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Chung Byoung-kyoo Photobook Design

Chung Byoung-kyoo Photobook Design

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The photobook does not contain the photos in a fish tank. It would be ideal for a photobook to release photos and images like fish in the river. The most difficult part of my book design is the photobook. Each photobook was an event for me.” - Chung Byoung-kyoo 

Chung Byoung-kyoo Photobook Design is a project that compiled 31 photobooks designed  by the first-generation Korean book designer Chung Byoung-kyoo from the 1980s to the early 2010s. The book, which is the first book by Chung Byoung-kyoo, traces Chung's words and thoughts on design through the medium photobook. For Chung, the 'photobook' was the core of his book design, and was a medium that allowed him to demonstrate his overall capabilities as a book designer.

Other than that, Chung Byoung-kyoo Photobook Design itself is a historiographical trial in terms of the history of Korean book design. The book clearly shows how an individual in the early 1980s adopted the term ‘book design’ for the first time in Korea and paved the way for it for more than a half a century by negotiating with the constraints of the times. Being more than a usual  ‘monograph’, the book outlines the process of publication design moving from the time of movable type to the time of phototypesetting.

A unique companion to modern Korean visual culture through book design, Chung Byoung-kyoo Photobook Design is a must-have for any photobook aficionados.

From Foreword

“It is such a pleasure that Chung’s hidden efforts, that used to be known only to a handful of people, can now see the light of day through Chung Byoung-kyoo Photobook Design. Even though it has been a long wait, it is better late than never to record his achievements in detail and to better document our understanding of his work and impact. The acclaimed books that were published around the time that I began to be interested in photography – including Gut by Kim Soo-nam, Roots of Silence, a book that included photos by novelist Cho Se-hui, The Nature of Korea by Han Youngsoo, Kim Chung-up: The Light and Shadows of the Architect – were designed by Chung Byoung-kyoo. It is no coincidence that I entered the world of photography via his designs. His design was an eye, as well as a window, for photography. The act of photography only became art through his eyes, and through his hands.” - Lee Young-june, machine critic


Book designer and publisher Chung Byoung-kyoo was born in Daegu in 1946. After graduating from Kyeongbuk Middle and High School, he majored in Creative Writing at Seorabeol University of Arts and French Literature at Korea University. He served as the editorial director of The Korea University Weekly Newspaper(1974 ~ 1975) and entered the publishing industry as the editor of Wolgan Soseol Munye(Monthly Novel Literature) in 1975. He served as the editorial manager of the publishing house Minumsa from 1976 to 1977. In 1977, he founded publishing house Hongsungsa and planned HONGSUNG TOP WRITER SINSEO series and HONGSUNG SINSEO series. Chung has experienced publishing and editing since the mid-1970s, proving the productivity of book design in the field of Korean design, which was centered on advertising design up until the 1970s. After completing the 13th Tokyo UNESCO Editor's Training Course in 1979, he introduced book design as a genre to Korea and pioneered it as an independent design field, whereby he himself became one of the first professional book designers in Korea. After returning from studying typography at the Ecole Estienne in Paris, France where he stayed rom 1982 to 1983, he founded Chung Byoung-kyoo Design in 1984 and has been active in the publishing design field until now. From 1977 to 1989, Chung art directed the book design of Minumsa and was also responsible for planning, editing and designing books for a number of other publishing houses. From 2009, he led the design innovation of the newspaper JoongAng Daily as art director till 2012.

Chung was active as the Dong-A Ilbo Publishing Bureau Editorial Member(1984), Seoul Asian Games Executive Board Member(1986), Seoul Olympic Executive Board Member(1988), Paju Book City 'East Asian Book Road' Executive(2005~2014), the President of Visual Information Design Association of Korea(VIDAK)(2008-2009), President of the Korean Association for Visual Culture(2008-2009), a jury member of 'The Beautiful Book of China'(2010-2017) and the International Typography Biennale Organizing Committee(2019).

From 1984 to 2015, he lectured at many colleges including University of Seoul, Ewha Womans University, Hongik University and Korea University. From 1997 to 2003, he lectured on publication design for editors and designers at the Hankyoreh Cultural Center in Seoul.

Chung was the awardee of many awards including First Kyobo Book Design Award(1989), Korea Publishers Society’s Special Achievement Award(2006), Special Award of Korea Book Award (2010) and Republic of Korea Culture and Arts Award for the Division of Design(2013). He is the author of Chung Byoung-kyoo Book Design 1977~1996(1996) and Going to the Sea of Books: Chung Byoung-kyoo Book Design 1996~2006(2006).

