London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

The Fashion of the Korean Street

If I was in Seoul this weekend I’d be heading off to the show of street photography by Michael Hurt of FeetManSeoul and Scribblings of the Metropolitician:

Fashion of the Korean StreetThe Fashion of the Korean Street
Time: 27 April at 12:00 – 29 April at 21:00
Location: Cafe Bene in Chungmuro (Chungmuro Station, Exit #5)

Opening Reception from 12pm – Cafe Bene closing (around 11?)
Feel free to drop by any time — coming earlier means more people and mingling, coming later means I’ll have more time to sit and chat with you.

Bring your networking and socializing caps, and be ready to leave a nice picture of yourself, too!

There will be a free “Fashion Photo Booth” set up to add to the fun — it’ll be a mini-studio set up for you to pose and look your absolute best. This is the best Guest Book gift you can leave — a picture of you!

Also, copies of the only photo book about Korean fashion and lifestyle — “The Seoul Fashion Report” — will be available. Only about 400 are left in existence — get yourself a copy, or give it as a gift.

Seoul has become an international city where fashion trends from all over the world come together, mix, and find increasingly broader expression. The Korean street has always been a place where old and new, traditional and modern, fast and slow have come colliding together. From old street markets to glass and steel skyscrapers, the hustle and bustle of the Korean street makes Seoul appealing as one of the best places in the world for street photography.

More recently, in just the past several years, as the prevailing winds of fashion trends have come into contact with Korea’s super-connected Internet culture, Korean fashion has gone from the safety of blacks, whites, and grays to a melange of every fashion trend from around the world that combine into one another and find themselves remixed into a particularly Korean flavor.

A new “Korean wave” in fashion is brewing on the Korean street, and all kinds of personalities are finding expression through clothing, a new feeling of openness, and a respect for diversity in a new culture that is a celebration of the new.

This exhibition celebrates the fast, frenetic, and fabulous feel of the Korean street.

Having begun focused photo work in Korea in 2002, Michael Hurt is Korea’s first foreign street photographer and street fashion photographer. By mixing the anthropological approach of taking things “as they are” with an unapologetically voyeuristic and fetishizing gaze, Michael is fascinated by the defining aspects of the Korean urban landscape, whether it be ajussis roasting meet in the street, or a prostitute showing her wares to passersby. Michael’s photographs reflect a stark realism that matches the dynamic, frenetic, and extreme aspects of life in the world’s most quickly, forcefully, and compressedly developed society.

Even in his street fashion photography, Michael works as a photographer – not a fashionista with a camera – to capture unique aspects of Korea’s “clothing culture as colorful display,” whether fleeting, international trend or homegrown, flowery kitsch. In Michael’s photography, mostly shot in wide-angle and often from the hip, one can feel “the hungry eye” of a Walker Evans, the obsessive desire to “see the world through the camera” that defined Garry Winogrand, the feeling of isolation and outsiderness that shaped Robert Frank’s “The Americans,” and the familiarity and love for the Korean street in particular that motivated Korea’s greatest street shooter, Kim Ki Chan, to keep shooting street until the day he died.

Presently, Michael is working on a portrait series of Korean movie actors and is a working fashion photographer. But the streets continue to be Michael’s main stage and runway for the feel and fashion that defines life in Korea.

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