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30 Photos Of Tiny, Cramped “Goshitels” Taken By South Korean Photographer Sim Kyu-Dong

Published 6 months ago

If you’re not familiar with the terms “Goshiwon” and “Goshitel”, they basically mean small, claustrophobic apartments in South Korea, typically used by the poor. And when we say small, we mean small. Really small. The kind of small that would make your apartment look like a mansion. Now, you might think that maybe it’s not so bad if you simply need a place to spend a night on the cheap – but Goshitels aren’t always used as short term accommodations. And South Korean photographer Sim Kyu-dong even spent 5 years living in one in Seoul.

During his years living in a Goshitel, the photographer documented his life in the tiny apartment, as well as the lives of others living under similar conditions. “Goshiwon is actually built for examinees preparing for various tests such as the state bar exam or civil service examinations,” explained the photographer in an interview with Bored Panda. “I used Goshiwon whenever I leave my home and stay in Seoul. It was good accommodation.”

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It shouldn’t come as a surprise that rent prices in a big city like Seoul can be very high. That’s why Goshiwons are an affordable alternative for some people. Sim, for example, was paying about 220,000 won ($186) per month. This price can almost double if the Goshiwon is located in a better area.

“I naturally recognized that Goshiwon was used as a new type of dwelling,” said Sim. “One day, when I told someone that I am living in Goshiwon, their answer was: ‘Which exam are you preparing for?’ I felt strange whenever I heard this question.” These questions made the photographer feel unpleasant. It was as if people were implying that the place he lived in wasn’t “right”. That’s why he decided to show what it’s like to live in one through photographs. “Once the public became aware of these new facts, I thought it would be meaningful to those living in the Goshiwon,” said the photographer.

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When preparing for his college entrance exams, Sim heard that male nurses tend to get jobs more easily and applied to that major. However, he felt that the life of a nurse might not be for him and began to wonder whether he could live life doing pleasant work.

“Just then, I enjoyed taking pictures and I was thinking of my job as a photographer. After that, I went on the road as a travel and wedding photographer,” said the man. However, soon he realized that commercial photography took away the charm of the photos. “At that time, I thought I should show Goshiwon and the best way I could do that was with photography,” said Sim. “That’s why I took pictures of Goshiwon. As my photos were released, I was called a photographer.”

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Sim said that originally he did not want to be called a photographer, he just enjoyed taking pictures that represented him. “I even wanted to be able to live off of only taking photos. It is pretty hard to succeed as a photographer,” said the man. “Of course, I was not successful either and I do not want it anymore. I just would like to live doing what I really want and enjoy passionately. That is all.”

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Aušrys Uptas

One day, this guy just kind of figured - "I spend most of my time on the internet anyway, why not turn it into a profession?" - and he did! Now he not only gets to browse the latest cat videos and fresh memes every day but also shares them with people all over the world, making sure they stay up to date with everything that's trending on the web. Some things that always pique his interest are old technologies, literature and all sorts of odd vintage goodness. So if you find something that's too bizarre not to share, make sure to hit him up!

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cheap accommodation, cramped rooms, dormitories, examinees, exams, Goshitel, Goshiwon, pauper, photographer, photographer Sim Kyu-dong, poor, poor people, Seoul, Sim Kyu-dong, South Korea, Students, tiny rooms
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