Jehsong Baak is an American photographer based in Paris.
In 1977, at the age of nine, Baak left his native South Korea for the United States where the family eventually settled in Maryland. Having discovered photography in his teens, Baak left the University of Michigan for New York City to devote himself exclusively to his work.
He moved to Paris in 1998. In 2006, his first monograph, Là ou Ailleurs was published in France by Robert Delpire, followed by a second book Photographs published in 2008 in Amsterdam by the HUP Gallery. His third book, One Last Goodbye, was published in 2016 by Wonderlust Press in Paris.
Baak was a member of Galerie VU' from 2000-2004 and has had solo exhibitions in Paris, New York, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Istanbul and Milan.
In 2011, Baak was the photographer of honor of Paris Photo, chosen by the sponsor, JPMorgan Chase. His photographs can be found in the collections of the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, George Eastman Museum, JPMorgan Chase Art Collection, Musée Maillol, Wilson Center of Photography in London, as well as in numerous private collections.
In 1999, after spending a year in Paris, I had spent all the money I had to my name and had no choice but to return to the States. After camping out on a friend's couch for a few months, I realized I had to find my way back to the city and continue the journey that I had started. I can't remember how, but I found a chambre de bonne on rue de Varenne in the chic 7th arrondissement of Paris for $200 a month. The room, on the 6th floor, was 7 square meters with nothing but a sink.
I often had insomnia and thus would grab my Leica and hit the streets, wandering all over the city until I got too tired to walk. On this night, as I was about to enter my building, I saw this man limping along the sidewalk struggling with a heavy bag. I followed him discreetly for 40 or 50 yards until I saw a big white arrow on the road. Once I clicked the shutter and lowered the camera, I realized that the man in front of me was, in fact, me. The juxtaposition of the man and the arrow was a message from God; or the Universe; or my guardian angel. Whatever it was, it told me to keep marching forward, no matter how long the road ahead or how heavy my baggage felt.
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