South Korea’s first photograph collection dedicated to Jazz has been published by documentary photographer and screenwriter Lee Da-yeong. It’s titled “Jazz, OnStage.”
“While I know the limited popularity of a jazz photograph collection, I decided to publish it to record its history despite a potential commercial failure,” said Lee in a gallery/café called “Namib” in Jung-gu on Tuesday. The collection in three volumes with 432 pages in total showcases pictures taken by Lee from 2011 to 2020. The pictures of South Korea’s first-generation jazz musicians, including Shin Guan-woong and Choi Sun-bae, as well as musicians from the U.S., Italy, Norway, etc. who played in the country are included. With their hardcovers, the books are heavy enough even for an adult to have to carry them with two hands.
Lee was an aspiring potter until in her early 20s. When she was preparing for her first exhibition, she decided to take pictures of her pottery by herself to save production costs and start taking photography classes. That was when she got fascinated with the art of the photograph. She first started taking pictures in 2004 and decided to become a full-time photographer in 2009. As a music enthusiast, she often visited jazz clubs. When one of her friends said her father was a first-generation jazz bassist but it was a shame that he didn’t have many pictures of him, Lee decided to devote herself to jazz pictures.
Her favorite picture in the collection is the stage of Italian pianist Giovanni Mirabassi and Russian trumpeter Alex Sipiagin playing in South Korea. “It was a difficult challenge in terms of lights and composition but I captured a wonderful moment almost crawling on the stage floor.”
Lee hopes that the jazz performance scene will be revived after a direct hit from COVID-19. Jazz and pictures are both the art of a fleeting moment. She said she can see the black and white pictures of stage performances when carefully listening to the music.