Korea: Then and Now
August 6, 2007 3:14 PM   Subscribe

Came across Neil Mishalov's site (Warning: embedded audio player at top of page playing national anthem or something) while looking for US weapons abandoned in Vietnam and went off on a scenic detour.

The guy (who took the originals) was stationed in Seoksu-dong for a stint in 1968-69. The village is now part of the larger city of Anyang (just south of Seoul) that grew from 50 000 people to a half million in the intervening years. I don't know the area but was struck by the change ... as one usually is.

While the photography isn't spectacular, the historical record is pretty neat.

Another section I liked was the helicopter mission with aerial views of Anyang (beautiful location).

The Bob Hope Show was also a surprising find.

He apparently is still taking pictures and likes bicycle tours. Most of the trips seem to involve flowers but one I found compelling was Angel Island State Park

The rest of the new stuff can be easily passed over but the old is ... not unworthy of perusal.
posted by phoque at 3:15 PM on August 6, 2007

Wow, cool find. Seoul forty years ago looks a lot like Bangkok today.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 3:30 PM on August 6, 2007

And the Bob Hope show of course resembles the USO scene from "Apocalypse Now". Probably many of the men in the audience were on their way to Vietnam. (Along with many Korean soldiers, too.)
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 3:33 PM on August 6, 2007

The Anyang: Then and Now photos are terrific. It's amazing how fast South Korea has developed under a couple of centuries. Makes me more optimistic about the state of other countries.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:35 PM on August 6, 2007

for this old guy, the "Then" would be my "now." Got there in 1950 and things were much bleaker then, for sure.
posted by Postroad at 3:59 PM on August 6, 2007

"Probably many of the men in the audience were on their way to Vietnam."

Not really, I was there in the early 70's, we didn't often get guys going to 'Nam, and the guys being shipped back went directly to the states.

Thanks for the link, I recognize a lot of the early pictures.

Ironically I had a conversation with a young woman (Yale MFA student) last week who came by to do some portraits of my wife for a project about families who have members fighting in Iraq, she was from Seoul and we compared notes in a "then and now" way, this link was a wonderful desert to that conversation.

I would love to go back, one of the best years of my life was spent there, wonderful people, beautiful places.

And, postroad... there are probably as many changes between your 50's Seoul and my 70's Seoul.... It was a bleak time in the 50's, no doubt about it...
posted by HuronBob at 4:14 PM on August 6, 2007

Great set of photos. I'm consistently amazed every day here in Korea how pretty much every high-rise I see here wasn't here 50 years ago. The Anyang series really depects the tumultuous, and fortunately, mostly positive changes here in the last half-century.

The telling thing here is the drivers though. Driving is simply insane. You can tell the collective experience of the drivers here is a a much lower rate. Taxi cab drivers pulling u-turns at 80kph across 4 or 5 lanes of traffic--- little children who still think if they put their hand up they can run across the road and won't get hit, no matter the speed of the oncoming traffic, and last but not least, the 3-legged mules--- Vehicles with the front half of a motorcycle and the back half of an ox-cart. They have extremely poor visibility out the sides, and they're always puttering at about half the speed of the surorunding traffic. It's simply insanity most of the time.
posted by SeanMac at 5:32 PM on August 6, 2007

posted by jonson at 6:18 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Richard Koehler over at the Marmot's Hole likes to blog about Korean (colonial) architecture. It's also pretty much one of the most informed blogs on Korea, and pretty much one of the best blogs, period.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:52 PM on August 6, 2007

Nice find. Enjoyed it, thanks. I love seeing photographs of how places change.
posted by nickyskye at 11:06 PM on August 6, 2007

The Busan Tower has lots of neat pictures of what the town looked like in the early half of last century above each window, which allows you to get both a modern view and a vintage perspective from the same angle. My Pawpaw fought near Busan, and all his photos show are a bunch of dry shrubs, dusty hills and fields and no buildings whatsoever. How things change.
posted by Brittanie at 11:07 PM on August 6, 2007

I know South Korea is one of the richest nations now, but where did it rank in the 60s and 70s?
posted by b_thinky at 12:55 PM on August 7, 2007

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