Portraying Anxiety

 

Boy and Father

I still can’t forget the boy’s gaze I met in New Orleans, 1991. I was captured by his mysterious eyes filled with gloom rather than mere sadness and whilst lost in them, I found myself picturing of his father.

Oddly, I have thought that his father was the reason for his mysteriously gloomy eyes. Other random thoughts emerged while documenting this young boy and I recall the boy remaining silent. Two years later, one gay painter showed great interest in this photograph that I ended up exchanging with his work “TV Party”.  As I was over at his studio and flipped through Frida Kahlo’s book and I was unexpectedly shocked to find a portrait with the same mysterious eyes. I still do not understand why I had felt his father in his eyes, However I still believe his father is the direct cause of such eyes.

 

Anxiety of Others

Innately, I am used to gazing into anxiety of others.

        Landscape of the past emerges, and makes islands one, two…

                                                                             Poet, Young-mie Choi 

I believe a face holds a specific story. And portraiture is like a sailing map to unveil little islands in the landscape of face. Though sometimes odd thoughts occur like imagining the boy’s father in New Orleans, I believe a person’s past is transcribed in the countenance of a person.

Portraying Anxiety is a work of portraiture documenting the anxiety of others veiled in their faces. Like a light fever in early spring, I wanted to capture the pestering and lasting anxiety rather than the unbearable ones that may eat your soul. However, most of such anxieties were as ambiguous as they were personal. For example, middle-aged man with glossy leather jacket or wrinkled pants on a girl with a thick make up makes me anxious… or a verbose man next to a young girl and my imagination of their wrinkled relationship makes me anxious. Anxiety is like smell, once start imagining it permeates infinitely.

 

Anxiety and its Metaphor

 I started reading photographs at some point. I had seen and studied the photographs with their markers and syntaxes, but I started reading them on a more personal level. Such change affected my image makings and I tend to not share the meaning with the audience. Therefore anxiety is not metaphored here. If the subject possessed such anxieties, I am just portraying them.