Korea

My father took me to Korea twice. The first time was in October of 1967 when he introduced his American wife and three-year-old son to meet his Korean family. The second time was in 1971 when he and I visited his dying father, who had just had a stroke.

He documented both trips fairly extensively with 35mm slides that he would show to friends and family. Most of those slides survived in surprisingly good shape and were digitized in 2004 and 2014. However, a number of the slides had extensive dust and mold damage and an indeterminate number (perhaps 30-50) were misplaced in a hurried 2005 move following Hurricane Rita.

In 2014 I attempted to create some order to the slides by organizing them by the roll sequence numbers assigned by the film processors. However, since the six rolls from the 1967 trip and the three rolls from the 1971 trip were all processed simultaneously upon return to the States, and because a number of slides are missing, the sequencing in some cases is speculative. Since my father passed away in 2010 and is no longer around to identify many of the locations (especially the rural scenes that are presumably associated with his childhood), a number of these photos are either unidentifiable or misidentified.

Korea underwent massive economic, social and spatial changes during the decades immediately following these trips. So, these photos are presented as a record not only of a family vacation, and the journey of an immigrant who found the American dream, but also as documentation of a country at the dawn of a dramatic transformation.

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