This piece is one among 10 winners of our 2022 Profile Contest. Yow will discover extra here. Nathan Ko, the creator, is 17 and goes to the The Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Conn.


By Nathan Ko

In 2019, the South Korean photographer Kim Gyoo-sik was recognized as an artist of the year by the Korean firm KT&G. He modestly describes his reputation previous to this recognition as a “small group of dedicated followers.”

Throughout his rising fame, docs identified him with late-stage gastric most cancers. After they instructed him he had six months to stay, he claimed his life insurance coverage coverage and got down to stay the remainder of his life to the fullest. He opened his artwork exhibit in 2021 not solely to discover summary pictures by way of images but additionally to search out that means throughout a time of hardship.

The next interview has been translated from Korean and edited for readability.

Credit score…Nathan Ko

Inform me about your self.

I’m a photographer who makes use of gelatin silver print, principally black-and-white images. Most up to date artists not use this medium.

The sophisticated, gradual and restricted technique of black-and-white images is inconvenient. I used to be curious concerning the up to date modifications occurring within the picture manufacturing course of. Thus, in my newest sequence, I centered on every manufacturing stage, highlighting the function of black-and-white images in up to date artwork. My work is taken into account comparatively unconventional, which has allowed me to obtain constructive consideration.

On the highest level of your profession, you had been identified with most cancers. Your struggling worsened because of the pandemic. I can solely think about the vary of feelings you felt.

Once I was given six months to stay, I used to be depressing. I’ve had many fevers throughout my battle with most cancers. At first of the pandemic, considerations about Covid-19 signs, comparable to fevers, meant that I missed out on probabilities for desperately wanted therapy.

I initially thought that making ready for my solo exhibition could be extra fruitful than persevering with chemotherapy, because the therapy felt painful and inadequate. Then, a pal of mine who’s a surgeon satisfied me to endure surgical procedure that many hospitals didn’t endorse at the moment. The operation was unimaginable, and on the finish of the seven-hour process, all the docs within the room applauded. Because of the surgical procedure, I’m nonetheless right here.

Residing within the face of loss of life, what makes you retain going, and what does life imply to you?

Individuals usually say, “If I didn’t have a lot time left to stay, what would I do?” But this was my actuality. An artist by no means is aware of what a cushty life means. I assumed working by way of the final days of my life won’t be a cushty finish to life, however it will have a contented, significant ending.

In the end, I assumed that I needed to end the work I had initially deliberate to achieve a state of achievement. After my solo exhibition, I primarily lived in my mattress attributable to unwanted side effects from therapy. But on the identical time, I’m considering of concepts for my subsequent challenge. Our wishes are countless!

Moreover, life is just too brief to waste. I spend extra time with my spouse now, as what I can depart behind for my family members are reminiscences.

What surprises you in your work?

That an object or a world in your head can grow to be realized in a photograph. That technique of actual and correct illustration all the time fascinates me and provides me a sense of sheer pleasure.

Another classes you may go on?

Throughout my battle with most cancers, I had the belief that life is finite and that there are infinite methods we might die. The that means of the phrases infinite and finite is tough to understand in on a regular basis life. It will be significant to not be influenced by what different folks say. Select your finite strategy to stay a superb life.