About the Collection:
Yoo’s eye for composition and light, combined with her ability to seamlessly move among the landscape and people to reveal the realities of post-war South Korea yielded hundreds of rare color photographs that give a broader dimension to the story of a nation. The Korea Yoo shows us is a place both sorrowful and elegiac. Yet the streaks of color and deep expressions of the people suggest a future beyond their present devastation and struggle. The images of The Feeling of Han: Portraits of Post-War Korea (1956-1957) by Marie Ann Yoo render the mood of the time. The word han, has no literal English translation, and is evocative of a deep feeling and sentiment, a blues, pathos, and resilience. Han calls to mind memory and belief; it is a a quintessentially Korean emotion, wonderfully explicated through Yoo’s images. Through the impatient stance of a woman on the streets, the grim expression of a man trudging forward to an unknowable destination, a moment of lift in a child’s gesture, the crowds, the buildings, the mud and metal and shambles, we see a Korea far from the glittery slick nation of the 21st century. We see the nation it was, and the people’s fierce will to manifest and become what they could only dream.
Yoo shot with color Kodachrome film purchased and developed on the US Army base. More than 60 years in storage resulted in fading, thus color techniques were applied to restore Yoo’s original slides.