Empty Hook - “When I can’t stand my life, I just go fishing with an empty hook. I throw the hook into the sea and sit for hours and days.” © KyeongJun Yang

Men Don’t Cry

KyeongJun Yang

 2021 — South Korea

About this series

My dad cries a lot these days. Any sad movie never made him cry before. He didn’t cry when our dog died and when his son shaved his head to join the navy. He also didn’t cry on the day that his dad passed away and his mom abandoned him when he was six years old. And now I see his tears very often. 
“Men don’t cry.” He said this to me, who used to cry a lot, like a habit. He said I have to learn how to hold tears to be a ‘man.’ When he was a kid, he held his tears to protect himself from people who despised him just because he was an orphan. After he had a family, he didn’t cry to protect his wife and sons from this harsh world.
The tears he held slowly rose from his feet to the lachrymal gland. And the night the ‘man’ realized that he can’t hold anymore, the tears were already flowing on his cheeks. Now I see dad’s tears that nobody hadn’t noticed filling up inside of him. I asked if I could take a photograph of him when he was crying. Even at this moment, he tries to be a ‘man’.
 “Yes, but don’t show this to your mom. She will cry.”

Raise Your Hand - "My teacher asked the class, who doesn't have a refrigerator at home? I raised my hand. She asked, who doesn't have a TV at home? I raised my hand. She asked, who doesn't have parents? I raised my hand." © KyeongJun Yang
Public Bath - “I had always envied kids who go to public baths with their dad. I don’t remember if I went to a public bath with your grandfather. That is why I love to go there with you guys.” © KyeongJun Yang
Island “I have felt like I am swimming all alone to find happiness in the sea.” © KyeongJun Yang
Hug - “Always feel sorry and grateful. I love your mom the most in the world.” © KyeongJun Yang
Soju - “I am not an alcoholic. I just feel calm when I drink and it helps me sleep well. That is it. I can control myself.” © KyeongJun Yang
Drunk “I think your mom is being cold to me because I don’t have a job anymore.” © KyeongJun Yang
Hair Loss “Does it look too empty? Isn’t it better than last year? I don’t want to be stressed but I can’t. You will understand what I am saying when you start working in society.” © KyeongJun Yang
Cemetery “My cousin’s mom took care of me when your grandfather died and your grandmother left me. When I miss her, I buy bottles of Soju and go to meet her in the cemetery.” © KyeongJun Yang
Leaving - “Don’t show this to your mom. She will cry.” © KyeongJun Yang

Photographer: KyeongJun Yang
Nationality: South Korean
Based in: South Korea
Website: www.kyeongjunyang.com
Instagram: @inside_jun

University of Texas at Austin – Journalism. 2020 

Houston Center for Photography. Togethering Virtual Exhibition. 2020

Sony World Photography Awards Virtual Exhibition. 2020
Paris Photo Award, LensCulture Critics’ Choice. 2020
PHOTO IS:RAEL International Photo Festival. 2020 
Photographs 291 Portfolio Exhibition. 2021
DongGang International Photo Festival. International Open Call. 2021

Gallery RyuKaHyun Documentary Award – Finalist. 2018
Naver Grafolio Photography Award – Winner. 2019
World Photography Organization & ZEISS Award – Winner. 2020
LensCulture Critics’ Choice – Critic’s Pick. 2020
Prix de la Photographie de Paris – Honorable Mention. 2020  
Head On Photo Festival – Shortlist. 2021
Royal Photographic Society, IPE 163 Under 30 – Winner. 2021