Soldiers by Kang Jaegu

1 – 10 November 2019

Introduction : #3 Portrait Shot It was probably when my 6-week boot camp training was about to come to an end. Some 2~300 new recruits were lined up at the training field to have their portrait shots taken. When it was my turn after a long wait, the soldier with a camera started to shout at me, “Back straight! Hold up your chin!” The soldier did not give me time to think but pressed the shutter anyway and yelled, “Next!”. Utterly unprepared, the picture was taken instantly and during that short period of time I was so nervous that my head was a blur for a while afterwards. After the training was over, I was assigned as an army photographer.

During their time in the army, soldiers are required to have their identification pictures taken on several occasions. Unlike pictures taken outside the military base, they are neither high quality nor natural. When a buck private is assigned to the barrack, a top sergeant brings him to the photo department as if they are father and son. Top sergeants who are about to be discharged from the service too often visit the photo department to take a picture with close peers.

In the army, pictures are taken with two or three soldiers standing next to each other to save films. After printing and trimming each soldier’s portrait in standard size, I collected left-over photo papers instead of throwing them away. I too took several portrait pictures with fellow comrades before being discharged from the service but I don’t remember their faces because they have been cut out from the pictures: identification with names but no faces only remains.



6주 훈련을 마치고 훈련소에서 퇴소할 때쯤이었을 것이다. 증명사진을 찍기기 위해 2~3백 명이 넘는 훈련병들이 운동장에 일렬로 길게 줄을 서 있었다. 한참을 기다린 후 내 차례가 되었는데 카메라를 든 병사가 내게 고래고래 소리를 질렀다. “허리 펴고! 목 들고!”  그 병사는 내게 준비할 틈도 주지 않고 셔터를 누른 후 “다음!”이라고 소리쳤다. 아무런 준비도 못한 나는 그 짧은 시간 동안 얼마나 긴장을 했던지 정신이 다 혼미했다.

나는 훈련을 마치고 사진병으로 자대배치를 받았다. 병사들은 군 복무 동안 서너 차례의 사병증명 사진을 찍게 된다. 막사에 이등병이 오면 선임 고참은 마치 아버지처럼 이등병을 데리고 사진과를 찾아온다. 또는 제대를 앞두고 있는 병장들은 친한 동기들 혹은 후임병과 함께 전역증에 사용하기 위해 사진과를 찾아오기도 한다.

사진과에서는 한 컷에 두세 명이 나란히 함께 나오도록 촬영을 한다. 필름과 인화지를 아끼기 위해서다. 나는 사진이 나오면 증명사진 크기에 맞게 사진을 오려내고 남은 사진들을 버리지 않고 모아 두었다. 나 또한 제대하기까지 몇 차례 사병증명용 사진을 찍었으나, 함께 촬영했던 전우의 얼굴이 인화지에서 잘려나가 더 이상 그의 얼굴을 기억하지 못한다. 이름뿐인 사병증명만 남았다.


About The Artist: Kang Jaegu

Kaywon School of Art and Design photograph art 

Chung-Ang University Graduate School of photography

Selected Solo exhibitions

2019 12mm, Gallery Bresson, Seoul

2018 Soldier / Totem Pole Photo Gallery / Tokyo

2016 Secret Space / H:Space / Seoul

12mm / Bando Gallery / Seoul 

2012 12mm / KT&G Sangsangmadang / Seoul

2010  Portrait Shot / Ilium Gallery / Seoul 

Democratic Portrait / NUDA Gallery / Daejeon(Korea)


Selected Group exhibitions

2018  fotofever 2018 & photo independent / Carrousel du Lauvre / Paris 

2017  Social Place / H.Hartbridge Gallery / Seoul 

Fotofever / Carrousel du Lauvre / Paris

2016  SP x KOROGRAM – The Exhibition / KOROGRAM / Seoul

Photoville2016#48 Sensation Photography / DUMBO / NY

KT&G SKOPF Collections / KT&G Sangsangmadang / Chuncheon(Korea)

Sensation Photography / SP Gallery / Seoul

2015  Seoul Photo Festival Our Happy Day / Buk Seoul Museum of Art / Seoul

Group 273-8#3 The First Departure / Group 273-8 / Seoul

Brisas de Corea / SaroLeon Gallery / Spain

2014  Five Views from Korea / Noorderlicht Gallery / Groningen(Netherlands)

Military Records Can Not Remember / Art1893 / Suncheon(Korea)          

Get Up Sajin Bipyong / Space22 / Seoul(Korea)

2013  Seoul Photo Festival PORTRAJTS IN MODERN ERA-PORTRAJTS TODAY/ Seoul Museum of Art /

강재구 姜 在求 / Kang Jaegu

중앙대학교 일반대학원 조형예술과 디지털사진 전공

계원 조형예술대학교 사진예술전공



2019 12mm, Gallery Bresson, 서울

2018 Soldier, Totem Pole Photo gallery, 도쿄 

2016 프로젝트 川_Secret space, H:Space 갤러리, 서울

12mm, 갤러리 반도, 서울

2012 12mm, 갤러리 상상마당, 서울

2010 사병증명, 갤러리 이룸, 서울

민주의 초상, 갤러리 누다, 대전 


Site Designed & hosted by Wake Up Working