A growing subculture of cosplay has taken root on the outskirts of Gangnam, South Korea. Meeting usually one weekend every month, Korean youth have seemingly found a way to escape the pressures of societal perfection by transforming into fictional characters they admire. But can escape be fully realized in a society that places such a high value in personal appearance and consumerism? Onlookers still see them amidst a landscape saturated in all manner of advertisements. With so much product placement imposing itself upon the landscape, is their escape not a product itself? The aim of my work is to examine how these subjects wish to be perceived, while being in an environment that they cannot change or remove. I use multiple exposures as a technique to transpose subject and environment together. The resulting portraiture is one merged between fantasy and reality: A Cos’ality Of Play.
I’m an emerging photographer currently based in Seoul, South Korea. As a Korean-American who grew up in a rural area of Virginia, I have a unique perspective of Korean identity and its relationship to both global and regional communities. I studied photography as an undergraduate, but set it aside during my MFA program at James Madison University to concentrate on intermedia. After moving to South Korea I rediscovered photography, using it as a means to document and share my experiences. In 2016, I mentored under David Alan Harvey to further study photographic philosophy and authorship. My photography has been published in Burn Magazine and LensCulture. It has also been awarded by the Magnum Photography Awards, Sony World Photography Awards, LensCulture, PDN, IPOTY, IPA, MIFA, TIFA, as well as selected for inclusion at the 2017 Aperture Summer Open: On Freedom. More of my work @ www.arguspaul.com