dinsdag 4 augustus 2009

Streets of the World Seoul Jeroen Swolfs Photography

Dutch Photographer Hits Korea for World Cities Book
By Malia Douglas Contributing Writer

A book centered on highlighting the increasingly globalized nature of the world through photographs of the main streets of the planet's capital cities saw Seoul ticked off the list over the weekend.The man behind the endeavor, Dutch photographer Jeroen Swolfs, 34, made a whirlwind four-day visit toward the end of last week, before checking out Sunday. Like many travelers passing through, his stay was short ― but his was a thoroughly involved affair. His remit was to determine which among Seoul's myriad of bustling streets best represented the city, and ultimately deserved the title of the city's ``main street.''It is hoped that the book, to be called ``Streets of the World,''' will feature every one of the world's capital cities.Swolfs said the world is now a freer and more transparent place, and many of its problems such as terrorism and climate change are not regional but shared.``The project will be a book about the streets of the world,'' he explained. ``I'll go to every capital of every country and photograph the main street. ``Using the photographs, I seek to capture the essence of each country. It will provide a kind of snapshot of the level of development across the world.''The idea for this project came nearly 10 years ago from Swolf's keen interest in cities and the stories that they can show. The book will be a combination of photography and photojournalism, allowing him to portray how each place appears and relates the important issues taking place in each country. From his base in Bangkok, Swolfs will be sponsored by a private investor to travel the world for five years. ``Kosovo, East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq, I'll be going to those countries, too. If it's officially a country, it's going to be covered by this book,'' he said. Swolfs will also include Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, the island nation claimed by China as its sovereign territory, as well as Tibet, as both can be viewed as culturally distinct entities. He admitted that a city such as Seoul ― with a metropolitan population of 24.5 million spread across multiple financial and commercial centers ― provides a unique challenge. ``It's challenging when there are so many major streets. In this kind of situation, I'll use my creativity to select a street I think will capture the essence of the city,'' Swolfs explained.His technique begins by meeting locals to ask them what kind of street they would usually go to. In Seoul, Swolfs garnered opinion from a variety of people, both Koreans and foreigners. ``I explained the project [to them] and asked them where they think there's normal life, not touristy stuff going on, a place where you can see a normal kind of day in that city.'' That place turned out to be Jongno. He set up his equipment at the site and spent two full days observing and photographing the street as the day unfolded. Swolfs said he liked the way the street presents Koreans going about their day in a variety of roles. ``Korea got out of the wars in an inspiring way ― I want the photo to show that and to present a positive light... I want to show that the Koreans worked really hard to develop so quickly and I want to bring across that they did a good job.''He believes the project will benefit the world by allowing us to see both an image of every city and to read about some of the political and social issues going on in each of the cities. ``It's about trying to find out where our humanity stands in our time as a human race.''Swolfs flew into Seoul from Tokyo, and will photograph his way across Asia, before traveling around Oceania and crossing Africa and the Middle East. His next stop? He left Korea bound for Taipei, where the process will start all over again.To see pictures to be included in the book, visit www.streetsoftheworld.nl. The content is in Dutch.Staff Reporter Bryan Kay contributed reporting to this article.bk@koreatimes.co.kr

Geen opmerkingen: