By VAUGHAN HANNIGAN | Published: November 7, 2013
In Julia’s most recent body of work, Korea 2013, she poses street cast young women in Hanbok, the traditional Korean clothing, against a backdrop of their austere capital, Seoul. By illustrating their cultural traditions, such as tea ceremonies, gift giving and badminton, against the modern landscape, a tension between old and new is clearly illuminated. It is this tension that inspires much of Julia’s image making as she explores themes of unspoken traditions, gender roles, and family dynamics. These images were shot during monsoon season earlier this year and to capture them, she worked through intermittent storms and flooding. Just under the fold is more from Julia about this shoot.
Click Here to see all the images from this series. Click Here to see more work by Julia.
Hanbok is the centuries old traditional apparel unique to Korea. Generally, Hanbok was simultaneously brilliant, through its brightly coloured fabric, and subdued, through its flowing lines that hide the body’s shape. Hanbok that was worn by peasants was often made from un-dyed plain cloth. Those wearing it were referred to as ‘white-clad people’. It was common for the upper classes to wear jewellery that separated them from the common people.
Nowadays, Hanbok is worn during national holidays and for festive occasions, although I was informed that some high schools have recently adopted it as their school uniforms. In the past, women would wear wigs, but today they wear their hair tightly knotted, high on their head, or loose, both held in place with a long pin.
When Japan was defeated at the end of WWII Korea was split by victorious nations into two separate countries, South Korea and North Korea, along ideological persuasions. On June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, starting a bloody war that lasted more than 3 years and involving more than 20 countries. My image ‘Tug of War’ symbolizes this war and the continuing political struggles between the two nations.
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