Korean Demilitarized Zone 2022 Series
This series made up of four pictures relates my visit to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in August 2022. This zone represents the divide of the Korean Peninsula, the separation of families, the war that raged from 1950 to 1953 between both Koreas, the millions of deaths, but it also represents armistice, hopes of reunification, and longing for peace.
To create this series, I selected pictures that I took during my visit at the Korean Demilitarized Zone and that spoke to me weeks after the fact. I realized the power they held only after discussing about the visit with my entourage – and that’s when I knew that I had to give voice to these pictures.
The pictures in this series are treated as documentary material. They were not planned, were not reframed. They were taken on the moment, hastily sometimes, in non-ideal conditions. I want to shed some light on the visit of the Korean Demilitarized Zone as a non-Korean individual, with a critical eye. In this series, I do not take a side for one country or the other. Rather, I want to show the various ways we can understand the DMZ and the propaganda surrounding it.
North Korea is a mystery. It is known to be extremely secretive, and we rarely see pictures of that country. I had no idea what I would see when going to the observatory. Perhaps many propaganda banners, a grey, dusty, depressive country. I do not know specifically what I expected, but certainly not a beautiful view of mountains, thousands of trees, and the sun shining. I was surprised by the beauty of the scenery in front of my eyes. Immediately after that, I started to blame myself for finding this view beautiful. After all, I was looking at North Korea. I could not forget the nuclear, military, political menace the country represents to South Korea and to many other countries in the world.
In this picture, I want to show the duality of the view that was presented to me through a nuance of softer pink shades and of bolder green and red. Like marching soldiers or like nuclear blasts, the clouds are taking over the soft romantic beauty of the scenery; the landscape cannot be admired without being met with tragedy and menace.