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시현하다
2016-2018

김시현
[개인전]
2018 서울로 미디어 아트 대외 협력전 '그 너머 2018, '동색상 2018'
2018 시현하다, 캐논 갤러리
2017 김시현 100인 개인전 “시현하다”, 공간291

[그룹전]
2018 ‘Dior Photography Award for Young Talents’ 프랑스 아를 전시
2018 ‘BENETTON’ 베네통 아티스트전

[프로젝트]
2018 ‘Kingky Boots’ 뮤지컬 킹키부츠와 collaboration works
2016 1000명 프로젝트 시작

[방송 및 매체]
2018 ‘EBS 정오 뉴스’ 증명사진에 개성을 담는 사진작가 소개
2018 ’Korea Expose’ 한국의 새로운 문화 소개, 대한민국 정책정보지 ‘위클리공감’ 소개
2017 ‘tv조선’ 사진관의 변화에 대한 뉴스
2017 ‘tvN’ 2017 즐거움 키워드 10 선정
2017 ‘Sbs 모닝와이드’, “단 한장의 사진, 특별함을 찍는 이색 사진관” 소개
2017 ‘조선일보’ 지면 신문, ‘매일경제’, ‘매일일보’, ‘채널A’ 뉴스에 새로운 증명사진 문화로 소개

[강연]
2018 ‘청춘페스티벌’ 시현하다 강연
2017 ‘TedX’ 인천대학교 “증명사진 속에서 찾은 또 다른 나” 강연

[출판]
2018 ‘이구일’ 시현하다 1000인의 초상 사진집 출판




#왜 하필 ’사진관‘을 차리고 싶었나?

저는 외동으로 자랐기 때문에 혼자 있는 시간이 길었어요. 집에서는 늘 컴퓨터를 끼고 살았는데, 그때 가장 열심히 공부했던 게 바로 포토샵이었어요. 그렇게 키운 포토샵 실력은 낯선 환경에 빠르게 적응하는 데에도 도움이 되었죠. 초등학교 때부터 고등학교를 졸업하기까지, 일곱 번이나 전학을 가기도 했거든요.
직접 사진을 찍기 시작한 것은 고등학교에 입학하고 난 후였어요. 당시 다녔던 고등학교가 산속에 있었는데, 학생증에 넣을 사진을 찍어야 했죠. 사진을 찍으러 가기 어려우니 포토샵을 잘하던 저에게 친구들이 촬영과 보정을 부탁했어요. 그렇게 찍은 사진을 사람들이 좋아하고 간직하는 모습을 보면서 저는 꿈을 꾸고, 또 확신을 얻었던 것 같아요. ‘화려하고 멋진 결과물을 내는 포토그래퍼보다 대중을 찍어주는 사진가가 되고 싶다’고 말이죠.
요즘은 다들 집에 디지털카메라 한 대쯤은 갖고 계시죠? 사실 휴대폰만으로도 훌륭한 사진을 찍을 수 있기 때문에 특별히 사진관에 인화를 맡기시는 경우는 드물 거예요. 그래서인지 제 꿈을 들은 이들은 모두 고개를 내저었어요. 요즘 누가 사진관에 가느냐고요. 하지만 사진관은 제게 하나의 놀이공간이었어요. 꼭 필요한 경우가 아니더라도 친구들과 놀러 가서 사진을 찍고, 그것을 지갑에 간직하는 게 참 좋았어요. 여담이지만 여러분 그거 아세요? 서로 증명사진을 교환하는 문화는 우리나라에만 있는 것이라고 해요. 저는 이 문화를 더욱 멋지게 보존하고 싶어요.
남들이 시키지 않아도 내가 오래 해오던 일, 아무리 해도 지겹지 않고 평생의 업으로 삼을 수 있는 일. 그런 일이라는 확신으로 사진관 ‘시현하다’를 시작하게 되었습니다.


#어린 나이에 어떻게 시작하게 되었나요?

20대 초반이었던 제게 주어졌던 질문은 ‘언제쯤 부모님으로부터 금전적 독립을 할 것인가’였어요. 그 질문은 절 나태하도록 두지 않았고, 현실을 바라보게 해주었어요. 내가 가진 능력으로 최대한 해낼 수 있는 일을 고민하게 되었어요.
솔직히 고백하자면, 제 20대 초반은 늘 조급했거든요. 중학교 때 베트남에서 학교를 다니며 고등학교도 1년 늦게 갔고, 대안학교를 졸업해서 재수를 했기 때문에 삼수생의 나이로 입학을 했어요. 막상 들어간 학교에는 저보다 어마어마한 사람들이 많았어요. 저보다 어린데도 개인전을 연 경험이 있거나, 대회에서 수상을 했거나, 이미 전문 모델과 친한 동기들도 있었죠. 하지만 아버지는 ‘제게 사람마다 살아가는 속도가 있다’고 말씀해주셨어요. 너는 너의 속도에 맞게 살라고요. 그 말을 듣고 저도 저의 때가 오기를 기다리며 여러 가지 노력을 할 수 있었어요.
지금처럼 스냅사진이 유행하지 않을 때에도 모델이 아닌 일반인들의 프로필과 컨셉 사진을 촬영하고, 사진관에서 아르바이트도 하고. 재수할 때의 경험을 거름 삼아 수도권에 위치한 100개 이상의 기숙학원과 재수학원에 전화를 걸어 수능 원서 사진 촬영 일을 따냈죠. 그런 과정을 거치며 사업을 시작할 자금을 만들었어요. 각기 다른 분야에서 작품 활동을 하는 친구들을 모아 함께 스튜디오를 얻었어요. 그렇게 제 오랜 꿈이었던 사진관을 시작할 수 있었죠.


#‘시현하다’에게 증명사진이란?

그저 나만의 사진관을 갖는 로망을 갖고 있던 저는 사진관을 ‘업’으로 삼기 전, ‘증명사진’이라는 것에 대해 좀 더 깊게 고민해보기로 했습니다. 그때 처음 한 고민이 ‘증명’이라는 단어의 의미예요. 증명사진이란 말 그대로 나를 증명하는 사진일 텐데, 이제껏 증명사진은 어떻게 사용되고 있었나요? 정말 그 사람을 표현한다기보다는 파란 배경에 세상이 정한 단정함이 강요되고 있지는 않았나요? 저는 양쪽 귀와 눈썹을 드러낸, 정면을 바라봐야만 하는 증명사진의 규정 속에서 어떻게 하면 그 사람의 분위기를 최대한으로 끌어낼 수 있을지 고민하기 시작했습니다.
그러던 중 증명사진의 규정 속에 ‘무배경 또는 흰 배경’이라는 문구를 발견하게 되었어요. 아니, 흰색이면 흰색이지 무배경을 대체 뭐지? 아! 무늬가 없는 단색 배경이구나! 어? 조명은? 조명에 대한 규정은 없네? 그러면 다양한 조명을 사용해도 되겠다! 생각은 점점 확장되어갔어요. 무엇보다도 표정이나 의상, 메이크업에 대한 규정이 없었기 때문에 우리나라에 존재하는 다양한 메이크업과 패션을 증명사진으로 보여주고자 했습니다. 피부는 하얗고, 입술은 빨갛고, 큰 눈에 턱은 V라인인 우리나라의 보편적인 미의 상을 깨고 그 사람이 가진, 그 사람만이 가진 아름다움에 대해 이야기하고 싶었어요. 진짜 누군가를 “증명”하는 사진으로서 가치가 있길 바랐습니다. 이 증명사진이 대중의 초상으로서 역할 하고, 1000장이 모이면 현시대를 기록할 역사가 되리라 생각하며 진행한 작업이 바로 ‘시현하다’입니다

#자존감이란?

