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.
While on the tour bus, we drove past barbed wires along the Imjin river (임진강). When I was taking pictures of the fence, a vacant guard post popped up in front of me. The tour guide then proceeded to explain to us that some people tried crossing the river to flee the North, some succeeding and some failing, either by drowning or being shot at by Northern or Southern guards.
While playing around with the picture, I decided to try to make the guard post disappear within the pixels, but it was impossible. This piqued my interest and interpreted this as the fact that it is impossible to hide the spatial militarization and the violent past of conflicts. Imjin river will never simply be a river. It will always carry the weight of war and of lost lives, no matter the future relations of both Koreas.