Unbox: Jungjin Lee

Months after ordering, Desert, by Jungjin Lee arrived. It is worth it.

“And now, over twenty years later, when I examine these works, I encounter the same experiences and energy I had felt then and there. Transcending time and space, everything is still, my mind is perfectly quiet, and I know I face ‘eternity and the absolute.’”

A boxed set. As you see, a large slipcase consisting of 4 sections of images and a word piece with text by Lee and by Robert Frank. This guide section provides index sized images of the picture contents that are the 4 books of Desert.

  1. Desert: 1990-1992
  2. American Desert: 1994 [toned]
  3. American Desert: 1993-1994 [triptychs]
  4. American Desert: 1994-1995

Jungjin Lee was trained as a ceramicist in Seoul. She came to the US in 1988 and studied photography at NYU.

I travelled a lot of the time in the middle of nowhere, I used to travel a lot in the Southwest states of America in the early 90’s. It has never mattered to me the name of the place where I photographed. I always like to go somewhere where I’m all by myself and there is the feeling that no one had previously set foot where I am. In Israel I travelled a lot in the Nagev desert and the West Bank, not so much in the city. This name ‘unnamed road’ relates to my previous work but also to the Israel project. Israel has such a long history that relates to the land and so many layers, so everybody puts different meanings on the place however when I say ‘unnamed road’ it feels contradictory. — Jungjin Lee, March 2015

Her work method is hand-coating paper and toning. Not far from the earthen materials and mode of ceramics. Her images retain that touch with, even so much as to distort the optical clarity of lens based photography.

Born 1961, Taegu, Korea


1991 MA, New York University, Major in Photography, New York

1984 BFA, Hong-lk University, Major in Ceramics, Seoul, Korea

Publications **:

2006 Jungjin Lee, Yelwha-Dang Art Publication, Seoul
2005 Thing, Minseogak publication, Seoul
2002 Desert/Jungjin Lee, Sepia International Inc. New York
2001 Jungjin Lee 99-01 On Road/Ocean, Kukje Gallery/Sepia International
2000 Jungjin Lee: Beyond Photography, Shigak Publications, Seoul
1997 Wasteland, Art Space Seoul, Seoul
1996 Dissolving Landscapes, Wesleyan University, Connecticut
1993 The American Desert, Shigak Publications, Seoul
1988 A Lonely Cabin in a Far Away Island, Yelwha-dang Art Publication, Seoul


Walking Againward

getting to your past work. And then

this is another multi delayed post. I liked the title. wrote it down, then forgot what I’d wanted it to be about. Happens too often.

While digging through last years work, I noted many that could fit into much older carts so put in the sub-head: getting to your past work.

A week passes and I’m thinking about carry cameras and how they may need permits someday. More importantly I’d discovered a very old note of mine with: Small Camera is the Big Invention. Whereupon I made a picture of some of my carry cameras.

The 3 cameras – 2 are film cameras. The one at the bottom (with a screen) is digital. It is the only camera I still use. The film cameras are no longer used. Film isn’t available. Not new film.

Odd, isn’t it, that the supposition of film is forever, digital is transient, subject to passing fashion doesn’t survive a simple againward glance.

  • minolta 110 (1976 – 1979) – I used this camera for several thousand rolls of film. The flash on it is a Nikon strobe which served to guarantee my night-time excursions would provide negatives that startled
  • cannon elph (1996 – 2002). Used APS cartridge system. Many hundreds of rolls.
  • sony cybershot (uses JPEG – format first used in 1992, 25 years old now) JPEG is used in medical imaging so will probably be around for many more years.


Don’t be so sure of your past until you’ve lived it.

Don’t rely on someone else’s prescription for your process