April 15, 2004

Renowned photographer to appear at SIUC

by Paula M. Davenport

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A Korean-born photographer who deftly assumes the identities of the subcultures she covers will show and talk about her work next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Nikki S. Lee will give a free public presentation at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 21, in the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building Auditorium. Free parking is available in lots south and west of the law school.

Part chameleon, part sociologist, Lee is known for immersing herself among cultural off-shoots -- becoming a convincing member of such groups as punk rockers, Ohioans, yuppies, tourists, drag queens and the like.

She hands a point-and-shoot type camera to passersby and asks them to capture her among her adopted "peers."

"The photographs always include Lee, often depicted with people from the community she is examining," notes the Cleveland Museum of Art, which recently mounted an exhibition of her work.

Numerous private collections in the United States, Europe and Asia include Lee's photographs. And her work has been on display at museums all over the world.

Lee is a guest of the SIUC cinema-photography program, in the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts. Funding for the event comes through the SIUC Student Fine Arts Activity Fee.

Expanding cultural outreach efforts is among the goals of Southern@150, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.