Echoes of Jeju: A Photo Essay of Korean Island Life in 1979 (Part 2)

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In 1979, Iranian militants seized the US Embassy in Tehran, the Russians invaded Afghanistan, and Margaret Thatcher became the new Prime Minister of England. The album of the year was Saturday Night Fever by the Bee Gees. The song of the year was Just The Way You Are by Billy Joel. Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter played in the cinemas.

That year also marked a major event in Korean history: the military general and president Park Chung-hee was assassinated. There were many human rights abuses under Park’s dictatorship. People protested around the country, and Korea’s democratization started to take form. Yet the country was still far from being the economic powerhouse it is today. Here’s more of what life looked like on Jeju in 1979 through my father Tony DeMarco’s eyes (Part 1).

Dirtbike club at Jeju stadium Echoes of Jeju: A Photo Essay of Korean Island Life in 1979 (Part 2)
Dirtbike club at Jeju stadium
Dirtbike club racing at Jeju stadium Echoes of Jeju: A Photo Essay of Korean Island Life in 1979 (Part 2)
Dirtbike club racing at Jeju stadium
A motorcyle club at Jeju stadium Echoes of Jeju: A Photo Essay of Korean Island Life in 1979 (Part 2)
A motorcyle club at Jeju stadium.
Construction in front of Halla Mountain Echoes of Jeju: A Photo Essay of Korean Island Life in 1979 (Part 2)
Construction in front of Halla Mountain.

 

Workers escape the sun under a truck Echoes of Jeju: A Photo Essay of Korean Island Life in 1979 (Part 2)
Workers escape the sun under a truck.
The local laundry spot.  Echoes of Jeju: A Photo Essay of Korean Island Life in 1979 (Part 2)
The local laundry spot.
Haenyeo head out to the ocean Echoes of Jeju: A Photo Essay of Korean Island Life in 1979 (Part 2)
Haenyeo head out to the ocean.
Pete walking through Shin or New Jeju Echoes of Jeju: A Photo Essay of Korean Island Life in 1979 (Part 2)
Me walking through Shin or “New” Jeju when it really was new.
The Jaewon Apartment complex in New Jeju as they looked in 1979. They were the most expensive and highest apartments on the island.  Echoes of Jeju: A Photo Essay of Korean Island Life in 1979 (Part 2)
The Jaewon Apartment complex in New Jeju were the most expensive and highest apartments on the island. You can still see them today.
KAL Hotel in downtown Jeju Echoes of Jeju: A Photo Essay of Korean Island Life in 1979 (Part 2)
KAL Hotel in downtown Jeju.
A fishing boat Echoes of Jeju: A Photo Essay of Korean Island Life in 1979 (Part 2)
A fishing boat.
A photoshoot at Hyopjae Beach Echoes of Jeju: A Photo Essay of Korean Island Life in 1979 (Part 2)
A photoshoot at Hyopjae Beach.
A pair of haenyo or divers pass some fishing boats Echoes of Jeju: A Photo Essay of Korean Island Life in 1979 (Part 2)
A pair of haenyo or divers pass some fishing boats.
Breaking stones by hand for a new housing development.  Echoes of Jeju: A Photo Essay of Korean Island Life in 1979 (Part 2)
Breaking stones by hand for a new housing development.
A traditional Jeju stone house or choga jip.  Echoes of Jeju: A Photo Essay of Korean Island Life in 1979 (Part 2)
A traditional Jeju stone house or choga-jip.
Playing Spaice Invaders Echoes of Jeju: A Photo Essay of Korean Island Life in 1979 (Part 2)
Playing Space Invaders.

 

Click here to read Part 1 of this story which includes an interview with my father. He talks about why he went to Jeju in 1979, what raising a family was like, how it was to teach English at Jeju National University, and more.

 [This article originally appeared in the August 2014 issue of Groove Magazine.]


 

 


 

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