Looking at KangHee Kim’s photographs is like being transported into an alternate reality. Intriguing and curious, we’re unable to look away from her surreal images, which fuse every day scenes together to create something new and, if we’re honest, a bit magical. KangHee’s current practice came about via a frustration from being unable to leave the US due to her visa restrictions. Feeling confined, she found relief in her art and by creating her own version of the New York City; one where mundane scenes of buildings and city life exist alongside beautiful and natural scenery.
Her entry into photography is a humble one. Messing around with her iPhone and taking photos of things she liked slowly eased her into the discipline. Apart from a black and white photography class she took in junior college, KangHee is a self taught artist. We weren’t surprised to learn that she actually majored in painting in college, as her photographs already imbue an artful, painterly feel.
Inspired by the happiness that comes from small pleasures in everyday life, KangHee takes photos daily to accumulate an archive of imagery to work from. She then moves to Photoshop to create her composites. Faux reflections of clouds, palm trees, sunsets and forests shimmer in shadows, windows turn into portals to tropical beach scenes, fake rock-walls split into a raging sunset. We only wish we could dip our toe into one of KangHee’s off-kilter other-worlds in-real-life, just for a little break from reality.
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