The coherent concept of the series "Bei mir, bei Dir" (2018-2021) convinced the jury
[Cologne, 02-05-2022] Sora Park (* 1991 in Gimpo, Südkorea) is this year's winner of the August Sander Award. She won over the jury with her submitted series "Bei mir, bei Dir," 2018-2021. Park is currently studying at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Germany. She has previously studied at Sunchon National University in Suncheon, South Korea at the Department of Photographic arts.
Regarding the context in which the award-winning series was created, Sora Park explains, "When I moved from South Korea to Germany in 2015, I made a conscious effort [...] to meet new people. As a photography student, it seemed natural to me that part of getting to know someone was taking photos. When I met someone new, I would [...] start with a conversation for several hours until the person was comfortable or relaxed, and then I would take a single photograph with a large format analog camera."
Sora Park photographs each person either in their home or in her own home, and some people are portrayed in both places. "I want to compare and contrast how people react and behave at home or in a new place," the photographer says, "but I'm also interested in capturing a person's state of mind and finding out what their facial expressions, gestures and body language reveal about them in relation to their surroundings."
The jury of Dr. Anja Bartenbach (Founder's Family), Gabriele Conrath-Scholl (Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur), Prof. Dr. Ursula Frohne (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster), Albrecht Fuchs (Artist, Cologne) and Dr. Roland Augustin (Moderne Galerie/Saarlandmuseum, Saarbrücken) were convinced by the coherent concept of the series as well as the finely evaluated and balanced interplay of portrait and spatial study. With psychological intuition and respect for her subject, Sora Park has succeeded in approaching the person individually, capturing their specific characteristics and momentary state. Regardless of whether they are self-focussed, questioning, curious, slightly distant or waiting – each person appears very present in the photographed situation and embraced by the space. The conscious and confident use of the analog large-format technique with 4 x 5 inch negative size (10.2 x 12.7 cm) is an important tool here. Lengthy preparations and a high degree of concentration are required to achieve an appropriate image result. Sora Park takes only one single shot, which adds to the intensity of the work.
The August Sander Award was offered for the first time in 2018 by Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, donated by Ulla Bartenbach and Prof. Dr. Kurt Bartenbach. The award is linked to the idea of promoting young contemporary artistic approaches in the sense of factual-conceptual photography, with a particular focus on the human portrait. The response to the third call for entries has also been gratifyingly large, with more than 100 entries received from Germany and abroad.
The date of the award ceremony is yet to be announced.