시현하다에서 배경색 말고도 빼놓을 수 없는 단어가 바로 ‘자존감’입니다. 제가 정의하는 자존감은 자신을 똑바로 바라보고 사랑할 줄 아는 힘이에요. 모두 증명사진을 찍어본 경험이 한 번쯤은 있을 거예요. 원본사진 보고 어떠셨어요? 제가 수천 명의 사람들을 만나보니 딱 세 부류로 반응이 나뉘더군요. “꺄악! 나 왜 이렇게 생겼어! 내 목주름! 광대! 볼살!” 하며 소리를 지르시는 분, 생각보다 덤덤하신 분, 원본도 예쁘다며 좋아하시는 분. 후자가 가장 드뭅니다. 우리나라 사람들은 스스로를 예쁘다고 말하는 것에 엄격하고 외적 자기 검열도 심한 편이에요. 대다수의 분들은 자신의 단점부터 이야기해요. “저는 눈이 너무 작고, 코가 너무 커요. 얼굴형도 이상하고요.” 사실은 그렇지 않은데도 말이죠.
참 기억에 남는 손님이 있어요. 백금발에 눈썹이 없던 분이었어요. 눈 밑에 다크써클이 있으셔서 당연히 보정하며 지우려고 했고, 눈썹도 그려드리려고 했어요. 그런데 그분이 그렇게 하지 말라고 하셨어요. 다크써클이 있어야 자기 같고, 눈썹은 원체 숱이 없는 탓에 어릴 적 놀림을 받고는 일부러 밀어버리셨다고요. 저도 제 얼굴에 대한 콤플렉스가 정말 심했던 사람이거든요. 예뻐 보여야한다는 강박에 시달렸고, 포토샵도 아주 많이 했어요. 자신의 ‘다름’을 인정하고 또 사랑하는 손님들 덕에 저는, 단점도 감추면 콤플렉스가 되고 드러내면 개성이 된다는 것을 알게 되었습니다.
여러분, 세상에는 수천 가지의 색이 있어요. 사람의 얼굴 또한 마찬가지이죠. 세상이 이야기하는 기준에 내 얼굴을 끼워 맞추지 않았으면 좋겠어요.


#시현하다에 가기 전에 준비해야 할 것, 혹은 오지 않더라도 고민하면 좋을 것

마지막으로 저의 사진관에 오실 때 준비해야 할 것들에 대해서 알려드릴게요. 저는 늘 “당신의 색은 무엇인가요?”라는 숙제를 내드립니다. 자신의 색에 대해 깊게 고민하고 오세요. 지인들이나 친구들에게 나는 어떤 색의 사람인지 물어보세요. 또한 타인에게는 어떤 사람으로 비춰지고 싶은지 고민해서 와주세요. 제가 정성을 다해서 도와드릴게요. 그리고 꼭 비싸고 고급스러운 것이 아니더라도 내가 좋아하는 옷, 귀걸이, 소품 등을 활용해보세요. 작은 증명사진 한 장을 나에 대한 상징과 의미로 오롯이 채워보세요!

저의 이야기는 여러분께 한 가지 질문을 드리고 마치도록 하겠습니다.

“당신의 색은 무엇인가요?”







#Why, out of all possible career paths as a photographer, did I want to open a mom-and-pop photo studio?

I grew up as the only child in my family. With both my parents working full-time, I had to spend a lot of my time alone. And what I spent a lot of time studying and playing with was Photoshop. Due to the frequent moving and change of jobs for my parents, I transferred school 7 times even before I entered university. In these new environments, I turned to photography and photo-edits in Photoshop as a tool to make new friends and adjust to new environments.

When I entered high school, I was gifted a DSLR camera for the first time. It allowed me to go beyond just editing lower-quality photos taken with a cell-phone, and take high-quality photos on my own.

At the time, my high school was located in a mountainous village. As a result, going to a photo studio (located in the nearby city) to take an ID photo required for our student card was a challenge to many students including myself. They, instead, asked me if I could take their photos and edit them. The delight and excitement that they showed when they saw their portraits that I took and how they cherished these photographs, assured me that this is what I wanted to do in the future. I was inspired to become a photographer that records memorable moments for the public audience. I did not have to be the “cool” photographer that everyone dreams of that selectively works with the celebrities.

These days, many people own a digital camera at home. Or, our smartphone has a good enough in-built camera and software. As a result, not many people care to print their photos to keep them in hard copies. Hence, everyone that heard my dream to open a mom-and-pop style photo studio shook their heads with disapproval at once and told me that no one goes to photo studios anymore.

Nevertheless, to me, photo studios (especially the mom-and-pop studios in corners of my neighborhood) were always where I had the most fun in. I hung out in studios and took photos of myself even when I didn’t need a new ID photo, and shared it with my friends. It was like recording my own growth and changes over time.

On a side note, I learned that sharing of ID photo is the cultural practice that is only prevalent in South Korea. I wanted to take part in preserving this unique culture of our own. Recording someone's growth and evolution in a form of a photograph has been something that I have been doing for a long time without anyone telling me to do so. And it is something that doesn’t tire me out even after a long time. This sense of feeling assured me that I could keep it as my life-long career, and that was the beginning of Sihyunhada, the photo studio that records moments of the public audience.

#How did you start your own project at such an early age?

The biggest question that I had to myself at the early 20s was “when would I be financially independent of my parents.” This question kept me on my toes and I spent hours thinking about possible ways to be financially independent of my parents.

To be honest, I always was on my toes in my early 20s in different ways. I felt like I was behind many of my peers. I started high school a year later than my peers as I was away from Korean education system for attending middle school in Vietnam. Then, I went to an alternative high school in Korea and took 3 gap years after graduation before entering university. Once in university, I was one of the oldest in my batch and the least experienced in the field of photography. Despite them being younger than me, the other students already had experiences in organizing exhibitions on their name and had networks of professional models and other photographers. I, instead, felt like I did not have much to offer other than my passion for portraits and a few experiences that I had in the realm.

My dad nevertheless, reminded and encouraged me to live my life at my own pace instead of comparing myself to others. I took on different projects to explore my interests and develop my skills. I took portraits of regular public not only of the professional models even when the taking professional portraits of the regular public weren’t as popular as they are today. I worked as a part-timer in various photo studios, and also took photos for people to help build their portfolios. Also based on my experience during my gap year, I contacted over 100 institutes to help them take photos of students for their university applications. Through this, I saved enough money to start my own project. I was also fortunate to meet a few other artists working in different fields to start a shared studio of our own.

# What does ID photo mean to Sihyunhada?

It has always been my dream to have my own mom-and-pop photo studio. However, prior to taking on this work as a life-long career, I wanted to think more deeply about what ID photo means. To do so, I thought about what “ID” means, and what identity would mean to any individual. As one may have guessed, ID photo is a photo that we use to prove our identity. But, how have we been using and taking our own ID photo so far? In these photos, we were rather forced to look a certain way in front of the camera with the blue wallpaper in the back, rather than truly prove ourselves with our own colors and features. This flow of thought led me to look at ID photos differently, and I started to give more thoughts on how I should take the portraits of different people then. Within the regulations that require portraits to face the front with their eyebrows and ears shown in the photo, what other tools could I utilize and implement to allow their own persona to shine through the photograph? These were some of the questions that I asked myself.

As I contemplated more on the ID photos and its purpose, I found out that the background color could be white or any other simple background with no pattern. And I also realized that there is no regulation on the kind of lights that can be used for the ID photo. Additionally, there is no regulation on what subjects could wear, or on their facial expression and make-up. This assured me that I could then utilize these tools to showcase varying and unique makeups and fashions of South Korea. People expressed themselves differently through their fashion, make-up and facial expression and I could let that shine within the photo frame.