Chung held five solo exhibitions including 20 Years of Chung Byoung-kyoo Book Design(1996, Seoul), Chung Byoung-kyoo Book Design: Going to the Sea of Books(2006, Youngwol Book Museum), Tape Graphy Hangul(2014, Paju), Going to the Sea of Books(2017, Wanju Book Museum) and Lucky Seven(2017, Seoul). He also took part in various group shows such as Contemporary Korean Book Design Exhibition(1998, Tokyo), Hangul Exhibition(2001, Osaka & Tokyo), Hunminjeongeum & Nanjung Ilgi Show(2018, Seoul). He was the curator of the show The Moment of Giyeok(2020, Seoul).

In 2011, Chung opened Chung Byoung-kyoo School and started the self-publishing Chung Byoung-kyoo Edition in 2016. Currently, he is the representative of Chung Byoung-kyoo Design and Chung Byoung-kyoo School. His recent focus of interest and research are Hunminjeongeum and Hangul.


Melmel Chung for photography

Born in Seoul, Chung works as a photographer based in Seoul, Korea. Along with her colleagues, she runs the studio Texture on Texture. She works on photography-related projects with various brands and media, as well as writers and designers. Although she majored in Space Design, she is more interested in capturing people and objects, and the mood or empty space that surrounds them. If it's not a client job, Chung mostly shoots things that are natural, beautiful, and sometimes meaningless.

Song Sujong for essay

From publishing to exhibition, Song has been active in various fields related to photography. She worked as a jury member of World Press Photo Contest in the Netherlands, commissioner of Dak’art Biennale in Senegal, and worked as the editor-in-chief of monthly GEO Korea and co-director of Seoul Luna Photo. Song is currently working as a senior curator at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art(MMCA), Korea.

Choi Jae-gyun for essay

Representative of PHOTONET + PHONO + Walking Book. Choi studied Electronic Engineering at college and Photography at graduate school. He worked as a reporter, editor-in-chief, and publisher of the monthly photo magazine Photonet and organized various cultural events. Currently, Choi is trying hard as a publisher to make good books under the brand of PHOTONET + PHONO + Walking Book.

Kim Hyun-ho for essay

Photo Critic. Kim studied Philosophy at Seoul National University and Photography at the Graduate School of Hongik University. He worked as the researcher of H-Center at Kaywon University of Art and Design and editor-in-chief of Seoul National University Press. Having worked as the planning committee member for School of Photographic Theory and bimonthly Word and Bow, he is currently the publisher of VOSTOK Press and co-editor of the magazine VOSTOK. He is the author of Lie Firm(2018, co-authored).

Park Sangsoon for essay

Born in Seoul, Korea, Park majored in Painting at Seoul National University. He joined Minumsa, a publishing company, as an art director, and served as editor-in-chief and CEO(editor). After leaving Minumsa, he worked as an editor-in-chief of Penguin Classic Korea. In 1991, he debuted as a poet and wrote collections of poems such as 6 is Tree, 7 is Dolphin(1993), Marana, Heroine of a Porn Comic(1996), Love Adagio(2004), 200 gram of Sad Potatoes(2017) and Night, Night, Night(2018). He published  I Wed a Toy Bride(2019), a critical interpretation of Yi-Sang's poetry. Park is the awardee of The Contemporary Poets Group Award, Contemporary Literature Award, Hyundae Poetry Award and Midang Literary Award.

Jeong Jaewan for annotation

Book designer. After studying Visual Communication Design at Hongik University, he worked as the editorial designer at Chung Design and book designer for Minumsa Publishing Group. Currently, he lives in Daegu teaching at the Department of Visual Communication Design of Yeungnam University and is in charge of book design for photobooks published by Aprilsnow Press.

Text by Chung Byoung-kyoo
Book photography by Melmel Chung

Foreword by Lee Youngjune
Essay by Song Sujong, Choi Jae-gyun, Kim Hyun-ho, Park Sangsoon
Annotation by Jeong Jaewan
Translation by Yes More Translation

Concept by Kay Jun
Edited by Kay Jun, Suh Seongok
Book designed by Jeong Jaewan
Design assistance by Chae Young Park
Archival material support by Chung Design, Youlhwadang, Monthly Design, VOSTOK Press, Publishing & Reading Network, Koo Bohnchang, Photonet, Propaganda
Printed and bound by Munsung Printing

First edition published in August 2021 in edition of 1000
508 pages / 165(w) x 234(h) x 30(d)mm / Sewn & PUR

ISBN 979-11-89478-06-3 (03650)

© Aprilsnow
© Hyejin Jang (Image)

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