THE 18TH RPS GRANTEE Fabian Muir
We are pleased to announce that we are awarding two Reminders Photography Stronghold Grants from the 2018 first call of submissions from the June deadline as a result of two equally strong proposals from artists Guillaume Simoneau and Fabian Muir. Guillaume Simoneau’s proposal “MURDER” and Fabian Muir’s proposal “Intimate Perspectives on North Korea” are the 18th grantees selected by our seven commissioned judges: Peggy Sue Amison, Marie Lelievre, Teun van der Heijden, Erik Vroons, Emmeline Yong, Andrei Polikanov, and Dean Chapman. We are now scheduling their exhibitions in 2019… more news later!
Intimate Perspectives on North Korea
This is a selection of the many images I collected over my two years in the DPRK. Working within the constraints placed upon visitors there, the series seeks to offer a fair, honest and intimate portrayal of the country and its people.
The problem with much of the material we see on North Korea is that it is too Pyongyang-heavy, often done by photographers who have been there only once. Yet the capital is not at all representative of the country at large; any bodies of work fixated on Pyongyang are almost necessarily doomed to depict monumental architecture, the famed metro and parades, providing nothing new and minimal insight into what life in greater North Korea might really be like.
At the same time, certain photographers have been unable to resist this narrative: one which emphasizes their own “heroics” in having “smuggled’ images out of Pyongyang. This type of project makes the story as much about themselves as the subject. Yet the reality is that only images of soldiers/construction workers are deemed illegal and one’s camera is never checked when leaving the country.
All this has resulted in an often skewed and clichéd understanding of the place. Specifically for this reason, the images presented here were taken in all corners of the country, and just two are of Pyongyang.
To be fair, photography there is not easy, yet it is possible to see and experience a great deal. Over the course of many trips, I captured images that not only confirm some of the popular clichés—such as the near omnipresence of the Leaders—but also show a lesser-known and more intimate (North) Korea.
There are so many levels to North Korea that to throw everything in with the politics, as much of the mainstream media do, is far too simplistic. I hope that even this small series digs a little deeper and will take the viewer on a short but interesting journey through the DPRK, opening up some unexpected perspectives.
Fabian Muir is an Australian photographer. The principal motivation behind his projects and practice is visual storytelling with a focus on humanist issues.
His images have featured in solo and group exhibitions and festivals around the world and have been acquired by significant collections. His fine art series addressing social challenges and injustice confronting refugees, entitled ‘Blue Burqa in a Sunburnt Country’ (2014) and ‘Urban Burqa’ (2017), as well as his two-year survey of daily life in the DPRK (North Korea) have attracted global press, television and radio coverage.
He is an Eddie Adams alumnus (USA) and represented by Michael Reid in Sydney and Berlin. Awards include Magnum Photography Awards finalist, Miami Street Photography Festival finalist, PDN Emerging Photography winner, FotoEvidence Book Award finalist, Sony WPA/Zeiss Photography Award finalist, Reminders Photography Stronghold Project (Tokyo) finalist, Photogrvphy Grant winner.