During my first week in Seoul, I went on a photography tour with Minsik, a local. Before the tour, my image of Seoul was one dimensional, and all I could think of were its high-tech buildings and prominent beauty culture. First, we walked through Bukchon Hanok (a traditional Korean house) Village, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Seoul, where I was taken aback by banners and posters telling all visitors to keep their voice down. It made me think about the culture that is brought in by foreigners living in the city and how it impacts the relationship the locals have with the traditions to which they have held on growing up. We then walked through Insadong, another neighbourhood, into an old park which used to be a Buddhist temple. We went from one stark image of Seoul to another, and I realized that aside from its vibrant colours, what truly intrigued me was the city’s contrasts of modernity and antiquity which seem to co-exist here. See how these dynamics play out in my photo essay below.

Inside a Hanok – a traditional Korean house – of a local artist who had recently passed away. They told me that they had opened doors to the public to share his paintings and calligraphy.

On top of Bukchon Hanok village.

A street leading up to the village.

Lina’s sandwich, Insadong, Seoul

Statue of a Korean independence activist at Tagpol Park, Jongno

The central square of Tagpol park
10-tier 12m high marble pagoda (a Buddhist temple or sacred building) encased in a glass case in Tagpol Park. It is the remains from a Buddhist temple destroyed in 1504 inside Tagpol Park

Inside Unhyeongung palace, Korean royal residence from the Joseon dynasty.