Seoul

In 2007, some Korean friends invited me to Korea to open the İstanbul-Panorama exhibition in Seoul. I had been to Korea once before in 1988, but had only stayed for two days.

My recollections were vague. But this time I initially stayed in Seoul for two months and I was very inspired by the exuberance of the city, the vibrant crowds on the streets, Korean cuisine and the affection of Koreans who got drunk with barely two drinks and became most amiable friends.

Whether it was sunny or slightly rainy Korean women (accumas!) carried colorful umbrellas. Their clothes were of amazing colors and patterns. It was as if color burst out of every corner. So for the first time in ten years, I put a colored film in my camera and began to photograph this rich jungle color and motives that I had barely noticed before.

The initial results evoked an excitement I had not felt before. I felt that I could embark on a brand new visual game with the dynamic texture of the city and the colorful motifs. The people, flowers, patterns had begun to flirt with one another through a joke I had not noticed before. We made a series of small prints from the first shots. My friends sent these prints to a publishing house, and when the publisher stated that if I continued my work they could publish theses as a book, I didn’t have much choice. The trip originally planned for two months lasted seven months in total in three trips and I shot hundreds of rolls of colored film. Furthermore, one hundred colored photographs accompanied by a hundred page long text I wrote on my impressions was published by Imago Publishing House in Korea with the title ‘’Arif inSeoul: The memoirs of a rose thief). The first comment form my friends in Korea was “Wow, we have never looked at Seoul this way!” Honestly, I hadn’t expected such a gaze from myself either. Seoul taught me once again how I should be open to change and new visual experiences. I am grateful to the Accumas!!!


These photos shot by 6x12cm semi-panoramic camera on color negative film and scanned. Certificated and signed archival prints are available as limited edition (limited by 6). Print size 100x150cm maximum, but can be variable upon request. Contact the photographer for price.