K Food

Photographing the traditional markets of South Korea has become one of my long-term personal projects. The narrow streets, the smoke and shadow and light, the faces and hands of the shop owners…all of these elements make the markets a kind of photographic treasure trove, and a challenge that keeps me coming back for more.


Gwangjang Market, Seoul. © Ben Weller /www.wellerpix.com/ All rights reserved

Last year, Octopus Publishing in the UK contacted me about a book project. The authors, Da-hae and Gareth West, run Busan BBQ, a food truck at London’s Street Feast. They had seen my market work, and they were interested in having me shoot photographs for their cookbook of Korean street food and homestyle cooking. The assignment was to spend a day in Seoul with Da-hae and Gareth as they ate and shopped their way through the city’s traditional markets and famous street food areas. I jumped at the opportunity.

I had a fantastic time seeing the Korean food scene through these chefs’ eyes, and of course, eating some great food. Now, a year later, I’ve received my advance copy of the book and I am ready to start cooking. From sauces and soups to bulgogi burgers and pajeon, this book has a ton of great recipes. If you love Korean food like I do, it’s a great way to learn to cook your favorite dishes like beokumbap (fried rice) and doenjang jjigae (soybean stew). But Da-hae and Gareth are super creative, too, so don’t expect just your standard fare. There’s Mango Kimchi and Korean Chilli Crab, Ramyun Chicken Buns and Gochujang Meatloaf. There’s also a drinking section, including a Kimchi Bloody Mary and something they call a “Grown-up Yakult”, featuring the ubiquitous sweet yogurt and soju (plus some other ingredients–but you’ll have to buy the book to find out). K Food comes out May 5, and you can pre-order your copy at Amazon.

View the gallery below for more pictures from my day with Da-hae and Gareth:

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Ben Weller is a photographer in Nagoya, Japan. All images by Ben Weller /www.wellerpix.com © 2016

Photographer in Japan Pictures of the YEar

Pictures of the Year

As I like to do around the holidays, I’ve put together a gallery of selected work from the year–images that, for one reason or another, I find particularly moving or important. This year, I covered the MERS outbreak and political and labor unrest in Korea. I photographed for new and longtime editorial and commercial clients on some really interesting assignments, including travel stories for The Wall Street Journal and The South China Morning Post, major energy projects in Ulsan and Geoje, and logistics and shipping operations in both Korea and Japan. I also shot my sister’s wedding (congrats Marie and Nassim!) and a Korean cookbook that will be published next year. In between, I traveled and explored my new home here in Japan. It was a lot of fun for me and Aya (who is a very tough editor) to go back through my work and select these images. We hope you’ll enjoy this visual journey as much as we did. Click the grid below to go to the slideshow.

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