“Goyang Love” – Matthias Ley


“Goyang Love” – Matthias Ley  More than half of the world’s population are living in cities by now. The life in Asian cities and megacities, is the theme of several ongoing photo projects of mine. In Goyang City, where I have lived for 1,5 years before, I photographed my series GOYANG LOVE from 2015-2018. This project deals with issues like idendity, home, privacy, longing and love in these artificial urban surroundings.

Goyang City, with a population of about 1 million, is located north-west of Seoul, South Korea’ s sprawling capital. It was planned in 1989 by the national government as one of Koreas new towns or shin-doshi, but is yet another Korean city dominated by bland and grey concrete high-rise apartment towers.

Consequently, my photo project GOYANG LOVE starts with several images of those apartment blocks photographed at dusk, before exploring the very colourfuI streets below. I started my series GOYANG LOVE to make visually sense of this place. With my view camera, I try to impose order and calmness on this often loud and chaotic city.

As this planned community was populated with  its residents right after its completion, I am interested to see how the citizens took it over and continue to personalise their spaces. Given the loving care displayed all over the city, I am very curious: Can one really love this place.


  • 20.09.2019 – 24.11.2018 | Trieste Photo Fringe – ITIS | Trieste, Italy
  • 09.12.2019- 09.02.2020 | Trieste Photo Fringe – Bar Buffet Borsa | Trieste, Italy
  • 24.02.2020- 26.04.2020 | Trieste Photo Fringe – Gran Bar Unità | Trieste, Italy


Matthias is a German professional photographer and visual artist based in Seoul. He first travelled to Japan in 1986 to see and experience Japanese daily life firsthand, because the Western media at time only did boring stories on politics, business and a bit on traditional culture.

This luckily changed during his 20 years in Japan, where he worked for  editorial and corporate clients worldwide. Often based on his own story suggestions, he covered assignments ranging from Japanese youth cultures and techno monks to yakuza gangsters and humanoid robots, besides the usual journalistic fare.

Since 2008 he is doing; personal long-term projects dealing with the daily life in Asian megacities, by focusing on the urban landscape instead on individuals as in his previous reportage work. He loves using 4×5 view cameras and color negative film for his art, and a smartphone for instagram.

Similar to the early 90s with Japan, he is now happy to see that the Western media finally are discovering South Korea. Yes, the Korean peninsula has so much more stories to offer than the usual North Korea ones. Therefore, Matthias certainly doesn´t mind being called for assignments there, be they portraits, reportage or architecture.

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