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.
During Chuseok (추석), family members regroup in their ancestral hometowns to pay respect to their ancestors. Many Korean families were separated during the war. Many North or South Korean residents were never able to visit their hometowns, while some families were separated between the two countries. For these reasons, many people travel to Imjingak Park (임진각), where they are the closest to their hometown or to the rest of their family to pay their respects and pray there. Thousands of prayer ribbons are tied to the fence in Imjingak Park, thousands of prayers wishing to be able to go back to their roots, to see their families. The Korean Demilitarized Zone shows traces of violence, but it is also a place of armistice and of renunciation of conflict. It is a place of hope. There is peace within conflict, just like there is conflict within peace.