The perpetual discourse surrounding the intricate relationship between art and photography has been a subject of heated debate for over a century. Critics continue to explore the nuances of each medium, especially when their work is exhibited in prestigious galleries and museums. In the work of Asher (Yeon Sik) Min, contemporary photography becomes a captivating exploration that defies traditional boundaries. In his notable series, Waterfall of My Dreams, the artist ventures into the depths of darkness, utilizing his camera as a tool to capture the essence of turbulent water in ways that challenge conventional photography as we know it today.

The prevailing view of photography as a medium designed to express facts and freeze moments in time is given a new dimension in Min's work. Instead of relying on abundant natural light to illuminate his subjects, Min consciously confronts the absence of light, choosing to reveal a reality that remains hidden from casual observation. This intentional engagement with darkness redefines the traditional role of photography by transforming it into a means of uncovering the intrinsic nature of subjects when stripped of their luminosity.

Min's adept navigation of darkness unveils an essential purity through his lens. This deliberate confrontation with darkness becomes an act of revelation, exposing a truth that endures beyond the temporal constraints of the moment. Having spent time viewing the recent photographs of Min, his work clearly evokes the essence of contemporary photography. Within these moments, he pushes the boundaries of his medium to unveil a deeper, darker, more profound layer of reality. In the process of doing so, the sheer beauty of these photographs miraculously comes to the surface.

In a recent series of works titled Waterfall of My Dreams, Min focuses his camera on waterfalls that reveal exposures of the density of light in dark spaces. These black and white photographs are designated in purposely irregular shapes of light derived from areas of falling water as seen in relation to one another. The choice to confront darkness becomes a metaphor for venturing into the unknown artistically and existentially. These deliberate engagements with darkness reflect a conscious effort to transcend the limitations of the medium and explore new frontiers of expression.

Moreover, the use of irregular shapes of light derived from falling water in Min's compositions echoes the spontaneity found in traditional brush painting. These shapes' unpredictability contributes to the sense of movement and fluidity, mirroring the energetic brushwork seen in Asian calligraphy. In the work, which captures the movement of various waterfalls, one can understand the depth of the artist's understanding of Asian traditional brush painting. The choice to capture the rough and dynamic flow of water in a manner reminiscent of a collapsing piece of ink wash is an insightful aspect of Min's artistic vision. This deliberate freeze-frame of a transient and chaotic moment implies the metaphysical meaning of existence.

The major issues in relation to this project remain directly photographic. It is here in the camera we are able to catch the static visuality of the water amid the darkness wherein the artist’s work defines itself either as a pigment print or a gelatin silver print. Rather than seeing these works only in a pluralist context on the wall, they might also be studied according to a singular perspective, each with a character of its own.

Min’s photographs catch us in the dark, which is how he wants them to be. As expressed in Waterfall of My Dreams, there are three elements that constitute the subject matter in this work. They include “painting, performance, and photography.” Together, the viewer is invited to concentrate on this work as if the evening waterfalls were actually going to descend, which finally they will, prior to being caught in abstract shapes between the various limits of light that surround their depth and darkness.

The quest between photography and art is never static. The question is often raised: When does photography become art? Or, at what point, does art become absorbed to its fullest extent by photography? There is little doubt that Min has confronted these questions at one time or another. There can be no objectivity in coming to terms with a rational answer. Every situation is different. The enduring remnants are given to the present as their forms are perpetrated by feeling. It is here the photographs are cast in memory and seen without doubt.