Nude Photos Reignite Shin Jeong-ah Drama

    September 14, 2007 10:42

    A major Korean newspaper published two photos of a naked woman alleged to be former Dongguk University assistant professor Shin Jeong-ah on Thursday. The photos are said to have been found in the house of an influential cultural figure./Newsis
    A Korean newspaper has sparked controversy by publishing two photos of a nude woman said to be disgraced former art curator Shin Jeong-ah on Thursday. The photos show the front and back of a naked, smiling woman standing in front of a bookcase.

    The newspaper reported that several nude photos of Shin were found in the house of an influential "cultural figure". The woman's torso has been obscured in the photos by a black square. Some people claim the photos are not really of Shin, but are composites.

    Art experts who viewed the published photos said they were apparently taken by a veteran photographer identified as "H." Given the photographic style and the pose of the model, H is certainly the photographer of the photos, the head of an art gallery said.

    But another art expert claimed the photos are composites. The expert said Shin had told him that H placed photos of Shin's face on photos of another woman's nude body for an exhibition, but she was angered by the project and made the photographer scrap it.

    A photographer agreed that the photos are composites, given that the outline of the hair is unclear and the feet are not set on the floor in a natural way. A relative of Shin said that H often made these kinds of composite photos for fun.

    H was close to Shin, according to art circle figures. The photographer had a solo exhibition at the Kumho Museum while Shin was the curator there in 1998. In 2005, H participated in a group exhibition at the Sungkok Art Museum while Shin was chief curator. The photographer lives in the U.S.

    An art circle insider said the photos were not revealed by the photographer but were handed over to the newspaper by his acquaintance. People familiar with Shin said that the woman in the pictures is Shin three or four years ago.

    But a former coworker of Shin's at Sungkok raised doubts about the authenticity of the pictures, pointing out that there are no scars on the arm of the woman in the photos. She said she saw noticeable scars on Shin's arm when she wore half-sleeved clothes in summer, as the curator allegedly survived the 1995 Sampoong Department Store collapse, which claimed 501 lives and injured 937.

    Women's rights groups are up in arms about the publication of the pictures, calling it a violation of human rights. In a statement, six women's rights organizations including the Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center urged the newspaper to publicly apologize for the photos. They said the case is a clear failure to respect Shin's rights and called on the reporter and editors involved to resign and the newspaper to shut down.

    Lee Mi-kyung, head of the Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center, said she was angered by the newspaper's actions and that the paper should re-examine its reporting policies.

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