Giseok Cho’s latest photo series looks at the fragile balance between tech and nature
The Korean photographer’s new work presents an array of tonal pictures and diptychs, where smartphones and flowers take centre stage.
- Ayla Angelos
- 14 April 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
As technology rises, so does its influence on the work of Korean photographer Giseok Cho. We last spoke to the creative early last year where we were instantly taken aback by his multifaceted portfolio. Fusing fashion photography, design and plenty of props, the photographer is not disappointing us this time round either. What’s changed in his practice however, is Giseok’s relationship with the digital – as seen in his most recent series, Humanoid.
Working on an abundance of personal projects over the past year, his latest series sees the photographer blend two subject matters: nature and technology. Flowers devour the frame as they grow amongst casted faces, while hints of technology and gadgets are presented in contemplative surreality. In this project, you’re instantly transported to some part of the future, where aesthetic serenity and digital freedom collide.
Clearly, Giseok’s ability to blend such opposing elements comes to him naturally. “I’m part of the internet generation,” he tells It’s Nice That of his reasons why. “As the internet exploded, I became interested in seeing the many things in it.” Calling to the online world and its array of platforms as his inspiration, he states how his generation – including himself of course – often takes visual cues from a range of sources, rather than a singular origin. “We seem to be influenced by may artists and materials from all over the world, through various media rather than by specific ones.”
This postmodern approach is enabled by Giseok’s advanced grasp of the internet. “I work in Korea, and it’s a country where smartphones or the internet are very fast and famous,” he continues to explain. “I make use of this – so I want to use them often and in a way that they coexist with people and nature.” As a result, smartphones play key characters throughout this series – which cohesively sit alongside coloured cables, plugs and objects created from tech. These elements are then opposed with flowers, presented either in a solo frame or in coloured diptychs.
Cleverly staged and meticulously planned, Giseok has his hands on every part of the process. Before taking the picture he will direct and build the set, and later he will work on the graphics and post-production. “I don’t have any special techniques,” he says on the topic of his methods. “The process of making an object or preparing a background for shooting seems to take longer and is an important process.”
For his series Humanoid, the photographer tells us how it all began with a brief from Bound Magazine. Themed on the topic of ‘humanoid’, Giseok began by diving into the web for its definition and concept. A quick and simple search will provide information on how a humanoid is something that will resemble a human, even though it isn’t one. It’s a term first coined in 1870 for referencing indigenous people in the areas that were colonised by the Europeans, then as time progressed, so did its meaning. Now, it ascribes science fiction as its new counterpart, where anything with human characteristics can be marked as a humanoid.
This context forms the crux to Giseok’s series. “I wanted to express human existence in relation to the current generation that I see,” he says. “Digital and artificial nature, for example, seem to be a component of our time.” Their balance, for that matter, is also a very delicate one. As the world accelerates with connectivity (especially online), it's never been more crucial to protect the natural environment around us, and Giseok’s work is a gentle reminder of that.
GalleryGiseok Cho: Humanoid
Giseok Cho: Humanoid
About the Author
Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent the last seven years as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.