Seung-Woo Yang: The Best Days (New Edition) (Zen Foto Gallery, 2019)

Born in Korea, Seung-Woo Yang first came to Japan in 1996. After graduating from Nippon Photography Institute and the photography department of Tokyo Polytechnic University, he completed his graduate research in Media Art at Tokyo Polytechnic University and continued his career in Japan.

In 2016, his publication Shinjuku Lost Child with Zen Foto Gallery, a monochrome street photography series which focused on the people at Kabukicho, Shinjuku received the 36th Domon Ken Award. He also released End of the Line – Kotobukicho with Zen Foto Gallery.

His other publications so far include You’re there and I’m here (Shinpusha, 2006), You’re there and I’m here 2 (Zen Foto Gallery, 2011), and The Best Days (Zen Foto Gallery, 2012).


Video: Yang Seung Woo: Familienfotos aus der Tokioter Unterwelt | Arte TRACKS (Youtube in German)

The Best Days is about Yang’s return to Korea to meet up with and photograph his former associates, some of whom have gone on to be involved with underworld activities. Yang tells us that if he had not left Korea for Japan he would have been unable to extricate himself from ever deeper involvement with the gangs, a path that has cost one of his closest friends his life and where surviving friends live in the shadow of dishonesty and exploitation, prison, gang violence or worse. Yet his work reveals a yearning and a sympathy for those he left behind.

Mark Pearson

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