I discovered this photo at an exhibition of work by Korean artist Ahae, The show, which is supported by the Louvre takes place in a purpose-made tardis-like building, reminiscent of a bird-watching hut. You can find it in the Jardin de Tuileries.
The epicentre of the exhibition is an oval room which takes inspiration from the nearby l’Orangerie museum’s display of Monet Water lilies, which is appropriate as the colours and patterns in Ahae’s photos instantly remind you of Impressionist brush-strokes. This is interesting as although we normally associate photography with its capture of reality, this exhibition reminds us that the image taken by a lens is just as subjective as a painting, especially with today’s technologically powerful camera equipment. It must be added though, that although Ahae uses state-of-the-art telescopic lenses, he stays away from manipulation of lighting and software such as Photoshop.
But real or hyper-real, these photographs are beautiful, they sweep you away to another place, to an enchanted garden. Soothing music and a relatively quiet gallery make the whole experience, as they say in France ‘zen’.
Large print format is often used to create the effect that you are actually looking through Ahae’s window. In the field he sees from his house, he observes nature in action; magpies picking on a baby deer, a flock of herron in flight, the shimmering rising sun. The initial impact was so overwhelming, I’m definitely going back for another look.
However, the incredible moments Ahae captures were not down to luck, Ahae took two million photos over a period of three years, and the result is far from repetitive, there is so much to see.
100 words on Ahae
Born in Kyoto, Japan in 1941, where Ahae’s family were located during Japanese colonial rule. At the end of WW2 he returned to his homeland in South Korea where he has spent most of his life.
He holds a black belt in Taekwondo, is highly trained in Judo, and has developed his own martial art. He started his own business at 35, inventing innovative products, holding over 1,000 patents and trademarks.
He has always worked to make sure his business activity does not harm the environment and is now focused on organic farming. He took up photography in the 1970s.
Photo © 2011 Ahae Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
AHAE, ‘Through my window’ at the Jardin des Tuileriesuntil August 19th Free entry