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Souvenirs of the Self (Rocky Mountain Road Trip)
woman artist, photographer, life-size photo, tourism, posed, individual, travel, landscape, ethnicity, memory of time and place, mass media, popular culture, souvenir, tongue-in-cheek, holiday adventure, land mark, famous Canadian place, documentary,focal point, individual, group photo, photograph, tourists, bus,Banff,
start quoteMy work deals with questions of identity and place.end quote-- Jin-me Yoon

In this  seriesA number of things or events standing or succeeding in order, and connected by a like relation; sequence; order; course; a succession of things; as, a continuous series of calamitous events. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  of work, Jin-me Yoon photographs herself as she is travelling in Alberta. She is on a bus tour near Banff, and in this life-size photo we see a group of tourists standing in front of a bus. They are posed and prepared for a group photograph. Everyone appears to be having a good time, except the artist, who stares intently at the camera. Above her, the caption on the bus cheerfully says, "Have a Nice Day". Here, Yoon is with a group, but in other photos in this series she is alone, an individual in the landscape.  In this photograph, because of her age and ethnicity, she also appears to be alone within the group. Yoon is interested in ideas of identity and place and she uses her photographs to record the memory of a particular time and place. The large photograph makes reference to, and even goes beyond, typical images in the mass media.

About the differences between Yoon and the tourists who surround her, curatorial assistant Janelle Bryson states, “Yoon forces the viewer to examine the nature of these differences and determine if they are legitimate or merely constructs of the artist and/or the viewer. How similar or different is Yoon from the others who come to these tourist places and can she experience them in different ways? Further, is she able to participate in the national identity as do other Canadians? What is that identity and who defines it? These are only some of the important issues the series Souvenirs of Self raises in the mind of the viewer.” (Bryson, 2001-2002)

More pictures of Banff, Alberta:

additional resources Things to Think About
  • Could Souvenirs of the Self (Rocky Mountain Road Trip) be a tongue-in-cheek comment on holiday adventures? Holidays can be expensive, stressful and sometimes tiring. At the present moment in her holiday, do you think she is having fun? Has this ever happened to you that you are in a holiday situation that is supposed to be fun, and it is instead unpleasant or stressful? Why do you think it happens? Discuss the value of souvenirs? How do the images in the photo relate to the artist's title, Souvenirs of Self (Rocky Mountain Road Trip)?
  • Jin-Me Yoon and the tour leader are the only two members of the group who are visibly of non-European ancestry in this artwork.  Yoon is also the youngest participant. Might this be a comment on alienation or on feeling out of place?
Studio Activity
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Taking photographs

  • Analyze the photos to discover where your interests lie.
  • Do you like to take photos of large vistas or do you like to take close-ups of small details?
  • Do you gravitate toward the natural environment or human-made objects?
  • Look at current or past photos you have taken of your surroundings.
  • Pick three photos that will tell the story of the holiday/time most effectively.

Focal point

In Jin-me Yoon’s Souvenirs of the Self our eyes are drawn to something slightly different from everything else in the composition.

  • Make one image slightly different from the others.

Author unknown.  Across the Pacific. Exhibition catalogue.  Queens Museum of Art, Kingston, Ontario, 1993.

Author unknown.  Jin-me Yoon: Between Departure and Arrival.  Exhibition catalogue.  Vancouver: Western Front, 1998.

Author unknown.  Jin-me Yoon: Touring Home From Away. Exhibition catalogue.  North Vancouver: Presentation House Gallery, 2003.

Bryson, Janelle. Title unknown.  Vista, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Dec/Jan/Feb2001-2002.

Cho, Charlie.  ‘She/Me/You: The Intersections of Jin-me Yoon,’  Rice Paper Magazine, 7.1, 2001.

Hurtig, Annette.  Lost Homelands.  Exhibition catalogue. Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, British Columbia, 2000.


Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning