Korea - Korea.
A Photo Project by Dieter Leistner.
Edited by Klaus Klemp, Hehn-Chu Ahn, Matthias Wagner K.
Gestalten, 2013. 120 pp., color illustrations throughout, 9x11".
Until 1989, both Germans and Koreans suffered the same fate of living in a divided land. The historical reasons for the separation of Germany into East and West and Korea into North and South are very different and therefore difficult to compare. Still, the many similarities of Korea's division-the segregation of its citizens, the tearing apart of families, the suffering of those who attempted to escape-make it almost impossible for Germans to visit Korea without thinking of their country's own experiences.
In 2006, the German architecture photographer Dieter Leistner had both the opportunity and official permission to photograph public spaces in Pyongyang, North Korea. In 2012, Leistner visited Seoul, South Korea, where he sought and found similar locations with a very different feel. Korea-Korea is a collection of his images whose 'visual concordance' speaks for itself.
In addition to its striking selection of images, Korea-Korea contains excerpts from two diaries. The first is by Philipp Sturm, who grew up in East Germany and accompanied Dieter Leistner to Pyongyang in 2006. The second is by Hehn-Chu Ahn, who was born in Germany to Korean parents and has regularly visited Seoul since her childhood. Their writing gives readers two distinctly German interpretations of this foreign land.