Use Comes from Emptiness – Thing by Photographer Jungjin Lee


‘Thing’ doesn’t really conjure up any specific thoughts, it’s quite vague in the truest sense of the word. But for me this mystery and detail is all around us. When does one form merge in to another, and how do our preconceptions of an object lead us to make assumptions about a shape or form? Korean photographer Jungjin Lee has played on this theme in one of her newer series titled ‘Thing’, a collection of enlarged images of everyday objects printed on handmade Mulberry paper in black and white.

It’s no surprise to hear that her still life images have been intentionally stripped down to leave only the essential, using photo-sensitive emulsion called “liquid light” to achieve a floating image without any shadow. The work is displayed in person vertically to leave empty space both at the top and bottom, much like an oriental painting or piece of calligraphy. It’s an obvious play on Asian aesthetic and philosophy, a hanging scroll for example, but used in a subtle way that enhances the objects and makes them stick out.

For me the sense of emptiness is key. These empty voids and nuances are a powerful message to all, and in my eyes speak of a few references that I’ve touched on before. One being that all these objects are useful because of their emptiness, whether that be the hole through the handle of a mug or the concave of a bowl. Another is the idea of contemplation and meditation in front of the imagery, when do you drop your preconceptions of the world and realise that these could be literally anything you want them to be? This could be applied to everything around us. More prints like this can be found on Jungjin Lee’s website, she’s producing some very thought provoking work.