My images are a selection out of a book project called “A Beautiful Strange Dream” I made during a two years stay while being an Assistant Professor at Keimyung University in Daegu.
As this is how my time in South Korea appeared to me. “Beautiful” - because of the kindness and hospitality I received from the people. “Strange” - because of a very different social structure, hierarchies and different ways of thinking. “Dream” - because I was allowed to experience, see and photograph all of this.
“I realized for the first time in my life that the so called ‘culture shock’ really exists when crossing the borders from Europe to Asia and I understood after a while not to judge, but to see it as a fact and a chance to learn about a different attitude towards life. I often felt alienated – like living in a big ‘bubble’ without knowing what was actually happening around me – and of course I was unable to speak even basic Korean. That was clearly a mistake on my part.
I worked mostly on the streets all over South Korea and tried to focus on situations and moments which showed this different world from my (European) point of view. To help with communication I always had a letter (written in Hangul [Korean]) with me – to explain to people why I am photographing them and to ask for their permission.
I often received help from my students to understand the language and culture, and they were a very important part of my time being in Korea.”