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[Interview] The Works of Pine Tree Photographer Bien-u Bae Comes into The Frame

 

Forty-eight years ago, renowned photographer Bien-u Bae pressed a shutter button for the first time. Since then, he has become one of Korea’s most important artists, and is most known for his meditative landscape photographs, particularly those that feature pine trees as their primary subjects.

 

Today, Bae’s works are being introduced in a completely new light; eight of his famous photographs are available via The Frame’s Art Store starting February 1. And, thanks to The Frame’s cutting-edge digital technologies, viewers can experience Bae’s photographs in a way that has never been possible before.

 

Samsung Newsroom recently visited Bae’s workshop in Korea to talk about the digitization of his works, as well as his thoughts on art and The Frame.

 

One of Bae’s pine tree series, filled with uniquely Korean sentiment. The British singer/songwriter Elton John bought this picture.

 

 

The Global Appeal of Pine Trees

Bae’s most popular photographs to date are those that reflect the haunting and ethereal qualities of Korea’s pine tree forests. These images, like many of Bae’s, have an almost calligraphic quality and are saturated with a Korean-influenced visual vocabulary.

 

Pine trees have singular symbolic importance in Korean culture, but they also exist in various corners of the world, as Bae points out when he shows us a beautiful image of pine trees on a small island not far from Cannes, France. Pine trees are universal but there’s a subtle distinction from region to region.

 

Whatever the different characteristics may be, however, the pine trees in Bae’s pictures are all meant to encapsulate the traditional, meditative sentiment of the Korean culture. His unique ability to capture various pine trees in this way, as Bae playfully quips, is perhaps why he has “been able to take pictures of pine trees for such a long time.”

 

Bae explains how pine trees can be found all around the world, though their characteristics are slightly different depending on their environment.

 

The universality of pine trees, and Bae’s inspirational ability to capture their intrinsic beauty, is one of the reasons why Bae’s works are appreciated worldwide. So appreciated, in fact, that he has achieved international attention with prominent collectors owning his work. Both the singer Elton John and former US president Barack Obama have Bae’s photos hanging in their halls.

 

 

The Frame – An Extended Definition of Art

 

To make his work even more accessible, Bae recently collaborated with Samsung Electronics to make his photographs available on The Frame, a product he feels will change how we interact with art.

 

“I love the idea that by simply hanging a TV on a wall, viewers can feel as if they are inside of a museum,” Bae said. “The Frame will change the way we appreciate art in our daily life.”

 

To ensure that his photographs are displayed as accurately as possible, Bae participated in the detailed calibration of the digitization of his works. By taking extra care to calibrate the micro pixels of each image, he was able to make certain that his photographs maintained the best possible quality.

 

“I think The Frame makes my works more colorful,” Bae explained. “If we look at ‘Jongmyo,’ one of my photographs of a royal ancestral shrine in Korea, we need to closely examine the image to see the rain in the scene. But when viewed on The Frame, the rain is easier to see and the background looks livelier.”

 

“Jongmyo” by Bae

 

 

Merging the Analog and Digital Worlds

Bae went on to further explain his thoughts about the differences in the analog (or film) and digital.

 

“The experience of taking pictures with a film camera is completely different than that of using a digital camera,” he said. “In order to capture the perfect shot with a film camera, we have to calculate every aspect of the photograph before taking the shot.”

 

But just because Bae admires the beauty of film photography does not mean that he does not recognize the advantages of digital technology.

 

“When I see my works displayed on The Frame, I’m automatically reminded of my favorite poem,” Bae noted. “My photographs have become poetry for me. Thanks to digital technology, anyone can now enjoy art in their daily life as if in a gallery.”

 

 

 

Film Photography, in a New Light

Bae reproduces images with cameras and light is his medium. It has been said that he “paints” through his photographs.

 

“Both photographs and paintings are kinds of art that capture light within a specified border. It could be meaningless to categorize these forms of art because they both revolve around light,” he stated.

 

The Frame will provide a new way for people to enjoy numerous forms of art, including Bae’s inspirational photographs, as the digital revolution continues to change the way we experience the world around us.

 

Bae still uses the film cameras pictured above, which have grown old with him during his long journey as a photographer.

 

 


The Frame Is

A lifestyle TV that transforms from a television into a gallery-like art display. The Frame is designed not only to provide a premium entertainment experience, but also to enhance the look of a home, just like a piece of artwork that the consumers would hang on their walls.

 

Through Art Mode, users can select to display works from Samsung Collection, Art Store or their own personal images in My Collection. Samsung Collection offers more than 100 free pieces of art, while Art Store showcases more than 600 works available for purchase.

 

76 percent of users who connect The Frame to the internet frequently use Art Mode, with the average time of daily operation being 5.5 hours. Meanwhile, 80 percent of users are maintaining the subscription to the Art Store, which is a similar figure compared to music and movie subscription services.

 

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