“Listen to the Voice of the People”

South Korea is a country forged in fire and protest. Its democracy is vibrant and seemingly stable, but every few years the populace rises to remind the rulers that people power matters. The current president, Park Geun-hye, the daughter of South Korea’s former dictator Park Chung-hee, hasn’t taken well to this democratic rite of passage, and last month attempted to brutally put down protests against her conservative and anti-labor policies.

Last weekend, undeterred by Park’s police force, tens of thousands of Koreans turned out to continue their push back against her conservative agenda. Farmers, workers, students, religious leaders, and artists staged demonstrations throughout the city, before converging at Seoul City Hall for a massive demonstration rally and march through the city. They ended their march at the hospital where a farmer, Baek Nam-gi, injured by a police water cannon at similar protests last month, remained unconscious. Click on the gallery below to view images from the December 5 protest.

Ben Weller is a photographer based in Nagoya, Japan. All images by Ben Weller /www.wellerpix.com © 2015

myPOY 2013

myPOY 2013

2013 was a busy year. I had plenty of assignments to keep me clicking, with clients ranging from banks and tourism organizations to European newspapers and in-flight magazines. I updated my website, migrating my portfolio to Photoshelter and creating what I hope will be a much easier, more interactive experience for clients and others interested in my work. I’ve continued some long-term projects, and started some new ones. Two of my photographs of Busan’s urban farmers were featured in “The Other Hundred”, a great book and on-going project from The Global Institute for Tomorrow (GIFT). Teaching photography and image editing classes here in Korea, and online through Indiana-Purdue University, helped keep me abreast of developments, trends, controversies, and major achievements in the field. My work and travel took me twice to Japan and to several locations around Korea, including Seoul, Ansan, Jindo and Jeju. Here are 50 of my favorite photographs from the year. Click the photo to view the gallery.