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A Trip to Yongma Land – Seoul’s Abandoned Amusement Park

Walking through Yongma Land early on a Sunday morning felt a bit strange. If I’m honest, I had quite a bit of expectations to photograph the space but once I arrived, and even on the walk up through the trees, the dry leaves beneath me, a worn down building whose windows scream out a darkness at you, approaching the old man at the gate, the sense of uneasiness began. Going to explore Seoul’s abandoned amusement park was to enjoy a photographic experience, the playful rides and props that remain, the colour tones painted on the walls, and just getting on the rides I thought would be fun.

 

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But the feeling of fun has long left this place and what is left of it, even in its upkeep with visitors paying an entry fee and the ongoing additions of photogenic spaces to delight our Instagram nation, there is an emptiness set deep within its own atmosphere that it can’t seem to rid. The playful ambiance is cut short by slightly creepy tones of the faces of its props, the fact that this was once a playground for kids but you can’t imagine a child being here, and the eeriness in the air that surrounds you, that you’re in a lonely place far from the city, far from comfort. As a photography enthusiast and a traveller, it was worth the trip, but the memory of being here and feeling like I was in a twilight zone, in a nothing space filled with void, is one I don’t force myself to remember.

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Photography by Jeff Simone and Yours Truly.

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