Digital manipulation of images, once a novelty in photography, has come of age as a practice that is beginning to share common ground with documentary photography.
Reality and virtuality are coming together in a new manner of sharing stories. Both of these women use sagas and legends as the point of departure for their digitally constructed stories; both examine the psychological effects of our experiences, how we perceive and dream. They both construct story lines within which each photograph is an episode, inseparably connected with the rest of the series.
But the results they achieve differ greatly. The pitch black coal mine photos by Colette Campbell-Jones are charged with the dread of being swallowed up by the earth. Won Seoung Won's exuberant colour photographs express a deep love for the Korean landscape.
Colette Campbell-Jones: Stories from Underground
Colette Campbell-Jones (USA) has produced a cultural document about the vanished coal mines of Wales. Drawing on centuries-old oral traditions, Stories from Underground reconstructs a picture of a strong community, shrouded in an archetypal darkness. The series form a dark fairy-tale, the coal mine is a monster, symbol of the fear of being literally consumed by the earth underground. But it also represents the terror of the economic machinery above. This exhibition at Noorderlicht is not only the Dutch, but also the European premiere for the work of this American photographer.
Won Seoung Won: My Age of Seven
Won Seoung Won (South Korea) tells an idyllic story about dreams from her childhood. My Age of Seven, nurtured by Korean legends, is about a little girl who wakes up in her room, overgrown with plants, realising that her mother has disappeared. It is the beginning of a surreal journey through the Korean countryside. In her quest she is assisted by flowers, trees and animals. There are no traces of people to be found. The narrative is fed by her personal memories, but at the same time is a universal story about the anxiety surrounding letting go of mother's apron strings, at that age where going to school opens up new and wonderful worlds.