Seoul Sub→urban began with a simple question that we often found ourselves thinking as we lived in Seoul, South Korea and rode the subway from the neighborhoods where we lived to one of the half dozen areas we would regularly visit for work, shopping, or nightlife: ‘What if I just got off here? What’s up there?’ The Seoul subway system carries over 3.5 billion passengers annually, runs over hundreds of kilometers of track, and has nearly 500 stations. But how many of those stops does the average person ever use, whether they’re an expat or a lifelong Seoulite? How many of the surrounding neighborhoods do they ever see? We use the station near our home, the one near work, and a few others near where we regularly go out, shop, or eat, but what if we just picked a random station and went there? What would we find?
From November of 2009 to September of 2012, I visited nearly 100 different subway stops and photographed the surrounding areas. Some stations and surrounding neighborhoods were larger and included major tourist attractions, local attractions, famous eateries, and historical sites while others were smaller and included quiet, residential neighborhoods.