Passing By: street photography in South Korea

Passing By: street photography in South Korea

3 Dec 2017, by Daniel Tan

I spent almost two weeks in Korea as a tourist, trying to capture something deeper than a sightseeing experience. Unfamiliar with the language, land and food, I focussed on the thing most familiar to me; people.

Chip off the old block
An old man rests outside the entrance to Jeju Island’s Cheonjiyeon Waterfall.

Behind the scenes
Inside Jeju’s Traditional Five-day Market, vendors make sesame oil.

Best-dressed vendor
I saw mostly older vendors hawking their goods, so this stall with its younger owner and fashionably dressed dog caught my eye.

Family man
This taxi driver habitually picked up his phone every time he stopped. Then he would close the cover, stick the phone back on the front of the car, and reopen the cover to keep an eye on his family.

Better with age
Customers crowd around a tiny hotteok (sweet pancake) stall at Jeju’s Dongmun Market.

Who will take their place?
Outside Jeju’s Dongmun Market, there’s a public square. No idea what these statues represent, but I thought this scene was intriguing and a little socialist. 

Putting your foot in your mouth
Along Seoul’s Myeong-dong shopping area, vendors work hard to advertise their goods and services.

Anything for the job
It was two degrees above zero and this young man was tasked to showcase the shop’s soap produces. Gruelling!

Skin care, everywhere.
In Myeong-dong, competing stores put up advertisements that seem to throw shade at each other.

Finding space 
A tourist in a hanbok poses for a selfie. Gyeongbokgung Palace is a popular tourist spot so an empty space is always difficult to find!

Modern Amenities
Girls in hanbok, the Korean traditional dress, check their outfits in a convenience store’s mirror.

Shopping break.
The shopping can be relentless in Seoul!

The Seoul skyline at dusk

The haggle.
A vendor trying to sell seafood at Noryangjin fish market.

Who’s left?
Pockets of empty stalls dot the old market in Noryangjin; vendors are still resisting the move to the new market building.

The Frown
A really cold morning in Namdaemum market could explain her expression!

Spot the salesman
Stores in Namdaemum market are often packed to the brim.

Incense wafts through narrow alleys in Namdaemum market.

Personal space
Commuters in Seoul’s Chungmuro station wait for their trains to arrive.

Steady as she goes
An elderly woman plods along the vast walkways of the futuristic Dongdaemum Design Plaza. Seoul, for all its future-centric savvy, is still very much a city full of people going about the business of everyday life.