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‘It’s unlike anywhere else I’ve been’Seattle photographer Britt Neufer explains her drive to create on Jeju
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승인 2011.01.16  20:31:08
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▲ A shot from Neufer’s Jeju collection titled Swimmers. Photos courtesy Britt Neufer

Photographer and Seattle native Britt Neufer, 26, is largely inspired by the work of fellow women and by the beauty of nature. When she moved from San Francisco to Jeju Island, which has artistically-inspiring landscapes and a tradition of strong women, she found herself moved by the creative traditions of the island’s community.

“I feel valued to be here,” said Neufer. “It’s unlike anywhere else I’ve been. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to shoot all of the beautiful people here I otherwise wouldn’t get [the chance] to. And creatively I’ve grown the most here since college.”

After arriving on the island in August, she quickly delved into a variety of artistic projects including a unique set of music videos, politically-themed spots, and writing projects. Neufer describes her desire to create art as a compulsion.

“If I don’t create, I go crazy, and I was always shooting. I started doing senior pictures for friends and really liked it.”

Of her subjects, Neufer said, “People are so funny. I like seeing interactions between people. Getting to document that is amazing.”

Art encourages human beings to evolve, creates community and discussion, and is particularly relevant in cross-cultural communication, she says. Although so far most of her work in Jeju has featured foreigners as the primary subjects, Neufer hopes to work more closely with the Korean community here, adding that “You want to share [art] because sharing pushes you more.”

▲ Britt Neufer. Photo courtesy Britt Neufer
Being in Jeju has given Neufer the space, both physically and artistically, to build her portfolio and to focus on her career goals. “There’s a lot of space here to do a lot of the things I want to do,” she said. Life in San Francisco, “was just a punch to the face with photography, painting, graffiti, collages, and so on.”

But Jeju offers its own art scene, including the exhibits at the Jeju Art Museum in Shin Jeju. “They have some amazing exhibits. It’s a good space, and I feel calm when I’m there. The grounds are beautiful and the building itself is impressive. Regardless of the reason for it, I'm glad they've invested in it the way they have.”

Those in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties are “growing up later,” Neufer comments. “We’ve gone back to what makes us happy … pulling from that truth makes you happy.” With a foreign community composed primarily of individuals in this age range, Jeju Island seems an ideal place to develop as an artist, although Neufer stresses that art itself doesn’t always need heavy social or political value.

“I think it’s okay for films and art to be mainly for entertainment purposes. We go to movies to experience something we aren’t getting in another way. We pick certain movie genres for the mood we are in. We go and watch people pretend to be something they aren’t. It’s kind of an amazing thing actually. Entertainment takes us out of where we are and puts us where we want to go, or even where we never thought it was possible to go. Who wouldn’t want to live in Avatar?”


Check out Britt’s blog at planeandtrain.wordpress.com




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