Right in the heart of the cold and dreary Korean winter of 2013 was when the idea for this project first hit me. I had been living in Seoul for about 2 years by then and was looking for a story to tell. What I found was a story both rich and mysterious, hidden between the more prominent stories of China and Japan. What I didn’t quite realize, though, was that I had set out on an extensive and elaborate endeavor.
Inhabited by 50 million, South Korea is a place that few seem to understand, a place typically misrepresented or neglected completely by Western media. South Korea is home to much more than K-Pop and kimchi. It was this misconception that gave birth to this story of mine.
In a world filled with labels and categorization, it is easy to overlook the numerous connections we share with all human beings in the world. South Koreans are no different. They feel joy and sorrow, love and hate, success and failure. When people think of South Korea, I want them to think of the elated young child and the impoverished old man; I want them to see the majestic landscape and the monotonous milk-carton apartments; I want them to never forget the inspiring open-mindedness and the blind bigotry.
In the end, all that I can hope for is that you see the Korea I saw.
*This project was shot on black and white, 35mm film all across the country from 2012-2014. The photos shown here are a limited sample of the entire project.