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7 shades of Seoul

Written by
Michelle JY Park

With over 63k followers, you may know him as @seoul_stateofmind. His photographs of Seoul are creating a stir amongst fans worldwide   

Scrolling through Ken’s Instagram feed, you catch a glimpse of a cool and detached Seoul. The pictures aren’t exactly black and white, but they have been cleansed of chroma, leaving behind images of a cold, futuristic city. With Seoul as his primary subject, Ken captures iconic cityscape scenes as well as its hidden corners, including Yeouido’s office town, Cheonggyecheon, Beotigogae Station, and the backstreets of Buchon. Even Changdeokgung appears eerily modern through his lens.  

Ken, who sometimes goes by Lee Kwon-nam in Korea, resides in Gwangju, but takes the bus to Seoul every month or so to take pictures. His photographs do not reflect the flashy imagery in tourism ads, but speak to what he sees—an honest representation of the city’s particular charms. His minimalist and almost monochrome images stand out amongst the more typical city scenes you’ll find under #Seoul. 

Ken initially started posting photos online to keep his parents in the loop, but his hobby slowly evolved into a healthy addiction. In March, he hosted Seoul’s second World Wide Instameet to meet up with his followers and fans offline. He now manages a total of four social media accounts including his blog, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. On top of that, he takes photos daily with his Galaxy S4, and pulls out his Canon 5DII to both shoot and write about meaningful places. When this prolific photo-enthusiast is not in Seoul, he is constantly out and shooting, exploring the region around Gwangju. As much as Ken enjoys his double life as a weekend Instagram celebrity, it’s his dream to become a serious photographer in the near future.

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