“Almost Something,” Hanna Moon’s first photobook (not counting her self-published issues of “A Nice Magazine”), is a personal dive into life in her native country of South Korea. While her commercial work sees her collaborate with fashion brands such as Gucci and Supreme and celebrities like Harry Styles, the stars of “Almost Something” are Moon’s friends and family. Taken over a period of ten years, during which Moon first lived in South Korea then traveled back for occasional trips as her career progressed, offers a unique and intimate view into life in South Korea. Against the country’s highly curated and internationally projected self-image, Moon’s take is more unvarnished and direct. Though various scenes and sights will be familiar to anyone with an interest in recent pop culture, “Almost Something’s” shots of flash-lit friends eating at street stalls, grandmas in neon-pink gloves preparing kimchi (food is, of course, a recurring subject) or snapshots from the streets of Seoul and Daejon feel fresh and stimulating.
“What is under consideration is the identity of both the photographer and her subjects. How do these identities inform the work? Are Hanna’s subjects relegated to referential objects of aesthetic and symbolic significance, or do they remain photographs of people? …
What is wonderful about what Hanna has achieved here, and in her work more broadly, is that while it is essential in its uncontrived Koreanness, it does not overly identify with being Korean, or with any of the wretched and limiting ‘buzzwords’ that are used to describe it. It doesn’t make a scene about the photographer’s status as Asian, woman, or lesbian, but rather allows for the emergence of other narratives in the interstices of the image, making of the obscuring tabletop a temple to what is not said, to the unplumbable depths of the marginalia surrounding it, refusing to close the meaning. ”
― from Moffy Gathorne-Hardy’s afterword in “Almost Something”