FETAURE ー PAUL JUNG
To go beyond the norm – that is the ultimate state of existence, according to Paul Jung at least. Here, we track the evolutionary process of one of the most intriguing talents to hit our screens in the current flood of digital creation.
“The term ‘collaboration’ is a kind of next generation word that is over-abused and perhaps misunderstood.”
Simultaneous evolution and repetition – that’s what’s been going on with Paul Jung of late. The New York-based lens extraordinaire has increased his fame capital since we last snapshotted his creative musings in 2014, but his cause for being involved in the wider creative space has remained much the same.
Not one for mundane storytelling, though a proponent for highlighting beauty in the ordinary, Jung’s creative drive is in a constant state of contradiction: fascination in irritation, confusion in curiosity. With this, emotive transportation takes place, something for which Jung has become renowned as a result of his evolving relationship with fellow new-gen creative, Melitta Baumeister.
“It’s not only the person who is important, but also the time and spaces in which the two meet that create a special incubator for moving forward.”
“We take it one step at a time,” says Jung of his and Baumeister’s progressive presence as photographer and designer respectively. “It’s helpful to have this outside perspective of what I have with Melitta as a fashion designer in maintaining this ongoing conversation,” creatively speaking of the nature of artist duos in this immediate, digitally saturated landscape. But tread lightly if you’re thinking of labelling them as part of the C-club. “The term ‘collaboration’ is a kind of next generation word, which comes after ‘talent’, which is again after ‘inspiration’, that is over-abused and perhaps misunderstood,” Jung clarifies. “We are both careful and are wary of the wrong sort of collaborations.” Though not hinting at what these may be, Jung is candid about the reliance on fellow practitioners necessary for growth in the creative industries. “To make it work, it really requires an immense amount of trust in the other party. It requires one to listen to the other, to meditate on the others comments and the reactions to those thoughts.”
In light of this artistic union, it would, however, be a mistake in thinking that Jung is a single-party collaborator. Relishing a passion for filmmaking with the direction of songbirds Emily King, Estelle and home-grown Megan Washington, as well as a recent series of moving imagery and short-play direction, Jung again exhibits his awareness of an ever-growing industry, adaption being the operative function in a bid for longevity. A self-confessed member of Gen-T(umber), Jung knows the importance of being not only aware of but responsible for a digital identity whose purpose is explicit of creative intention. Drawing upon honest realisations of the human condition in single shot frames of manipulated movement, Jung captures human thought propelled by emotional anguish in simple black and white, in doing so reinforcing his independent capabilities and pinpointing social stigma. Emptiness, Am I really here?, Where are you now?, Why, then, is there so much pain?, How does one measure the hollow heart?, and perhaps the most era-aware, All I can do is watch; all textually calling-out the emotional subtext of these grainy snippets of human narrative.
“It’s what you don’t know that brings excitement.”
Still, independence is not the be all and end all. “I don’t think you can underestimate the value of working with someone who is at the same point of their creative ‘path’,” Jung enthuses with classic tongue-in-cheek cliché, almost in mocking of the traditional industry term grown tired from overuse. But he is more serious when it comes to realising the importance of good creative communication. “If we had met at different points in our lives, we probably wouldn’t connect the same way that we do now,” says Jung of his powerful connection with Baumeister. “It’s not only the person who is important, but also the time and spaces in which the two meet that create a special incubator for moving forward.”
And forward is where he’s headed. Though unaware and unwilling to make any grand predictions for future evolution, Jung is optimistic for the unknown. “If I try to look back at the coming year before I’ve experienced it, I wouldn’t come close to forecasting all that could potentially happen,” a contentment with the non-existent that keeps Jung hungry. “It’s what you don’t know that brings excitement, rather than what is scheduled, isn’t it?”
Words Grace McBrierty