Photography in Korea, The Hermit Kingdom


By Terry Bennett, published 31st May 1998

Terry Bennett provides an introduction to the earliest surviving photographs of Korea. It is, on the face of it, remarkable how late it was before the camera ventured into Korea. If we accept that photography effectively began with Louis Daguerre’s invention in 1839, it was a full 32 years later, in 1871, that the first documented photographs to be taken on Korean soil appeared. Photography was not the only Western influence that Korea managed to avoid for so many years. The ‘Hermit Kingdom’, as it was called, was practically the last country to open its doors to the world and then very much against its will.

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