SuJ’n Chon |

People go to places both strange and familiar. Typical tourist photos look ‘out’ in the form of candid portraits and landscape photographs; they show safe comfortable distances between the photographer, subjects, and environments.

From 2005 to 2007, I created a handful of self-portraits in oft-clichéd settings like Waikiki Beach and the Great Wall of China. I sought to break travel photograph conventions – not by adding a contrived artificial element to suggest absurdity, but by introducing a thoroughly banal element: my feet. These photographs looked ‘down’ instead of ‘out’; they compressed the distances between the environment and me, creating a deeper sense of intimacy.

When photographing ‘place’, there are typically two audiences. First, I capture what my friends and family might want to see in their annual holiday calendars. I then capture for my personal travel journals. These self-portraits tend to be less focused on technical aspects of photography, such as aperture and sharpness, and more on documentation of myself in iconic or memorable settings. They serve as markers not only for what I saw as a tourist but also where I trod as a pedestrian.

Over the past 25 years, I have not shared my work beyond my close friends and art teachers. I am now challenging the perfectionist in me: to stretch my skills, pursue more difficult subjects, and most frighteningly, expose more of my inner creative self to the outside world. I therefore submit to you my first public series, “Pedestrian: Where These Take Me”. I hope they will evoke for you a grounded and visceral sense of place.

SuJ'n Chon "Plastic Shrine" 2008