Photo Project: Korean Tales on Film

For my darkroom film class, we were encouraged to choose a final project that was "something that not ANYONE could photograph." I laid down to take a nap one day and this idea came into my head (no joke). I researched Korean wives tales and superstitions - I knew of a few from Jason but didn't know much else. I asked family members, friends, Google, and even contacted a few American expats living in Korea. On film, I photographed scenes to represent ten of the most common or interesting of the collection. In the darkroom, I played around with paper stencils and cut-outs to add to each picture (ie - manual Photoshop).

^^^ Sticking chopsticks straight up in your rice bowl is a bad omen, or at least bad manners, because it represents the way you would present an offering at a grave or funeral. Fun fact - Jason was watching Wolverine this weekend and the hot Asian girl totally explained this to Hugh Jackman in the movie!  ^^^ To write a person's name in red is to wish death on them. I read that this started when town records would write deceased persons names in red ink. Another fun fact - that's my brother-in-law's Korean name (sorry Stephen!). ^^^ In pregnancy, to crave sweets and fruits means you'll have a girl but savory and meat means you'll have a boy. There are a LOT of wives tales about pregnancy, just like in American culture. ^^^ Sleeping in a room with a fan on will kill you. This is by far the most common superstition that is still pretty commonly believed in Korea. ^^^ The number four is bad luck. The word for "four" and "death" sound nearly the same in Korean and Chinese. ^^^ Babies breathe through their heads, so be careful about putting headbands on them. *Sigh* this picture is blurry but.. the cute baby makes it forgivable. (Right?) ^^^ If you clip your finger nails at night, the mice will eat the clippings, turn into your doppleganger, and steal your soul. (So specific and terrifying!) ^^^ After birth, new mothers need to stay in bed for one month. I'm sure a lot of new mom's wouldn't mind this one, though. ^^^ Letting your legs get cold, or alternatively sitting on cold/hard surfaces, will make young women infertile. (PS - this one is my favorite! This picture, I mean) ^^^ If you give shoes as a gift to your significant other, they will run off on you. Similarly, knives are a taboo gift to give (and it makes Jason really sad, he always wants to buy his mom a nice kitchen knife).

I loved learning these tales, shooting these pictures, and making this project!


  1. These are great! I'm interested in Asian culture. I especially love the one where you get to stay in bed for a month....