The Traditional Village Shamans of Jeju Island, South Korea: PHOTO ESSAY

I’m putting together some of my photographic and video work from documenting  shamanic tradition over the last six years. This is the first series, focusing on the shamans of Jeju Island, South Korea in the context of shrine ceremonies. SKIP TO FULL PHOTO ESSAY


The shamans of Jeju Island, South Korea, like other shamans across Eurasia, are village priests concerned with the physical and spiritual well-being of their community’s residents. These shaman, called shimbang, also serve in leadership roles, helping to settle disputes and organizing rituals. Traditionally, the position of shimbang on Jeju Island is inherited through family lineages, both females and males being selected by their parents. The training process to become a fully competent practitioner often lasts more than a decade. Shimbang are charged with memorizing and reciting epic myths, which amount to scores of hours of recitation. Mastering the techniques involved in rituals, as well as learning to work with people, also demands intensive study.

In this series, I offer a photographic profile of a number of shimbang I have spent time with over the years. Included are some video interviews, footage of village rituals and a short documentary. Some of the material is excerpted from my film Spirits: The Story of Jeju Island’s Shamanic Shrines.

See Full Photo Essay HereScreen Shot 2018-03-05 at 1.45.18 PMSome screenshots of the photo essay:

Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 1.49.37 PMScreen Shot 2018-03-05 at 1.53.46 PMScreen Shot 2018-03-05 at 1.53.33 PMScreen Shot 2018-03-05 at 1.46.18 PMScreen Shot 2018-03-05 at 1.46.57 PMScreen Shot 2018-03-05 at 1.47.31 PMScreen Shot 2018-03-05 at 1.46.35 PMScreen Shot 2018-03-05 at 1.50.24 PMScreen Shot 2018-03-05 at 1.54.38 PMScreen Shot 2018-03-05 at 1.53.06 PMScreen Shot 2018-03-05 at 1.49.03 PM

See Full Photo Essay 



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