LEE Daesung, photography

Presentation of the series : On the shore of a vanishing island - West Bengal, India 2011 
The island of Ghoramara is located in the west of the Bengal delta. Due to global warming and the rise in sea level that began in the 1960s, the shoreline of this island is being washed away, little by little, with each tide. Since the 1980s, more than 50% of the island's territory has disappeared and two thirds of the population has had to leave the island.

The 2,000 inhabitants of the island are mostly farmers or fishermen who depend on the island's resources for their livelihood. In 20 to 25 years, the Indian government could declare the island abandoned. A plan to evacuate the inhabitants to the island of Sagar is already ready. However, this plan does not provide for any compensation that could help the inhabitants to rebuild their lives.

The shoreline of Ghoramara bears the traces of a vanished world. With the retreat of the coastline and the disappearance of vegetation, a landscape of strange beauty appears. Daesung Lee chose to have the inhabitants pose on the shore, which makes the beauty of the place even more unreal. And yet these scenes are very real. They testify to a world that will disappear. They illustrate the tragic fate of these inhabitants who will one day have no other choice than to leave their island. One day, this island where they were born, will be only a memory. The sea swallows up their past while their future seems quite uncertain. 


Born in Busan in 1975, Daesung Lee is a South Korean photographer who lives in Paris.

The environmental crisis has become one of his major subjects, with the aim of making visible the impact of climate change on the lives of others. To do so, he adopts a conceptual approach with staged images and installations. 

In 2011, in the series On the shore of a disappearing island, he creates staged portraits of the inhabitants of Ghoramara Island in India. These inhabitants will one day be forced to leave their island, due to the rise in sea level. In 2015, in the series "Archaeology of the Future", he addresses the consequences of desertification in Mongolia which threatens the nomadic life that has been passed down from generation to generation. 

These two series have been exhibited in many international festivals, and notably in 2015 at Photoquai and La Gacillly for France. They have also been widely published in the media worldwide, such as Le Monde, Courrier International, Libération, Géo Magazine Germany, The Guardian, The New Yorker and The Washington Post. Daesung Lee was a winner of the Sony World Photography Awards in 2013 and 2015. He won the Lens Culture Portrait Award in 2015, the Voies-off Award in 2016 and the Dahinden Photo Award, Photo Climat de Paris in 2021. 

Since then, he continues to explore new techniques to address subjects in depth and complexity. 

In 2017, his project The Red Forest focuses on nuclear waste burial sites that will have to be off limits to future generations for 100,000 years. To address this topic, he is developing a fiction that he presents in the form of a mock documentary. This work was a finalist for the 2017 Friends of the Albert-Khan Museum Grant. It was the subject of a solo exhibition in Bourg-en-Bresse at the H2M Contemporary Art Center in 2018 and in Brest at the Maison de la Fontaine cultural center in 2020. 

Read more

Personal exhibitions

2020  La forêt Rouge, La maison de la Fontaine, Brest, France

2019  Futuristic Archaeology, Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes de Tandil, Argentina
Futuristic Archaeology, Galerie &co119, Paris, France

2018  La Forêt Rouge, Centre d’Art Contemporain H2M, Bourg-en-Bresse, France
Futuristic Archaeology, Festival de la Luz 2018, Buenos Aires, Argentina 

2016  On the shore of a vanishing island, Passage Sainte-Croix, Nantes, France
Futuristic Archaeology, Cortona On The Move, Cortona, Italy 

2015  On the shore of a vanishing island, Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, USA

2014  On the shore of a vanishing island, Amy-d Arte Spazio, Milan, Italy

Read more

Collective exhibitions

2019  F2 Fotofestival, Dortmund, Germany

2018  Photo Phnom Penh Festival, Cambodia
Breda Photo Festival, Breda, Netherlands
Acampa Festival 2018, Corona, Spain
Saison Photographique de l’Abbaye Royale de l’Épau, France

2017  Photolux Festival, Lucca, Italie
Back-light Photo Festival, Tampere, Finland

2016  Angkor Photo Festival, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Foto Istanbul, Istanbul Turkey
Getxo Photo Festival, Getxo, Spain
Gibelina PhotoRoad, Sicile, Itay
Projection Voies-off, Festival d’Arles, France
La Gacilly Photo Festival, La Gacilly, France
Riga Photo Month, Riga, Latvia
MIA Photo Fair, Milan, Italy

2015  OFF Festival, Bratislava, Slovakia
Festival della scienza, Gènes, Italy
Belo Horizonte International Photography Festival, Belo Horizonte, Brasil
Tokyo International Photo Festival, Tokyo, Japan
Photoquai 2015, Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, France
Organ Vida International Photo Festival, Zagreb, Croatia
Athens Photo Festival, Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece
The Curve Exhibition - Santa Fe Photography Festival, Santa Fe, USA
Flash Forward Festival, Boston, USA
Barcelona International Photography Awards 2015, Valid Foto Gallery, Barcelona, Spain
Memorie di equilibrio, Amy-D arte spazio, Milan, Italy

2014  Organ Vida International Photo Festival, Zagreb, Croatia
Environmental photographer of the year 2014, Royal Geographic Society, London, United Kingdom
Sony World Photography Awards 2013, Month of Photography Bratislava, Slovakia

2013  Sony World Photography Awards 2013 Exhibition, Somerset House, London, United Kingdom

Read more


2017  Tokyo International Photo Festival, Japan – Finalist
Bourse de l’Association des Amis du Musée Albert Kahn, France – Finalist

2016  Prix Pictet, Switzerland – Nominated
Prix Voies-Off, Arles, France – Winner
Riga Photo Month, Latvia – Finalist

2015  Belo Horizonte International Photography Festival, Brasil – Finalist
Tokyo International Photography Festival, Japan – Finalist
Organ Vida International Photo Festival, Croatia – Finalist
Cortona International Photo Festival Award 2015, Italie  Winner
Athens Photo Festival, Greece – Finalist
Sony World Photography Awards, 2015 – 2nd Prize, Professionals – category : Conceptual
Lens Culture Portrait Awards, 2015 - Winner
The Choice Awards, Santa Fe Photo Festival, USA – 2nd prize
Barcelona International Photography Awards, 2015, Spain – Winner

2014  Lens Culture Visual Story Telling Award, 2014 – Winner
Organ Vida international photo Festival, 2014, Croatia – Finalist
Environmental photographer of the year, 2014, United-Kingdom – Finalist

2013  Sony World Photography Awards 2013  3rd prize, Professionals – category : Contemporary Questions

Read more
For a better view, please turn your smartphone.