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Yoon S. Byun August 13, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ohio University, United States.
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The Fagan Family, Ohio

Yoon S. Byun (b 1979, Korea) discovered his calling after switching majors for the 4th time as an undergrad at NYU to journalism, and by chance took a photojournalism course in his senior year on 9/10/01. “The aftermath of 9/11 in New York was something I felt an important need to document. As I learned the definitions of f-stops, shutter speeds and film ISO, I simultaneously tried to document both sides of the peace/pro-war movement. I eventually landed my first internship at the Daily Press (Newport News, VA). Dennis Tennant, the photo editor there, took a chance on me based on my weak portfolio of images. Alex Burrows at the Virginian-Pilot also took another chance in taking in a fairly inexperienced freelancer. I would say that the 9 months at the Pilot was where I first learned how to “see.” Yoon is a staff photographer at the Boston Globe. He also works with Aevum Photo.

About the Photograph:

“This project started when I went to a women in agriculture meeting advertised in the Athens News when I was in grad school.  I decided to localize the story of women in agriculture, or women owned farms by focusing on farms in Southeast Ohio.  This was during a documentary class taught by Bruce Strong – a wonderful professor who challenged much of my thinking during the class.  I found Linda Fagan, the mother of the family, with the help of a woman who was at this meeting.  Upon my first visit to the farm, I realized that there was more of a story with this family than just the women who worked there.  I asked if I could continue to photograph them, and they agreed.  I didn’t really know what I was photographing as I continued my visits.  I just knew something drew me to them.  It was toward the end of my time at OU that I realized what I so admired about this family – it was their independence.  I realized their values and lifestyle was really based upon their own definition of a purpose filled life.”

“This photo happened when I got permission from a professor at OU to play hooky.  “You’re here to shoot,” said Stan Alost, when I made a case to skip his class because I hadn’t visited the Fagan family in some time.  Toward the end of the day of picking hickory nuts, Martha, the youngest daughter leaned on her mother’s back, and Linda, the mother, asked, “Is my back comfortable?” and her daughter responded “It’s like a horse’s back but it’s more boney.”

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Comments»

1. Rich-Joseph Facun - August 16, 2008

I’ve always felt Yoon’s vision was exceptional and his compassionate personality can often be seen in his images. Great to see his work highlighted here on Verve!

2. eva - August 20, 2008

A proof, once more, that life is right out there, worth to be documented, to be looked at.. to tell its story, quietly. Thanks!


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