The romantic melancholy in Daesung Lee’s photographs is akin to that of a Caspar David Friedrich painting, though the emotion is born of a different origin. The infinite superiority and beauty of nature that Friedrich’s lonely man contemplates with his back to the observer becomes, in the intense and sophisticated photographs of the Korean artist, the expression of the terrible power generated by humankind’s stupidity. Alone in their square meter of land, the inhabitants of Ghororama island on the Gange delta in the Bangala gulf in India, are silent witnesses of a natural event that is looming over their present and has changed their destiny. These figures, as silent icons out of time, saw the ground being drained under their feet because of the increased level of the sea caused by climate change. The coast has been retreating since 1960 and over 2/3s of the population had to leave. Lee is able to transpose in poetry an existential condition of dismay, a metaphorical but also a tragically real one, when a huge part of the population had to abandon their places of origin for an unknown elsewhere. The colors of India are softened by the evanescent atmospheres of a landscape that the photographer describes as “the tragic beauty caused by human hands”.
An inescapable destiny is waiting for these human beings, who stand proudly as the last guardians of their Atlantis.
Daesung Lee (Busan, South Korea, 1975). He is a Korean photographer based in Paris, France, and he holds a B.F.A. from Chung-Ang University.
His career began in commercial photography but he soon turned himself into documentary.
His work has been following the subject of “Globalisation and it’s impact in human society and nature”. Since 2010 he has been working on two projects dealing with conceptual approach in documentary photography. The intention of such works is to experiment with photographic medium as a way to deliver a personal understanding of the world.
His work has been published in a number of media such as CNN, Le monde, Geo Germany, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Huffington Post and awarded in numerous prizes including Sony World Photography Awards 2013 and 2015.