About the Photographer
Slovenian, b. 1982
In 2014, at the invitation of the Koryo Studio, a Beijing-based gallery facilitating cross-cultural artistic exchange, Slovenian photographer Matjaž Tančič undertook a unique portrait project in North Korea. Photographing ordinary citizens—a boxing champion learning to ice skate, hotel cleaners and tourist guides, girls practicing their marksmanship at Meari Shooting Range—he has made more than one hundred portraits to date. Tančič circumvents the all too common tendency of the media to portray North Korea in extremes. Avoiding both sensationalistic demonization and propagandistic idealization, he photographs people with whom we might empathize. Tančič shoots with 3D film, a nod to the popularity of anachronistic, stereoscopic postcards in North Korea. His ambition to portray people as they actually are, however, is complicated by the context in which he works. Perhaps more importantly, Tančič’s photographs point to a central concern: to what extent is it possible to authentically represent those living in a totalitarian state without succumbing to its propagandistic facade?
Matjaž completed a Fashion Photography BA from the London College of Fashion. He has held solo exhibitions at Pékin Fine Arts, Beijing, China (2015).