Hongdae reminds me of all my unrealized dreams – practical or impractical, then or now.I don’t remember when the dreams of my youth started to fade away.
Or should I put it this way: I don’t even remember what those dreams were.
Life, work, a million little things have made them unreachable.
In Hongdae, an area of Seoul near Hongik University, it isn’t just the young people who pursue their dreams; everyone does.
In Hongdae, you can play guitar and sing, or you can organize a hip-hop team and hope a scout sees your talent.
You can try selling the photos you shot during your travels to make some money for your next trip.
Some people sell their own crafts or artwork at sidewalk stands.
Here, everyone has a purpose; everyone has a dream to pursue.
This traveler is selling travel photos to fund her next trip.
She uses an inkjet printer to print out the photos, so her overhead is low, and she lets buyers name their own price.
I forgot where she’s planning on stopping next.
I only know that she gave up everything to live the life of a world traveler.
She even earns the money she needs to fund her travels by traveling.
I love the idea of what she was doing, but I could never manage it myself.
I bought one of her pictures, partly to support her,
partly because I wished I had her courage.
How much courage and perseverance does one need to become a street performer,
especially when you are performing all by yourself – yes, just you,
alone – because everyone is listening to the performer next to you?
Yet, you still have to stay focused and keep on singing.
It cannot be easy when that thunderous applause you hear is all for the other guy,
and the only thing you can do is grit your teeth and continue performing, alone.
There was a guy in a cap performing by himself like this.
He was playing guitar and singing his own songs, putting everything he had into it.
Unfortunately, I was the only one listening.
It’s not that he didn’t play well, but the performer next to him was really outstanding.
This was reality, and it was a bit disturbing.
He gave me an awkward smile.
I raised my camera to take a photo, and he nodded at me happily.
I don’t think I would have even a tenth of his perseverance.
In addition to the many street performers in Hongdae,
there are also a small number of stalls doing a more low-key business.
You can find people selling photos to raise funds for traveling, street artists, and fortunetellers,
even people expounding different political views.
Would I have the courage to do what these people did if I were given a chance to go back in time?
Not necessarily to be a street performer, but the courage to follow my dreams that the young people in Hongdae have?
I think, given my personality, perhaps I never really thought about pursuing my dreams,
or at least not about starting out in this way.
Hongdae is a neighborhood in Seoul near Hongik University, after which it is named.
It is known for its abundance of artistic talent.
This is the perfect place for you if you like Korean street performances.
Click here for more information on Hongdae.
Victor Tai | Freedom is a Right
- LocationHongdae, Seoul, South Korea
- CameraCanon EOS 3 / EF 24 – 70mm f2.8L / Kodak Ektar
Mamiya 645 / 80mm / Kodak Tri-X 400
Ricoh GR1v / Kodak Potra 400
- Other Language繁体中文