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New Photo Exhibit by Ahae Opens in Grand Central Station

Friday, October 14, 2011

Visitors and passerby to Grand Central Station can now take a look through a window in South Korea.

For "Through My Window," the photographer Ahae took more than a million pictures through the window of his house, which overlooks an organic nature preserve in South Korea. A selection of the photos of birds, deer and other wildlife is on display in two atriums of Grand Central Station's Vanderbilt Hall.

On Thursday, some bustling travelers stopped to check out the photos, which are divided into two contrasting groups : "Vibrancy" and "Serenity."

“Vibrancy” features bright colors and images with a lot of movement. “Serenity,” captures the more peaceful and quiet aspects of the natural world.

“Through My Window” opened on Thursday and will be on display at Grand Central Station through October 22. Check out images below.

To take the photographs, Ahae used quiet Japanese cameras and showered with neutral soap before opening his window, so that the birds, deer and other wildlife did not sense or smell him.
Julia Furlan/WNYC
To take the photographs, Ahae used quiet Japanese cameras and showered with neutral soap before opening his window, so that the birds, deer and other wildlife did not sense or smell him.
In the portion of the exhibit identified as “Vitality,” Ahae included images with movement, like this one of two ducks.
Julia Furlan/WNYC
In the portion of the exhibit identified as “Vitality,” Ahae included images with movement, like this one of two ducks.
The photographs are of Ahae’s property in South Korea, which he maintains as an organic, pesticide-free habitat.
Julia Furlan/WNYC
The photographs are of Ahae’s property in South Korea, which he maintains as an organic, pesticide-free habitat.

Aside from photography, Ahae spent many of his 70 years as a fervent supporter of organic farming both in South Korea and in the United States.

Travelers toting suitcases and backpacks stopped to admire the wildlife before catching their trains.
Julia Furlan/WNYC
Travelers toting suitcases and backpacks stopped to admire the wildlife before catching their trains.

“I’m from a place with a bit more nature than New York City,” said Betsy Hiadek, who was visiting from Iowa. “But I love the city,” she said, adding that the natural imagery was a calming contrast to the bustle.

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Comments [12]

Sarah from New York

I think Ahae's perseverance in taking 2 million photos through one window over 3 windows is more about his message and heart than trying to attain and show technical perfection. He may or may not be wealthy but his show is certainly not about flaunting himself. I've been to a few of his shows and see the way people react to the unique and breathtaking images he has captured and how they are all moved. Perhaps this is the reason why a world-class venue like the Louvre -who do not accept people solely based on money -would put their name on and host his exhibition. I highly recommend everyone to go see his next show wherever that may be.

Sep. 07 2012 05:37 PM
Jeremy from New York

I honestly think this is the typical example of a rich-born South Korean who can buy opportunity, location, publicity, and image. His pictures are notoriously mediocre. I am a photography teacher and I see young students everyday who are actually more talented than this guy. Unfortunately money can buy too many things these days.

Aug. 26 2012 02:36 AM
Don A. from NY

My mother used to quote an old Irish saying, When the sun shines there is gold on the walls of the poor. I found gold on the walls in this amazing exhibit at Vanderbilt Hall. I could see the ki of the animals. Step into the snow covered backyard which captured the luminescence that plays between cloud covered sky and snow covered earth. I felt cold but I also stood in stillness and silence in the busiest terminal in the world at the height of Friday rush hour.

Oct. 22 2011 04:24 PM
Mark H. from New York

Looking at Ahae's work and reading through his poems and story, I don't think it would be appropriate to compare these photos with "perfect" NG photos. Actually, I would say a lot of his photos wouldn't make it in there. Instead, I believe the artist is sending a message here. If technicality was the only eye to view pictures and art, many exquisite pieces would've have been just a failure. Art would be meaningless.

Oct. 21 2011 03:58 PM
Marcia Brown from New York

The photos are so captivating.

Oct. 21 2011 11:56 AM
Linda from New York

Your work is inspiring. I am also very impressed with your other businesses and your inventions.

Oct. 19 2011 09:04 AM
Ray Schmitz from New York

Moving and powerful imagery, exhibited with style and class. The poems made part of the exhibit were a delight, too.

Thanks for a window onto the world.

Oct. 18 2011 02:34 PM
Tom from New York

I saw your wonderful pictures at Grand Central Terminal, a place where I left from as a child to visit my grandfather's farm in New Hampshire. Your photographs brought me back to those days.

Oct. 18 2011 10:57 AM
Rajiv from India

Your wonderful pics are captivating. After reading your brochure I feel he is like Leonardo Da Vinci with a camera in modern times. Indeed you shoot not only with lenses or keen eyes but with open aperture heart. Marvelous! Your efforts in taking 1.2 million pictures from your fixed window reveal your versatility and in-depth vision towards nature, planet and humanity. We must learn to see and to use our eyes. Indeed your NY show shall prove to be an eyeopener. A hearty salute to great AHAE. I am from India in US for vacation. I am a judge in U.P. state of India. I hope you display in India too.

Oct. 16 2011 02:13 PM
Jon-Marc Seimon from New York

Ms Rousseau: I was sitting IN the exhibit hall, surrounded by the photographs at the time I wrote the above! Furthermore - wondering if I was merely feeling dyspeptic, I then encouraged my wife to go and wander around the hall - and I didn't give her any indication of my own feelings about it. It took her about thirty seconds to look at me with a "huh - why am I looking at these crummy pictures" kind of expression. She, by the way, is a successful (and acclaimed) painter.

The cumulative effect produced is sort of a hallmarkish numbness. And I stand emphatically by what I said above - the photographs themselves are totally banal. Look at any National Geographic, for crying out loud - there is NO comparison. This is really basic nature photography, badly focused, badly exposed, badly everything (well, okay, it's a nice showcase for Duggal's printing). Sorry. As for the suggestion that I don't have the "eye": I've spent the past forty years loving and appreciating photography of all sorts, both as a practioner and a critical viewer, and I love great nature photography. This show doesn't even come close.

But I'm glad you liked the show, and it appears that many others in the hall did too. I'm happy for you and for them. And we do agree on one thing: it IS the most beautiful terminal in the world.

Oct. 15 2011 07:59 AM
Jackie Rousseau from New York

With all due respect Mr. Seimon, you either were not present to see Ahae's photo exhibition with your own eyes or you simply do not have the eye to see the extraordinary images captured by the artist. His photos are simply breathtaking and they move me by showing what happens in true nature. I recommend all to go see this exhibition in the most beautiful terminal in the world!

Oct. 15 2011 01:22 AM
Jon-Marc Seimon from Grand Central Station

A million exposures. And THIS is what emerged? Sorry, but despite the lavish production, the pictures are pretty banal. I'm happy that someone sees fit to do a show like this in this incredible space, but it's sad to see the opportunity squandered on such mediocrity. As for the "organic nature preserve" and the neutral soap...please!

Oct. 14 2011 06:07 PM

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