I would imagine that most of us photographers have a mental wish-list of places we’d love to visit and photograph. I know I do, and I will freely admit that South Korea was not on that list. However, an invitation from an old friend of my husband’s to visit them in Seoul soon materialised into concrete plans to visit; and we spent the best part of three weeks there in November.
My knowledge of the Korean peninsula was fairly hazy. I understood a bit about the political situation, was aware of the bitter war just after WWII and I knew about Bae Bien-U. I have owned his book, Sacred Wood, for a good few years now. It consists of a series of mesmerising and hauntingly beautiful photographs of Korean pine tree forests. It had also caught the imagination of my husband, Rob, and it was certainly an extra motivating factor in our visit.
The more I researched the landscape of South Korea, the more enticing it looked – so much so, we decided to abandon our original plan of combining it with a week in Japan. At the same time, political tension in the area was rising to unnerving levels and we started to wonder if our trip would have to be abandoned. Thankfully, despite things being a little tempestuous at times, we were able to...