KOREA, THE PEOPLE AND THE SIGHTS A SLIDE COLLECTION BY STUART JAMISON
The slides in this portfolio were taken in the spring and summer of 1966. This was my first experience as a photographer, and I used a cheap little 35mm Petri II (Japanese), which turned out to be a pretty good camera. My film choice was Ektachrome ASA 200: in those days, if you wanted to shoot Kodachrome, you had to send it to the States for processing; if you wanted to see your pics in your lifetime, you shot Ektachrome and sent it to Seoul. You learned to live with the emphasized blues and greens.
I gained an appreciation for Korean scenery, weather and culture during my tour. First, the countryside can be downright beautiful; the weather wasn't nearly as extreme as I had anticipated (the 38th parallel runs through Richmond, Virginia, as well as Kaesong); but, I mainly came to realize there was a great deal more to our hosts than what one experienced in near proximity to the American camps.
Koreans invented the water clock before Galileo, moveable print before Gutenberg, ironclad warships before the Americans, and the first phonetic alphabet in the Orient centuries ahead of the Japanese. They are a sturdy, creative, industrious lot, proud of their heritage and history. In my days there (Seoul was a city of a mere 3.5 million), the ancient and modern coexisted comfortably. Yang ban walked the sidewalks with western-clad business men; mule carts vied with modern cars for parking spaces; 14th century buildings blended in easily with modern sky scrapers. In the countryside (and Korea was still a predominantly agrarian society in '66) women in traditional dress - the beautiful heavy silk brocade - gathered 'round the village well to gossip and do laundry.
It was this blend of old and new, the colors of the fields and villages, and the cheerful hardiness of the people, that I attempted to capture on film so long ago. These images have been locked in their slide trays for well over 30 years now - nobody makes my brand of projector any more - so I'm viewing them as if for the first time myself. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.
December 10, 2002