Back To Top

Kim Nyung-man looks back on his early days in the ’70s

Kim Nyung-man, a 70-year-old professional photographer, is holding a solo exhibition that looks back on the early days of his 50-year career.

Born in 1949 in Gochang, North Jeolla Province, Kim started his career as a photojournalist in 1978 at the Dong-a Ilbo, a local newspaper. Working as a photojournalist for 33 years, he covered the Blue House, the truce village of Panmunjom and the 1980 Gwangju Democratization Movement.

The exhibition, which opened Monday, includes 36 of his early works from the 1970s that offer a glimpse of how the rural areas of South Korea used to be. A photo of a woman carrying a bag on her head while holding a chicken depicts a scene common in those days. 

A photo taken in Gochang, North Jeolla Province (Kim Nyung-man)
A photo taken in Gochang, North Jeolla Province (Kim Nyung-man)

“Gochang, a very rural area, is where my identity came from,” Kim told The Korea Herald on the phone. “I wanted to remind myself of the beginning of my career and the passion I used to have as a young photographer … I feel affection for each piece of them.”

Kim was the publisher of the Monthly PhotoArt Magazine from 2011 to 2014 and now works as a freelancer.

While covering the truce village of Panmunjom for a decade at the Dong-a Ilbo, he learned that relations between the two Koreas are like a rugby ball and people never know which way they will go.

“I believe the two countries will unite someday. And, for the rest of my life, I want to take many photos of villages close to the border area, where many people still have wounds from the division, so that the future generation learns that such a thing should not happen again,” he said.

The exhibition runs until Nov. 19 at SPACE22 in Gangnam.

By Park Yuna (