Portrait

Photographs of how technology and our diet conflated

Images from the series Nahrungsaufnahme © Kyung Nyu Hyun, courtesy of the artist

‘Nahrung’ means food in German and ‘aufnahme’ means picture. When brought together, they form the word ‘nahrungsaufnahme’ which roughly translates as food intake – an apt title for Korean photographer Kyung Nyu Hyun’s latest project.

Nahrungsaufnahme is composed of 808 photographs documenting Hyun’s daily meals, playing on the relationship between food consumption and the way we consume photography.

Aligned in a long grid, the photographs are divided into columns that represent the day, and rows that indicate the time, that the image was taken.

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This typological approach points to Hyun’s scientific background in biotechnology as well as her photographic studies in Cologne, where she came across new principles that radically changed her work.

From focusing on analogue photography and eastern philosophy in her native Korea, she switched to digital imaging and the kind of principles championed by the Dusseldorf School.

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“One photograph might be enough to bring my point across, but with this huge amount of pictures, I wanted to underline and reinforce my thoughts about digital photography and how it is consumed,” she says.

“One might say that it is a kind of a scientific approach: cataloging and documenting one specific subject to analyse its meaning.”

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Though this series contains no human subjects, Hyun says people are omnipresent in Nahrungsaufnahme, visible via the traces of their consumption.

The project is shot on the most accessible of cameras – the mobile phone – and the 808 prints are destroyed after each exhibition.

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“This process is important to me and is part of what I want to say about photography and the consumption of the medium,” Hyun says.

If space is sparse, the series is presented on a iPad or iPhone slideshow, which the photographer sees as a chance to incorporate the device images are now most often viewed on.

See more of Hyun’s work here.