Instagram Account Alert: @Humansofmylifex

We are beings of nature. Just like nature, we are spontaneous and wild. This has often brought about a need for order and organization in our culture. Such rules have propagated into photography too…use the rule of thirds to position the important elements among such lines, look for symmetry, include foreground interest, et cetera, et cetera... There’s this tendency to mask what’s real and upload photos of only great and almost perfect entities, but that is not true human nature. It is not natural to tell one to look directly at the camera and smile. What’s natural is what Barbara Kang, a student at Boston University from Los Angeles, California, has been able to capture.

Kang photographs people in their element. She captures the moments that are so ordinary, yet so extraordinary, that you forget to take a picture, but thankfully she doesn’t. It’s no wonder people are captivated by Kang’s Instagram account, @humansofmylifex. In response to this praise she noted, “When I started publicizing the photos, people kept asking me to take photos of them. That's not the point, let me do it out of my free will. What I wanted to illustrate with the photos: Each person has his or her own unique experiences. Our ability to empathize with one another serves as the cohesive aspect of being humans. We are always trying to relate one another, and I believe that the people I keep close in my life sort of reflects the person I am—of course, not entirely. Bottom line, I wanted to capture a scene that contains relatable narrative.”

The “relatable narrative” she portrays through her photos is why students all over campus are drawn to her account. Just like Tupac said, “real eyes, realize, real lies”…we know what’s genuine and what’s not. It’s a feeling like the one you get when you know it’s going to rain. The wind starts brewing and the sky gets surreptitiously darker. We are attracted to nature, yet have been taught not to be. We’ve construed a world of straight, geometrical buildings and moreover, have even construed new noses and breasts to fit the model of what is “right”. Though when you let go of preciseness and learn to truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.

Perhaps such ideology is why Antoni Gaudi remains known as one of the most prodigious and renown architects of all time. He crafted buildings that looked like the sea and didn’t abide by the rules of architecture—he went beyond them. Kang has executed the same with photography. When asking Kang what prompted her to start the account she explained, “I've always had an interest in pursuing art and being Korean-American, my dad was hesitant in encouraging me to pursue a career in art. As a lot of people say, 'You starve as an artist.' But, my mom supported my interest. Regardless, I applied to Ryman arts program at Otis College of Art and Design. Got in, didn't really enjoy it much, but graduated. Throughout high school and even now when I go back home, I am always visiting in and out of pop-up exhibitions, public space installations, and museums such as Hammer. My favorites were definitely Jim Hodge's Give More Than You Take and Robert Heinecken's exhibitions at the Hammer Museum. I worked closely under my mentor that helped me in my exploration and opinion on Contemporary art, and really pushed me to develop out-of-the-studio/classroom. My studio was my backyard.”

She plays with life and then candidly photographs it. Aided by a talented and keen eye, she produces remarkable shots. When asked what subjects she typically captures she responded, “People, preferably friends, in some sort of funky lighting. I'm slightly inebriated when I'm taking the pics at some sites or when I am editing the pics, so I am attracted to taking a set of photos in a colorful lighting—therefore, mostly pics taken at night. There is one photo I took on the train that I think epitomizes the father-son relationship. Further, I like capturing moments that I think I can still hear the exact songs that were playing in the background—Bkaye’s "Mr. Watson" Remix, Masego playing Sasha (his saxophone), Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon", Childish Gambino's "Red Bone", "Mr. Brightside" by the Killers. I love music. I can't produce art without music. That is my only invitation to the creative world, free-thinking, intense emotion, and sometimes absolute zoning-out session while painting on canvas. Well, I guess now I'm normally concentrating on using the band saw to cut wood, using InDesign to create editorials, and sculpting with plaster.”

Kang emphasizes the importance of music in the creation of her art. Much like art, music tends to express that of which we don’t know how to explain with words. Linking the two mediums—art and music—creates a harmonious set up for Kang’s creativity. Much is to be learned from Kang’s unique and unconventional Instagram account, and even her photo installation in Gallery 5 on 855 Commonwealth Ave. 

We weren’t put on this planet to be perfect; we were put here to be real. So, it’s understandable that we’re not always going to say and do the right things (and that’s okay). We’ll make mistakes and drink a little too much some days, but at the end of the day when the sun goes down, this much remains true…we’re only human.


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