by Steve Korn on Nov. 22, 2020
I feel like my photographic vision resides in a couple of different worlds.
I like photos that tell me something about the subject, what they do, what they’re passionate about, anything that encourages me to think about their journey. Seeing other’s struggles and successes encourages us to keeping moving forward, exploring, reaching higher on our own paths.
On the other hand, I also like to make photographs where the subject is really an object; a humanizing source of line and form that in a fundamental way, every person can relate to. What they do and who they are doesn’t really matter, just that they are and that they represent humanness.
One of the reasons I like to shoot dancers is that these two concepts often intersect. Dancers represent craft, dedication, struggle and artistic expression, while also using the most basic canvas, one that all of us own, to create lines and forms, to defy gravity, to connect ourselves to ourselves and with one another, the human body.
My shoot with dancer, Lisa Kwak is no different. The concept is simple: to contrast the lines of flowing, baggy, chaotic, oversized clothing with the defined, organic lean lines of the human form. Because what Lisa does is amazing, we are in awe of her ability, can see her dedication and appreciate that although most of us can’t do what Lisa does, Lisa, a person, can. And that says so much, not only about Lisa, but about the potential of every person.
©2020 Steve Korn. All rights reserved.
She had posed this question with genuine enthusiasm, every four or five minutes since we'd met. My jazz band had just finished setting up in the store cafeteria. I wasn't excited. Performing to a sparsely filled cafeteria of unsuspecting diners who were just there for the meatballs, didn't hold the same allure as a smokey club. The environment is important. It made me realize my love of music is as dependent on the images created in my mind as the notes being played. I'm driven by visuals: colors, shapes, lines, expression, culture.
I grew up with the work of Ansel Adams and Andrew Wyeth in the house. They were as important as Miles Davis and The Beatles. As I turned further toward photography, I saw the parallels of line and color, energy, emotion, atmosphere, and a million other things that both disciplines share. Combined with a fascination for people, who they are, what they do, why they do it and how we all get along, I had found my voice. I shifted focus from being a full-time jazz drummer, music teacher and university professor to being a photographer.
Now I spend my days crafting images, working with inspiring people, trying to inspire in return, solving problems, communicating and finding common vision.
Putting something into the world that never existed before, expressing the simple beauty that is every person, the joy of a color and a line and the emotional power they communicate through shared culture and personal experience...these are the things that excite and drive me. This is my dream and I get to live it every day.