Going beyond the so-called standard Korean beauty that almost forced everyone to have pale skin, red lips and big dark eyes on a perfectly egg-shaped face, I wanted to talk about the real beauty that everyone possesses within. My job then was to take portraits that have value to truly prove one’s own identity and their beauty.

And with this goal, I hoped to allow everyone to use the ID photo to truly prove their identity. Moreover, I aspired to record a part of the Korean history through its people and their fashion by taking portraits of 1000 people (as it is the minimum number required for a legitimate survey in South Korea). This is how I started on Sihyunhada.

#About self-esteem?

People more often than not associate Sihyunhada with self-esteem. I define self-esteem as one’s ability to love themselves thoroughly. I assume everyone has all taken an ID photo for one thing or another. Do you remember how you felt when you first saw your original, unedited photos?

From my interaction with thousands of people, I can categorize people’s reactions into 3 groups. For one, they yell “oh my gosh, why do I look like this? I have wrinkles on my neck, look at my cheekbones and cheek fat!” Another group acts as if they are alright and pretend to accept it, and the last group expresses an absolute joy and love the way they appear on the screen.

Of course, this is not to say that I believe that how they appear in a flat 2D screen is who they are as an individual in a real life. I definitely think there is a difference. Hence, I don’t think the unedited photo is how they look like in person. Nevertheless, I also have to say that the last group that expresses joy looking at the unedited photo is the rarest to meet.

This group, may not fit into the standard beauty of Korea. Nevertheless, they love their own unique features, do not limit themselves to the judgments and frame that others put on them and love their every bit. They tell me that they think they are very charming in their own way.

Many people in our society find it very difficult to tell themselves that they are beautiful or pretty, and are very harsh on their looks. They are quick to share their flaws like “my eyes are too small, my nose too big and I do not like my facial shape.” As a third person, I could never agree with these statements (because they are beautiful!) but these may be their own complexes that they are finding hard to overcome.

There is one customer that left a long-lasting impression on me. He had light blonde hair with no eyebrows. He had dark circles under his eyes and I tried “helping him” with Photo edits by erasing them off and drawing the eyebrows in. But he told me that I shouldn’t. He told me that the dark circles were part of who he was, and that he never really had eyebrows since young age. Because he was teased for the sparse eyebrows since the young age, he, in fact, shaved off his eyebrows himself.

In my case, I had always been harsh on my face as well. I had an obsession to look pretty, and that led me to edit my photos a lot. But with every interaction that I have with my customers like him, I am also evolving and changing to be more generous on my appearance and myself. I’m growing with every person that I meet through this project – and I’m very grateful!

What I want to tell you is that there are millions of faces and beauties just like how there are millions of colors in this world. I don’t want you to judge your appearance against what everybody else tells you. The more you talk about your flaws, the more people will pay attention to them. Interestingly, likewise, the more you talk about your positive side, the more likely it is that you will turn into the positive and beautiful person that you wish to be. A simple example is that if you shyly smile with your braces on, people will just remember you as a person with braces. But if you have a wide smile with it, people will remember you as an individual with the proof of wealth (haha). Don't hide your "flaw" or differences. Instead, show it to be remembered as your unique features.

#Preparation for Sihyunhada or, even if you can’t come, good things to contemplate on

Lastly, I will let you know what to prepare for, before coming to my photo studio. As people prepare to come for their scheduled session, I always give them a homework to ask themselves: “what is your color?” This prompts everyone to think about who they are as a person and their own color. They also ask their friends and family in the process. I think all of these processes are valuable to understand who they are as a person.

Then, please take your time to think about who you want to be remembered as, to others. I will try my best to help you express yourself in the direction. And, please put on your favorite clothes, earrings, or items to express yourself rather than putting on the most expensive or trendy items that you own. When coming, just pay attention to yourself as an individual. Utilize this time to learn more about yourself, and contemplate more on your own personality, what you like and dislike, and who you truly are.

I will conclude my story today by asking one question to you.
“What is your color?”

번역 @탁승희