Born in Korea, Namkung emigrated to the United States in 1947. Although he was a trained musician, he turned to photography in 1956 and enrolled in a workshop in california with Ansel Adams. Back in the Northwest, he had exhibitions at the Henry Gallery and the Seattle Art Museum and he became a close friend of Horiuchi and Tsutakawa as well as Tobey, Callahan and Anderson.
"My photography is very strongly based on music. I think photography is the reflection of things which already exist in their own right, but they need an artist so that they may be fully seen and understood by man.
These worldly things may be in physical form, as the setting moon, or in the form of sound, as ocean breakers pounding on the shore and rain tinkling down on the gravel.
In my work I would like to impart that impression of sound, music, emotion or philosophy, whatever you will, of that moment when you are on the top of the mountain standing all by yourself with your camera, that moment's loneliness and exultation.
I would like to impart not just visual sensations but the third dimension of the visual world."
"Acclaimed Northwest artist Johsel Namkung died Monday, July 22, 2013. He was known for his large-scale, deeply textured photos of the artistic patterns found in nature.", By Michael Upchurch in the Seattle Times.
"Johsel Namkung: Finding Beauting in the Mundane (1919 - 2013)", by Ronald Holden in Crosscut.com
"Photo-Op: Elements of Style", A Photographic Review of Johsel Namkung's "A Retrospective" in the Wall Street Journal
"A New Book from Seattle's Answere to Ansel Adams", A review on Crosscut by Ronald Holden
"New Book Surveys Career of Seattle Photographer Johsel Namkung", A review in the Seattle Times by Michael Upchurch
"Local Photographer Upstages Ansel Adams at SLU Gallery", A review of "Masters Behind the Lens: the Works of Ansel Adams and Johsel Namkung" by Ronald Holden
Featured in the Seattle Times: "Tiny Art Show: Johsel Namkung"
"Johsel Namkung: Photographer of Landscape as Music", An essay from History Link
"Adams, Namkung: Naature at Woodside Braseth Gallery, Seattle Times Article by Michael Upchurch
"Oral History Interview with Johsel Namkung", Interview with Johsel Namkung conducted by Alan Chong Lau in Seattle, WA, October 5th, `989