“To distill a feeling
You must still your feelings.
But the mind is its own mirage,
The desert a looking-glass.
Making pictures in Israel and Palestine was above all an emotional challenge. My photographs usually deal with something eternal in the landscape, but in this place the layers of history and conflict, fear and hostility, frustrated my camera. I happened to travel a lot in the West Bank, not for any political purpose, but because I liked the landscape between the cities. I tried to gaze at the land, without prejudice or judgment. I didn’t want to deal with the masks of the people and I didn’t want to put on my own mask. I wanted to see it as the olive tree sees it. But I felt overwhelmed by the realities around me. I felt sad and uncomfortable much of the time, and I found myself trying to make photographs in a place I didn’t want to be. It was difficult, but looking back, I can see that it forced me to change as an artist and I am grateful for that. On my final trip, I was able to see, not only the land, but my own mind, with its uneven terrain and movements, and to touch something elemental.”
― Jungjin Lee
This edition of “Unnamed Road” is published to coincide with an exhibition “Unnamed Road I Jungjin Lee” at the GoEun Museum of Photography, 25th March–9th July, 2023. Designed by Jungjin Lee.
GoEun Museum of Photography presents Jungjin Lee’s exhibition, Unnamed Road. This series features images of Israel and the West Bank that the photographer captured as part of the collaborative project, This Place. Twelve world-class photographers, each with a different nationality and style, participated in this project that ran from 2009 to 2012, and was commissioned and directed by photographer Frederic Brenner. The West Bank of the Jordan River is a place of adversity for the Palestinians. It is where the people who sought to regain the land they had lost for 2,000 years, and the people whose livelihood was taken away by those people who had returned, live side by side each day; it seems to be the farthest place from ‘the Promised Land’ one could imagine. This region is one of the most conflicted areas on the planet, and the divisive polarity of the media that reports on this conflict is as extreme as the conflict itself. Against these extremes, This Place tells us to look at what exists beyond the conflict. Jungjin Lee confesses that in order to achieve this aim she wanted to see the land objectively, ‘as the olive tree sees it’, but she was overwhelmed by the reality of widespread fear and hostility. The desolate sky and land embodied in her images in ‘this place’, which she captured in the experience of changing herself, are stuffed and hung in the air, trapped in Jungjin Lee’s unique texture of photo. Indeed, it seems that something beyond the conflict is waiting at the end of the ‘unnamed road’ she leads.
― GoEun Museum of Photography