DANIEL JOHNSTON: here is a photo book about the artist and musician Daniel Johnston. Photographer Jung Kim documented Johnston’s process, work, and life over the course of three years. We asked her some questions about how the work came to be, and how it turned into a book.
How did you choose Johnston as your subject?
I was a fan of Daniel’s art and music, and I really just wanted to work with him and photograph him. When that opportunity came at one of his shows in NYC, I knew I wanted to keep working with him because I couldn’t put my camera down and we instantly developed a great working rapport. About 3 years in and many rolls of film later, I thought it would be nice to share these photographs finally, especially with his fans. That is when the idea for a book came to light.
The project seems to be about trust. What was the collaboration process like?
It is, and somehow that came naturally to us since the first shoot. Daniel was comfortable with me being a fly on the wall and allowed me to document him without limits. I think it’s rare to have a subject so open and trusting, and he was always himself without self-consciousness or a front - all of which are reflected in his own work. He made it so easy for me to capture him truly and honestly that it wasn’t so much a “process” but more like two old friends sharing a lot of silence and space together.
Anything else about the book that you’d like to mention?
We wanted to make a book from cover to cover that felt intimate and quiet. We asked Daniel to handwrite the title “here” over and over on a piece of paper and he ended up doing that during Sunday church in his hometown. Having only the title stamped on the cover in Daniel’s handwriting really made this book feel complete for us.
"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live."
It is an unusual school in an unusual location and is run by an unusual teacher.
Rajesh Kumar is a shopkeeper by profession but spends hours every morning teaching around 80 children from the poorest of the poor in India’s capital.
The 43-year-old visited the construction of the Delhi transit station a few years ago and was disturbed by the sight of many children playing at the site instead of attending school.
When he questioned the parents working at the sites they all said there were no schools in the vicinity and no one cared.
Consequently, his open-air class room was born - between pillars and beneath the tracks of the Delhi transit system, known as the Metro.
Every few minutes a train passes above, the children unperturbed by its sounds.
There are no chairs or tables and the children sit on rolls of polystyrene foam placed on the rubble.
Three rectangular patches of wall are painted black and used as a blackboard.
Anonymous donors have contributed cardigans, books, shoes and stationery for the children, as their parents cannot afford them.
One unnamed individual sends a bag full of biscuits and fruit juice for the pupils every day - another incentive for the children to turn up for their studies.
"When you withhold forgiveness or love from anyone, for any reason, it diminishes your awareness of the abundance of good in your life. You are stuck in so much old stuff, new stuff has no way of getting to you. In essence, the good that you withhold from others will be withheld from you."
"everything he did was a form of trolling."
People buy paintings for twice as much that aren’t half as beautiful.
I’m still broke though.
So true. Well I’d rather have a gorgeous guitar than a gorgeous painting.