Eunma Town

“Turn your life into a dream,
and this dream into reality”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


The dreams of a nation

Less than 50 years ago, people from all over South Korea moved to newly erected buildings on what used to be farmlands south of the Han River in Seoul, with dreams of a better life. Today, South Korea has become one of the richest countries in the world after an unprecedented economic miracle, jumping from third world country to G20 member in less than a working life.

One of the apartment complexes that embodies the dramatic change is Eunma Town, built in 1979. It is one of the few of its kind still standing today, in the midst of newer, more modern buildings. Eunma Town’s decrepit walls make it seem anachronistic in today’s high tech environment, like a window to the past.

Eunma Town is still in the top 10 of the most expensive places to live in South Korea. This continued fervor can be explained by its sheer location, in the Daechi-dong district of Gangnam, known as the epicenter of South Korea’s private education industry. Korean students regularly top international comparisons of educational standards, and that could be explained by the strong focus put on private education, as materialized by the hundreds of hagwons (“private academies”) found in the Daechi-dong district alone.

Eunma Town can be viewed as a set of old functional buildings in the midst of an urban jungle, contributing to the frenzy of a fast-paced economic power. It could also be perceived as a soulful place where modern settlers past and present have laid the ground for today and tomorrow’s South Korea. It is a symbol of hope as dreams of a better life pass from one generation to the next. Walking within the walls of its 28 towering apartment buildings, entering one of its 4,424 units and meeting its inhabitants is a contrasted experience, where dreams of tomorrow triggered by today’s economic power mix with dreams of yesteryear still lingering in its deteriorating walls.




The book

Eunma Town
Self-published, 2015
ISBN 978-99959-0-163-9
Hardcover, clothbound, 23x17.5 cm, 144 pages
Photographs by Sébastien Cuvelier
Texts in English and Korean by Sébastien Cuvelier and Sujong Song
Graphic design by Sébastien Cuvelier and Christophe Peiffer - george(s)
Edition of 500
EUR 35 (+ EUR 5 shipping worldwide) | BUY HERE

Limited edition: 10 copies signed and numbered 1 to 10, placed in a box made of Korean hanji paper, each calligraphed by Byunghyun Nam (Eunma Town resident). The box also contains an original calligraphy and a signed 22.5x15cm fine art print of an unpublished photograph.
EUR 150 (+ EUR 5 shipping worldwide) | BUY HERE

This book has been made possible with the support of the Centre national de l’audiovisuel, the Fonds culturel national and the Fondation Eté.

Available at:

Paris: Colette, L'Ecume des Pages, Librairie Yvon Lambert, Librairie Le 29, Le Plac'Art Photo
Brussels: Hors Format, Tipi Bookshop
Liège: Livre aux Trésors
Cologne: Buchhandlung Walther König
Luxembourg: Galerie Nosbaum & Reding




The opening exhibition took place at Nosbaum Reding Gallery, Luxembourg, September 2-19, 2015
The 3D model was made in collaboration with Serge Ecker, Grid Design



Littor, Feb 2017 | Cover page

M Le Monde, Jan 2017 | Article | Web version

Dérivations, Sep 2016 | Book review

RTBF Musiq3, May 2016 | Orient, adolescence et utopies with Philippe Marczewski

Urbanautica, Apr 2016 | Eunma Town interview

Polka, Mar 2016 | Book selection

SBS, Feb 2016 | 취재파일] 경제 개발의 추억 '은마아파트'

Lens Culture, Jan 2016 | Photobooks of the Year, Part II: 24 Personal Favorites

Actuphoto, Dec 2015 | Eunma Town, le rêve coréen 100% béton

Kyunghyang Shinmun, Nov 2015 | 사진 속으로]은마 아파트

Paperjam, Sep 2015 | Raconter l’histoire du rêve coréen

Archiduc, Sep 2015 | Le rêve coréen de Sébastien Cuvelier

Bold, Sep 2015 | Eunma Town


Eunma Town was selected among the photobooks of the year in 2015 by Lensculture

Eunma Town was shorlisted for the Portfolio Days and Night, CNA, Dudelange (LU), May 2016

Eunma Town was shortlisted for the Kassel Fotobook Dummy Award 2016 and will be exhibited at the following photo events:

- Fotobookfestival Kassel / Beijing: 11 Jun – 3 Jul 2016
- Fotoleggendo, Rome: 10-26 Jun 2016
- PhotoIreland, Dublin: 1-31 Jul 2016
- Fotogalleriet, Oslo: 8-14 Sep 2016
- Organ Vida Festival, Zagreb: 13-21 Sep 2016
- Encontros da Imagem, Braga: 21 Sep – 5 Nov 2016
- Photobook Week Aarhus, Galleri Image: 29 Sep – 9 Oct 2016
- IED, Madrid: End of 2016
- Format Festival, Derby: 23 Mar – 23 Apr 2017


Bio & contact

Sébastien Cuvelier (1975) is a Belgian photographer living and working in Luxembourg. He has previously released two photobooks: Gypsy Queens (Husson Editions, 2013) and Instant Star (self-published, 2014). The pictures in this book were taken in and around Eunma Town, Seoul between 2011 and 2015.

Find more on

Sébastien can be contacted on seb(at)sebweb(dot)org