Hye-Ryoung Min

Hye-Ryoung Min is a South Korean photographer living and working in NYC. She received her MPS from School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her work explores the intersection between human relations and the inner self. Whether she is observing the mundane lives of strangers on the street; the comings and goings of her neighbors as seen through the windows of her home; the fleeting expressions of her niece; the evolving landscape of a city or seventy diaries, which she has kept over the past twenty-six years, Hye-Ryoung continues to find in different subjects a reflection of her deeper self.

Her work has been exhibited in places such as The Bronx Documentary Center; NEWSPACE Center for Photography; the Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography, she has also been awarded honors such as Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50; En Foco’s New Works, Conscientious Portfolio Competition and Seoul Photo Festival Portfolio Award. Her works are included in the Permanent Collections of The Center for Fine Art Photography, GoEun Museum of Photography and Benaki Museum. She was an Artist in Residence at Woodstock Byrdcliffe in 2015 and at FotoVisura Lodge in 2014 and her first monograph ‘Re-membrance of the Remembrance’ was published by Datz Press in 2018.

Re-membrance of the Remembrance

“What matters in life is not what happens to you, but what you remember and how you remember it”

Two boxes tightly sealed were left hidden from my sight and transferred to new places between moves in my mother’s house. Although they were in my home country, their weight and the trace of times gone past persisted in those seventy diaries kept in the boxes, which never stopped chasing me across the Pacific Ocean. A desire lingered to look far back into the paths I’ve come through, as I have climbed up a number of slopes and now arrived at a rolling hill. It didn’t seem like I could continue walking forward without facing what was left behind me, regardless of how it was shaped, what kind of scent or odor it had, or whether there were unbroken thorns underneath a thick layering of dust.

My journey of tracking back twenty years into my past started at a hundred-year-old barn in the middle of the forest at Byrdcliffe Woodstock residency, where I could almost hear the sound of the spider weaving its web. The diaries I’ve written since I was twelve were read one by one.
Sitting on the hill, on the way to my forties, I began to realize all that which makes me who I am now: people who have stood next to me and people whom I’ve had in mind; poetry and words that consoled and remedied my wounds.

Each one of the diaries required a long walk after its reading. On the way back to my studio, I collected a tribute to dedicate to each diary. This took the shape of a stone, flower, leaf or sometimes a piece of bark. Once read, those diaries went back to sleep on the floor in the middle of the studio with the tribute placed on top. Their voices felt conspicuously calmer and more tranquil after taking off the heavy winter dust.

These photographs are visual diaries dedicated to my written diaries and evidence of those times coursing through me once more, where my expectations mingled with regret, compassion collided with fear, and scars ached and lingered. They are an act of earnest yearning, consolation, forgiveness, and resignation. Facing myself in the moments of brooding light I met the gleaming shadow of my past re-membered into my new diaries. Perhaps with one more reinterpretation, I would move forward with the memories of the memories that I made.

To view more of Hye-Ryoung’s work please visit her website.