성남훈 · Sung Namhun
Sung Namhun(1963~) studied documentary at the Paris College of Photography in France 『Icart Photo Ecole de Paris』. He worked as a photographer at French photography agency 『Rapho』, and served as a professor at Jeonju University Graduate School of Culture and Industry. Currently, He serves as a chairman of Documentary Onbit, and a leader of social interest photographic group 『Dream Flower Factory』. His award includes First Prize in Photography at Le Salon in 1992, Artist Award at Gangwon Grant for Documentary Production in 2004, Dong Gang Photography Award and Hanmi Photography Award in 2006, World Press Photo Award in 1994 / 1999 / 2009, Ilwoo Photography Award in 2017, and leica-oskar-barnack-award Finalist 12 people in 2020. His works are exhibited in number of galleries including National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul Olympic Museum of Art, Jeonbuk Museum of Art, YeSong Art Museum, Yeongwol Museum of Photography, The Tashkent House of Photography, National Human Rights Commission of Korea, gallery WA, and SPACE22.
Gold Mining City
La Rinconada, Peru, 2014
Located at 5200 meters above sea level, world’s tallest city La Rinconada is also the world’s most isolated city snaggled with garbage, brothels, alcohol, gambling, and desire for gold. It has bout 70,000 residents and 90% of them are working at the gold mine. Because collecting gold ore or powder requires use of mercury, both the land and the people suffer from serious mercury contamination and poisoning. After hard work of risking their lives, miners earn gold along with alcoholism and mercury poisoning. La Rinconada was once a land of gold and land of fortune, but now it became world’s tallest and poorest city. Support from governments or mining companies is unimaginable. In its high altitude, neither trees nor grass could survive. Hope is nowhere to be found.
Bangka Island, Indonesia, 2015-2016
The surreal landscape of Bangka Island, Indonesia may seem beautiful at a first gland. However, this is actually a terrifying metaphor for the dystopia brought by the environmental destruction. The lake had changed its color as the harmful contaminants such as heavy metal, plutonium, and pyrites flows into the exhausted and abandoned tin mine. Banka Island is a treasure trove in which 60% of world’s tin is buried. Although the island has been mining tin for the past 300 years, it has been attracting attention again recently. The demand increased substantially as tin became essential to the manufacture of electronic devices including smartphones and computers that are inseparable to modern people. When the Indonesian government abolished the mining rights that were only allowed for state-owned enterprises, brutal mining by private companies and illegal miners has become even more severe. Illegal tin mining is still fiercely progressing today in Banka Island, eating up the large area that is three to times the size of Jeju Island.