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Ben Weller August 14, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Korea.
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A girl writes protest messages in chalk in front of a police line in Miryang, South Korea 2014

Ben Weller (b. 1980 USA) grew up in Indiana, and worked for his parents’ weekly newspaper in high school and summers home from college. He later went to journalism school to pursue a career in writing, but soon shifted his focus to photography. In 2008, Ben received an Overseas Press Club Foundation scholarship and interned with Reuters at their Seoul bureau. He returned to the United States and worked for a year photographing for a power generation and transmission cooperative, where he developed his eye for industrial photography and his interest in energy production. Ben now teaches courses on photography, image editing, and climate change at a university in South Korea, as well as continuing his editorial and corporate photo work. Much of his current work focuses on labor, energy production, and the environment. Ben is represented by ZUMA Press.

About the Photograph:

“Miryang is a small city located in the southeast of the Korean peninsula. It’s a pretty quiet place known for its beautiful mountain streams and unique geological features. It’s also right in the path of a high-voltage transmission line being constructed by the state utility, KEPCO, to meet the growing energy demands of South Korea. A group of local residents, mainly farmers, have been protesting construction of the line for a couple years now. They’re opposed to the huge transmission towers that have begun going up along the ridges around their communities. The day I took this photo, thousands of people from around the country had converged on Miryang to show their support to the protestors. This girl was with a group of protestors outside the local KEPCO offices, which were being guarded by riot police. The story here is about land rights, development, tradition, and power. For me personally, this picture is a reminder that these issues aren’t just about traditional farmers worried about a changing way of life. They’re also about the next generation, and whether that generation will take an active part in building the society it wants to live in.”