[Viewpoint] A new face for the news

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[Viewpoint] A new face for the news

‘The world exists because there are faces to look at, faces to respect and faces to caress,” wrote Italian philosopher Italo Mancini in his last book, “Back to the Faces.”

And there are indeed faces to look at, faces to respect and faces to caress at the exhibition of photographs by Yousuf Karsh and Korean artists in the Hangaram Art Museum at Seoul Arts Center.

One face to look at: The face of actress Audrey Hepburn captured by Karsh in 1956 is truly enchanting. Her eyes are draped with long eyelashes and poignantly closed as if they contain the universe itself.

Her high nose reveals her pride, her dark eyebrows and neatly combed hair give her an affect somewhere between a glorious goddess and a naive maiden. Hepburn’s bone structure, lips and ears come together in artistic shapes, and even the neckline under her collar is impressive. When you look at such a flawless face, you cannot help falling for her.

But your instinctive desire will soon sublimate into profound respect. Her face reminds you of how devoted she was to sick and starving children in Africa as she got older. The more you look at her face, the more you will find the nobler, more beautiful aspects of the late actress.

A face to respect: Karsh took a photograph of Winston Churchill in 1941, and the portrait, which was featured on the cover of Life magazine, reveals his firm determination in the Second World War. His brilliant eyes under gathered brows show he is undeterred and confident of how to make it through the crisis.

His high nose and firmly sealed lips represent his unyielding will. You can almost hear Churchill shouting, “Never give in! Never! Never! Never!” even as Adolf Hitler unfolded his all-out offensive.

As you look at his face, you feel that giving up is not an option and that failure is a sin. Churchill’s face helped his nation get over a sense of defeat and attain victory. Seeing Churchill’s face, the British shook off their insecurity and set their eyes on the future beyond the war.

Churchill’s face deserves trust and respect. It’s the kind of face we desperately want to see today.

A face to caress: Works by Korean artists are displayed alongside Karsh’s photographs, and young photographer Kim Dong-wuk’s 2002 portrait of the late writer Pi Cheon-deuk embodies the public’s memories of his life. His eyes, softly closed behind black horn-rimmed spectacles, are shadowed with remorse, and the dark spots on his face show the hard days of his life.

Deep creases on his forehead and his neatly trimmed mustache reveal that his life might have been difficult, but he still kept his pride and self-esteem.

The wrinkled fingers touching his face might be nostalgically caressing the days he lived. Perhaps he is reminiscing about Asako, a woman he encountered three times in his life.

From today, the JoongAng Ilbo will have a new layout.

Newspapers are the windows to the world. And the window of the JoongAng Ilbo is about to change.

However, more than just the size and shape of the window are changing. The content that will be presented through the new window will be different.

Newspapers are our daily breath. This column is a weekly breath. Of course, our lives demand longer breaths. For the longer breaths of our lives, I promise to feature new faces to look at, new faces to respect and new faces to caress.

*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Chung Jin-hong
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