New Zealander Building Mountain Bridges

first_img News News RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR [imText1]The shared history of North and South Korea reflected in the mountains of the peninsula went on display on Friday in a new exhibition of photography by New Zealander Roger Shepherd.The exhibition, hosted at Gyeongbokgung Station on Seoul Subway Line 3, is being sponsored by the Korea Forest Service.Talking to Daily NK about his work following a well-attended opening ceremony on Friday afternoon, Shepherd said that it was hiking and writing about the South Korean end of the Baekdu Daegan, the mountain line that traverses the entire Korean Peninsula from Mt. Baekdu in the north to Mt. Jiri in the south, which led him to appreciate the importance of mountains to Korea and the Korean people.“Mountains are great places to be, and Korean ones are beautiful ones steeped in wonderful folk history,” he commented. “So, recently I decided to make another book, a photo essay book on the Baekdu Daegan of Korea. I needed to go to North Korea to take photos of the Baekdu Daegan there.”[imText2]Shepherd believes that the degree of trust he and the New Zealand-Korea Friendship Society were able to build up with the North Korean authorities was important in making the trip possible. Pleasingly, he says he was not hindered in any way during his time travelling in the North; indeed, he was very well received.“My mission was purely cultural. I flew to North Korea, where we jumped into our 4WD hire vehicle and drove to our mountains. In the end we covered 2,300km of mountain roads,” he said. “There was always a very relaxed feeling between (Shepherd, the driver and two members of the Friendship Society) because we were all driven by our cause to get to the mountains and take the best possible photos I could for a project that they believed was good for Korea.”“When the locals met me they were always happy to know that I was in North Korea to research their mountains of the Baekdu Daegan, which they found awesome,” he added.Shepherd acknowledges that he was careful, of course. “Personally, I was always careful that I didn’t act suspiciously around sensitive places like checkpoints and villages, as I didn’t want to get us into any trouble. I owed it to the guys that I travelled with to do what I said I was going to do and only take photos of the mountains,” he said.[imText3]Shpeherd says the exhibition, which runs at Gyeongbokgung Station until Wednesday 22nd February before moving to the Pataka Museum of Art and Culture in Wellington, New Zealand and then returning to Gwanghwamun in May, has been very well received so far by the people of Seoul.Thinking back on the opening of the exhibition on Friday, Shepherd said he feels both satisfaction and hope, explaining, “I was pleased to see so many Korean people taking an interest in an area they are all aware of, but maybe don’t spend too much time to think about. It would be nice to think that I might be giving South Koreans a peaceful insight in North Korea through mountains.” SHARE Facebook Twitter AvatarChris Green Newscenter_img There are signs that North Korea is running into serious difficulties with its corn harvest News By Chris Green – 2012.02.20 10:45am New Zealander Building Mountain Bridges Entire border patrol unit in North Hamgyong Province placed into quarantine following “paratyphoid” outbreak North Korea tries to accelerate building of walls and fences along border with Chinalast_img read more