1952 · Republic of Korea
Korean photographer Bae Bien-U is best known for his photographs of pine trees. “The ocean is a universal object,” he has said. “But I began thinking about what could be a symbol for Koreans and thought about pine trees… Pine trees are everywhere—in the house, at tombs; even coffins were made of pine trees.” Beginning his career as a painter, he developed a style of photography that emphasized the painterly quality of natural surfaces, like the patterns formed by bark, surface movement on crags and cliffs, and the scattered distribution of stones. Bae’s career has revolved around a search for an unmistakably Korean symbol in its landscape.