While living in Korea I truly got to experience what it is to feel and be perceived as foreign. I remember feeling awkward about the fact that us foreigners were often referred to as alien. We were certainly treated differently to a Korean. I find that it is things like this that separate us. I resisted this concept of foreign for a while until I came to the conclusion that foreign is just another word for different. These things, these variations of how we do things, where we are born, cultures etc are just different.
This photo was taken at a market in the town of Maseok, South Korea. I remember feeling incredibly out of place at the time because I’m not a meat eater so I tend to squirm at meat markets but also because I didn’t understand the language and I certainly didn’t look like I was from the same small town so I stuck out like a sore thumb.
I’m fascinated with the interaction of people in markets. The energy at a market is different to the energy you’d find at a store or a mall. I think that is the same no matter where you go in the world. The markets have a different feeling of their own and it’s one that amazes and intrigues me.
This photo was taken at the DMZ in South Korea. The Demilitarised Zone is the land in between North and South Korea. On the right of the photo are thousands and thousands of prayer ribbons tied to the fence, sending messages of hope, dreams and wishes for unification. Down the center in the far distance you see the DMZ and the hills of North Korea. To the left of the photo is a train that was witness to the war. Idle for 61 years, this South Korean steam powered train was on a supply run to a small town in North Korea. It was shot by US soldiers on its way back into South Korea because the soldiers feared that it was a train that had been taken over by the North Korean army. The train is now part of the story that people can visit on their tour of the DMZ.
Can you imagine how solitary it would feel to be in a city of millions yet ignored by the majority? I find that a great deal of those in need are ignored by the majority. What would it take for people to stop denying and ignoring one another?
Every Wednesday from 11am to 1pm outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul Korea, come rain or shine, the Halmoni and their supporters peacefully protest for the Japanese government to acknowledge their wrongdoings in organising “Comfort Stations” throughout Asia during the Second World War.
I ask that you take a few moments to sign this petition, these are women I care deeply about and I fully support them fighting for justice.
We call upon members of the UN General Assembly to address the issue of wartime sex slaves as a special agenda for the 67th session in 2012 and to pass a resolution on this issue at the session. Over 200,000 women were taken to rape brothels, and not many survivors remain alive today. Now is the time to demand justice for the survivors.
I must admit it is the colour of this photo that I’m drawn to first, then the image. The film I used here was E6 which is slide film, it was cross-processed and came out like this. It was taken at Incheon Airport, not too far from Seoul as both he and I waited for our connecting flights.
Homelessness, along with mental illness and many other taboo issues are not found very often in South Korea. After spending a year experiencing the culture and learning about the history I can understand why Korea has a tendency to pretend like issues such as this don’t exist. Unfortunately, until taboo issues are acknowledged, they can not even begin to be resolved, leaving those who need help the most, helpless.