Click to preview KOREA photo book

I lived in Seoul, Korea for thirty-four years starting in August of 1963. In 1981 I published FAR-REACHING FRAGRANCE - Photographs of Korea. 'Fragrance' was a collection of traditional images still visible in modern Korea.

In 'Korea' I have put emphasis on traditional architecture, the color and pattern of markets, tanchong painting on Buddhist temples, flowers and foliage, traditional walls and lastly portraits of Koreans of all ages. 

These images, for the most part, were shot from 1981 to 1997 when Arline and I retired from Seoul American High School on Yongsan, 8th Army in Seoul. During our time there saw Seoul grow from a war torn city of 2,500,000 to 13,000,000 plus. Korea had been the fastest growing economy in the world for most of our years there. I, too, was working fast to capture on film sights and scenes that could possibly disappear forever.


About the Author

Michael F. O'Brien
onggi Waikoloa, Hawaii, U.S. A.

Michael F. O'Brien lived and worked in Seoul, Korea from August of 1963 to June of 1997. He grew up on a dairy farm in the beautiful wooded hills of northeast Iowa. At age twenty-four he left the corn fields of Iowa for the rice paddies of Korea. Those rice paddies fascinated and excited him with their ever-changing patterns and through them he learned, also, to love the Iowa corn fields he had left behind. He is a retired art and photography teacher from Seoul American High School in Yongsan, 8th U.S. Army, in Seoul, Korea.

Mr. O'Brien's credits include Far-Reaching Fragrance - Photographs of Korea, a collection in coffee table book form of photographic insights into traditional Korea. He has also co-authored a high school photography text, The Photographic Eye - Learning To See With A Camera.

1984 - John F. Kennedy Center Fellow for Teachers of the Arts.

Comments (1) Write a comment


colemama says

Though many of the photographs are much more contemporary than the way I remember it (1969-1971), they are certainly representative of the country and culture! I wish I'd taken photography with you at SAHS - not sure how I missed that! ;) Also wish I'd seen this before visiting the Big Island in April - would have been fun to connect! Marie Coleman

posted at 07:50am Oct 04 PST

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