Michael Vince Kim
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Michael Vince Kim is a photographer based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the UK. He studied Film Directing at Universidad del Cine in Buenos Aires before moving on to studying Linguistics at The University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
During his last year in university Michael became interested in Koryo-mar —a Korean dialect spoken by ethnic Koreans in the former USSR— culminating in his project Far From Distant Shores. He continued working on issues of displacement and diaspora with Aenikkaeng, about the story of a thousand Koreans who, in 1905, were deceived into indentured servitude in Mexico.
He is the recipient of the Magnum ‘30 Under 30’ Award, the Royal Photographic Society’s Postgraduate Bursary, and the Magnum Graduate Photographers Award. In 2017, he won the first prize in the People Stories category of the World Press Photo Contest and was selected to take part in the Joop Swart Masterclass in Amsterdam.
2017 - World Press Photo, 2017 - Magnum Photos Graduate Photographers Award, 2016 - Magnum Photography Awards, 2016 - Royal Photographic Society Postgraduate Bursary, 2016 - Viewfind Visual Storytelling Grant, 2015 - Magnum Photos ‘30 Under 30’
Far From Distant Shores
Michael Vince Kim
In 1937, more than 172,000 Koreans were forcefully deported from the Russian Far East to Central Asia as part of Stalin’s ethnic cleansing. Thousands died during the monthlong journey in precarious and overcrowded cattle trains and the harsh Kazakh winters following the relocation. They were left with no means of survival; starvation and illness became commonplace as they lived in earth dugouts while ordered to grow rice in the desertic Kazakh steppe, far from the distant shores from which they came.
The Koreans eventually assimilated to Central Asian culture. Their archaic Korean dialect, inevitably mixed with Russian, has almost disappeared. But despite many decades of isolation, they retained a sense of identity as ethnic Koreans alongside traditions and rituals that are still practiced in the Korean peninsula today.