Sleepless in Seoul
Megan Kwan

On our latest campaign with Lojel, we crossed the Pacific to the city of Seoul, South Korea. There’s only a certain amount of planning and preparation that can be done ahead of visiting a new city (there’s only so much google street view and blog posts can really show). Arriving to Seoul, I was as prepared as I could be. Although, not prepared enough for Typhoon Ling Ling (some of us were luckier than others), the team eventually and thankfully all arrived safely.

For this campaign, we wanted to capture the city’s many personalities from the peaceful temples and grand architecture to neon-lit night markets and busy streets filled with performers and eager spectators. Travelling often allows us to get lost in time and space, awaken our senses, and witness the nights bleed into day (and vice versa). It didn’t take long for us to realize that the many personalities of Seoul were revealed at different hours throughout the day—we just had to be awake to witness it all.

With the help and guidance of our Korean liaison and past studio intern, Youna, we navigated the chaotic streets of Hongdae at night to the quieter winding alleyways of Bukchon Hanok Village. The city felt like a maze of hidden gems—at every turn or nook there was a tucked away cafe or restaurant waiting to be stumbled upon. Seoul was a clash of modernity and history, it was like taking a step into the past and future all at once.

While shooting, I realized how we were merely spectators to the dynamic city unfolding before us—attempting to tune in and align to the pulse of a city that dictates it’s own rhythm. Even coffee shops opened late in the morning or early afternoon, meaning we had to adjust our caffeine intake to prepare us for the long days that stretched far beyond sunset. Between scarfing down the delicious food that filled us between locations; van rides blasting throwback jams while we dried off from surprise downpours (we even made a playlist); to dancing on our rooftop airbnb at sunset before heading out to shoot the nightlife, it seemed like no matter what Seoul could throw at us we were more than willing to be a part of it.

Seoul was an absolute whirlwind. I’ve never seen a team work so quick and efficiently over the span of three days (shout out to the talented Rosanna Peng, Jeremy Jude Lee, Jordan Cooper, and Youna Choi), but we also made sure to fit in a Karaoke session and a couple visits to egg drop (maybe three for some of us). Looking back at the photos from the shoot, it’s hard not to smile—we went through a lot together and we did it all in the wild yet wonderful city of Seoul.

BTS Shots by Rosanna Peng, Jeremy Jude Lee, Jordan Cooper, and Megan Kwan