Hyunmin Ryu captures the brilliance of childhood imagination with a photo series on his closest companion, his young nephew

One of the central feelings Hyunmin wants to communicate throughout the series is that it follows his nephew’s growth and, more simply, his day-to-day life. This, Hyunmin explains, is why he applies so many different styles and approaches. Some enhance the silly, absurd side of childhood, like the brilliantly funny Eight-Eyed Boy – which also shows the duo’s ingenious use of props – while others show the quieter, more meditative moments. In Reflection, Sae-hyun sits atop a large rock, his back towards us staring into a body of water, the purples of the early evening light giving it a peaceful quality. There’s even the odd one that comes across as a highly stylised, high-fashion editorial piece – specifically Wearing Grandma’s Clothes, which shows Sae-hyun posing, dressed up to the nines in his grandmother’s coat, fur scarf and sunglasses, a clean white background stylishly framing the shot.

It’s photos like Wearing Grandmother’s Clothes that Hyun-min identifies as his favourite images from the series, for their being recreations of images that existed prior to the project: “I love these photos because they were created without the premise of art”, he adds. They’re the ones that add a sense of familiarity to the shoot, as depictions of funny acts we’ve all ourselves been involved in as children, or can imagine the young ones closest to us re-enacting. Much like a photo version of Richard Linklater’s 12-year spanning epic Boyhood, Hyunmin has dreams of carrying on the series until his nephew becomes an adult. That is, of course, if the leading act Sae-hyun continues to give it the go-ahead.

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