South Korea/North Korea Border

 

borderlands

photographing frontiers

These are the evocative moments you switch from one culture, currency and even time zone to another; the moment you leave one country behind and enter a new, foreign land. At borders languages, cultures, currencies, countryside, landscapes and even clocks change at the drop of a hat, making these transition points a key punctuation mark of a long journey. For me these are moments of excitement but also trepidation where you swap the known for the unknown but also the point at which you clock up another country on your travel-o-meter. Some borderlands are politically fractious and stressful affairs, often involving a lonely walk on foot across a patch of no-man's land where you lug your backpacks in the searing heat past barbed wire, sniffer dogs, cameras and machine guns. Some are run with military precision with khaki abound; others with chaotic derision. And some hardly look like borders at all, only having a solitary flag waving in the wind to herald the moment you enter a foreign land.

Capturing photographs of these strange transit points is tricky - and mostly illegal rendering the majority of my snaps below out of focus, wonky and sometimes taken through car windscreens. The quality of the photographs themselves, however, bely just how fascinating these changeover points can be as part of a multi-country, overland journey. It's always exciting knowing the exact point at which one country ends and a new one begins; undoubtedly one of the highlights of a journey involving multiple countries and border crossings.

 
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