alone. All the photographs are one of kind installations.