Theoretical Family

Posted by on Jul 27, 2011 in Gail Quagliata | 7 Comments

Waiting 7 years after undergrad to attend graduate school in essentially the same field means you’re crazy, independently wealthy, extremely bored with your life, or desperately seeking some sort of artistic community because spending another day working in your current industry will cause you to develop some kind of really impressively eccentric hobbies, like lampshade hoarding, or breeding exotic animals in your closet-sized NYC apartment. In my case it was a touch of A, a sprinkle of C, and mostly D. When I came to Pratt, my minimum goal was to gain inspiration from the two professors I’d admired from afar and hopefully reshape my own work into something more polished and cohesive. Long winded Hallmark card later, one of the most impressive photographers I’ve ever encountered thus far in my life (full stop, not “in class” or “in Brooklyn” or “not shown in a major gallery”) just so happened to be one of my classmates, Seung Hun Lee. Seung Hun and I both went to SAIC for undergrad, albeit in different years, and immediately had that in common, along with a propensity for photographing vacant urban spaces instead of, say, people. I remember when we first got to know each other and were talking about affordable web hosting services – my first glance at his website, intended as a glimpse into the quality of the customizable template he’d used, turned into several hours of gawking at unbelievably stunning parking lots. Since that time, I’ve gotten to know Seung Hun much better as an artist and de facto older brother of sorts (as he’s perhaps several months older than I am) in our weird little grad school family, and his work has evolved into something haunting, eerily poignant, and undeniably masterful. He’s one of my favorite photographers, even removed from the context of our friendship. The following images were from his graduate thesis exhibition, held in May at Pratt.


  1. Meredith Fitzgerald
    July 27, 2011

    Thanks for sharing Seung’s work. I remember seeing his parking lots before and was really taken with them. And yes going back to school after a long time usually is about re-finding a community of artists before you go barking mad đŸ™‚ it was 12 years for me and I am very happy with the family I found at Pratt as well!

  2. Allen Frame
    July 27, 2011

    I couldn’t agree with you more about Seung Hun. Those eerie night photos are so subtle and evocative. And I’ve just had the pleasure of spending lots of time with him on a film set where I enlisted him to do stills for Josh Sanchez’s film Four. One or two of them should be published on indiewire tomorrow with an interview with Josh about the film. If so, I’ll send you the link. His style is already so cinematic that I thought he was a perfect person to do this, and I was right. Plus, he has the patience to wait through the long hours of making a film.
    Enjoying all your posts!!!

  3. Eliza
    July 27, 2011

    Wow, Seung Hun’s photos are absolutely fantastic. I am definitely now a fan. Thanks for sharing!

  4. JongHeon Martin Kim
    July 27, 2011

    your works so awesome~~~~

  5. Gail Quagliata
    July 28, 2011

    I think my older brother is able to evoke the same sense Gregory Crewdson spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to create on a much more elaborate scale. Just saying.

  6. Zeina
    July 29, 2011

    great work! even individual shots have emotion and narrative which is really hard with “empty” spaces. I love the voyeurism as well.

  7. eric breeding
    July 29, 2011

    agreed Gail. Seung Hun is not only a brilliant photographer but one of the most humble and sweet people on the planet. he redefines the definition of modest. cant wait to see what he does next. it was an honor being associated with him in graduate school.