The Photographer Who Escapes to Her Dreamland Through Her Surreal Photography

Photography, or any forms of art, serves as a channel for us to express our mind and each carries a deep and thought-provoking message. Photographer KangHee Kim is like one of us. Her work is imbued with a desperation for freedom and a yearning to escape.

Born in Korea and currently living in the United States, photographer KangHee Kim is restricted from travelling outside of the country due to visa restrictions. Stuck in the ‘desert’, KangHee Kim strives to realise her imagination and construct her own form of surreal escapism through her lens amid the constraints. ‘Through creating surrealist and fictional imagery allows me to feel a bit liberated from the complications,’ said the photographer in an interview with It’s Nice That.



In her series, we see a sea of cloud outside a room’s window, the afternoon’s sun pouring onto a fire exit door, the reflection of an oasis on a rear-view mirror, clouds penetrating through wire netting. Kanghee Kim brings together the mundane scenes in New York and the natural scenery outside the city through the use of Photoshop. As she manipulates the images, it leads her to the space she wants to be in.

Photoshop is often used to perfect an image, but Kanghee Kim sees the tool differently. She describes her work as a painting, while the photo-editing process as mark-making. ‘I intentionally leave traces of “imperfection” in the process because the imperfections are what make us attractive and human.’


‘I dream my painting and I paint my dream.’ – Van Gogh


The surreal images of Kanghee Kim speak of what Van Gogh’s quote holds. She paints her dream of freedom through photography. And that belief not only applies to her, but all of us.


KangHee Kim
Instagram: @tinycactus

Post author