Hanna Moon’s Unvarnished Portrayal of Life in South Korea
For her newest photograph ebook, Hanna Moon travelled to Seoul and Daejon – her hometown – to seize household and buddies. The result’s a welcome break from the mainstream, sanitised picture of Korean-ness
Flash-lit pictures round a desk at Korean barbeque; celebrity-fronted advertisements for soju and beer plastered on a bus; glassy high-rises foregrounded by a conventional Korean pagoda. These scenes by Korea-born, London-based trend photographer Hanna Moon will really feel acquainted even to those that’ve by no means been to South Korea, due to the nation’s ever-growing cultural footprint.
However in Moon’s new photograph ebook, Nearly One thing, the general temper is extra intimate – and avoid wasting cinematic pictures of casted expertise, refreshingly much less glamorous: Korea serves as a fascinating backdrop, however the photographer’s family and friends are its candid stars. There’s her mom having fun with a slice of watermelon; full of life scenes at a sleepover; numerous generations of family and friends, mid-selfie or ringing in Seollal (Korean New 12 months) by paying respects to household elders.
And naturally, there’s the mandatory inclusion of meals, in all phases of preparation and ingestion: girls with plastic-gloved arms rubbing crimson paste into cabbage for kimchi; a chook’s-eye shot of a desk crowded with banchan, or small facet dishes; women crowded round an order of late-night fried hen; two pigs heads floating in a plastic tub.
“Residing [in London] and going again to Korea, I noticed all these belongings you don’t discover at first. I documented them as a result of I discovered them hilarious, or as a result of I used to be out with buddies and having enjoyable. I didn’t suppose that a lot,” says Moon, who returned to the nation after the ebook was commissioned. However she didn’t search out “something clearly Seoul, like structure or panorama photos, as a result of I wasn’t making a journey ebook.”
Curated from an archive of hundreds of images, the snaps had been collected over the previous decade, throughout which Moon lived in, then was a customer in Seoul and Daejeon, the nation’s fifth-largest metropolis the place she was born and raised. With a format mimicking home windows on a desktop laptop, the pages are tinted with voyeurism, their acquainted digital frames contrasting with nostalgic scenes. “I’m drawn to the normal facet of issues, reasonably than the brand new,” provides Moon, who shot the majority of the ebook within the older northern districts in Seoul.
Named Nearly One thing as a result of it was initially commissioned by a luxurious trend model, the mission’s unvarnished exploration of life in South Korea is a welcome break from the sanitised Korean-ness born of the nation’s comfortable energy machine. “Whereas [her work] is important in its uncontrived Korean-ness, it doesn’t overly determine with being Korean, or with any of the wretched and limiting ‘buzzwords’ which are used to explain it,” good friend and author Moffy Gathorne Hardy notes within the essay punctuating Moon’s photographs. “It recognises id as perpetually beneath building, that each folks and issues are consistently turning into.”
Moon is aware of the “obsession” many have with solely exhibiting South Korea’s extra manicured facet. “We’re simply so afraid of exhibiting the weak facet of it, and we must be proud. We simply wish to be seen, and to be seen as nice. However we don’t should strive so onerous.”
Although Moon may actually proceed with a whole collection on Seoul from her archives alone, the photographer has a lot within the works. Alongside her personal images, which now spans editorials in British Vogue, campaigns for Gucci and an album cowl for Harry Kinds (Harry’s Home), Moon is placing collectively the upcoming situation of her self-published print title A Good Journal. She’s additionally finding out a masters in movie at London’s Goldsmiths College, and is plotting a mission across the Korean church. But it surely’ll be onerous for her to withstand capturing images to accompany it. “Learning movie solely made me realise how a lot I’m into images,” she laughs.
Nearly One thing by Hanna Moon is printed by Patrick Remy Studio and launches on December 2 at New Malden Methodist Church in London.