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Photopaper 07
Sean Lee

Photopaper 07 Sean Lee (1)

Photopaper 07 Sean Lee (1)Photopaper
Issue 07
Two People
Sean Lee
Kasseler Fotografie Festival

Nominated by Sohrab Hura.


16 Pages
210 x 290 mm
ISBN Not Available


Sean Lee’s work two people has evolved into its current and hopefully not yet final form over the last ten years. Throughout this time, he has consistently questioned his own relationship with his family, while also simultaneously negotiating his role as photographer. Across all the chapters of the work there is a continuous shift in familial negotiations. While the work starts with him observing his family from the all too familiar distance that traditionally forms a classic documentary approach, this distance is disregarded in the subsequent chapter, called the garden, and we are taken even closer to his parents, their skin and hair abstracting into landscapes. These landscapes of wrinkles and withering skin become quiet acknowledgments of time (limited time), death and a foreseen loss. Subsequent chapters are rooted in Sean’s early performance practice, with him directing his family in ways that contort their bodies into sculptures to further explore the physicality of those bodies. His parents then continue to take stage to create wonderfully absurd scenes that pry open the dynamics between them. It is always the undercurrent of a yearning to touch that ties all the chapters together. Many years ago Sean explained to me that in Singapore there is a certain emotional distance within the family that may be unfamiliar to someone from another culture. Sean had recognized that distance and the lack of physical contact between his parents and had used photography to get them to touch each other. But what started out as playing these games to simply initiate physical contact had, over time, evolved into a much larger construct of performances from where he could start to allude to further layers that constructed the dynamics within the idea of a family in Singaporean society. While the restricted format of this publication may not justify the malleability and range of Sean’s approach, I hope it at least becomes a starting point from which to introduce to a larger audience in a different part of the world a photographer asking different questions on the all too familiar subject of home and family. –  Sean Le

About the Artist
Sean Lee’s work was nominated ten years ago by several renowned photo festivals from Angkor to Arles and Singapore before being exhibited worldwide. His first body of work Shauna was completed between 2007 and 2009 and published as a book in 2014. Sean Lee was born in 1985 in Singapore, where he grew up and currently lives.

About the Journal
PHOTOPAPER is a new kind of monographic photo publication with a continuously changing editorial team of international experts. These guest editors name photographers or photographic projects which they would like to present to an international public. PHOTOPAPER features this work in single monographic issues of 16 or 32 pages. The main idea is to make high-quality printed photographic work accessible to as many people as possible by producing the final publication at a reasonable price. Therefore, the production process is reduced to a minimum while at the same time using high-end printing technology and a nice paper. Published on a quarterly basis.

About the Publisher
The Fotobookfestival Kassel is a charitable foundation that has been engaged with the artistic medium of the photobook and has presented it in all its facets, since 2008, in a festival program of international standing. The annual festival shows works by renowned artists and promotes established and emerging talents, publishers, designers, printers, curators and booksellers on an international platform. It was the first festival of its kind dedicated to the photographic book and has founded two novel book awards: The KASSEL DUMMY AWARD for the best photobook mock-up of the year has awarded emerging talents a complete photobook-production since 2010; the KASSEL PHOTOBOOK AWARD assembles the best photobooks of the previous year nominated by international experts in the field. Books entered for both awards are showcased regularly in travelling exhibitions at international festivals and photography events. These two awards are unique in their formats and have been role models for other international festivals and events.

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