Korea’s Pastel Schoolhouses

Macaron-colored walls composed in tidy symmetry. An intoxicating, sugary dream where time seems to have stopped. These aren’t stills from a Wes Anderson film—they’re real shots of Korean schools taken by Spanish photographer Andrés Gallardo Albajar.

Gallardo, who now lives in Estonia, took these photos in Seoul and Busan while traveling. “It all started by accident, when I got a little lost in Seoul and ended up in the playground of a school. I was fascinated by their pastel colors, their trees, their symmetries, and the symbols like clocks, the national flag and the alphabet I didn’t understand,” he says. “But I never expected I’d do a series about Korean schools.”


马卡龙色的外墙,整洁对称的构图,时光仿佛静止于甜美梦境里,让人沉醉。而这一切,并非是韦斯·安德森的电影画面,这是 Andrés Gallardo Albajar 镜头里韩国校园内的真实景色。

生于西班牙、目前长居爱沙尼亚的摄影师 Andrés,在旅行途中拍下了首尔和釜山两地的校舍,这一切都出于偶然。当时我在首尔汉城迷了路,最后走到了一所学校的操场上。我被他们柔和的颜色、树木、钟表、国旗,还有它强烈的对称感和我不认识的字符给迷住了。” Andrés 说,但我从来没有想过,我最终会组成关于韩国学校的一系列作品。”

Gallardo’s experiences in Europe and Asia have given him diverse impressions and experiences. Korea and Spain have different styles of architecture, but they have a lot in common, he notes, since they both have centuries-old cultures. For him, the process of exploring and taking pictures in each one is equally fascinating.

Asked how Korea differs from Europe, he says, “the people in South Korea were extremely nice to me, and that made a great impression. One can tell that South Korea is doing well financially, since you can see plenty of modern architecture by some of the biggest contemporary architects. That doesn’t happen in Estonia, for instance, where everything is more local.”


Andrés 在欧亚两地的经历,给他留下了不同的印象与感触。首尔与西班牙的建筑虽然风格不同,但区别并不大——它们都留有古代文化的印记。对他来说,探索和拍摄的过程都一样迷人。要说到比较,Andrés 说:韩国的人民对我非常好,这给我留下了深刻的印象。另外你可以看出,韩国在财政上做得很好,因为你可以看到很多当代最伟大的建筑师的现代建筑,而在爱沙尼亚,情况并非如此,那里的一切都更有本土气息。

“As a matter of fact, visiting all these schools had a big nostalgia effect on me. As a child my only purpose in going to school was to see my friends and play football or other games during breaks,” he explains. “When doing this series, I often had to wait until the break was over so I could take photos freely. While waiting I could observe the kids playing on the playground, and I could see how, even though thousands of kilometers and around 30 years separated them from my experience, kids will always be kids.”


事实上,参观所有这些学校,让我产生了很大的怀旧感。孩童时代,我上学的唯一目的就是去见好朋友,在课间休息时我们可以一起踢足球或者玩别的运动。但在拍这些照片的时候,我不得不等到休息时间结束,才可以自由拍照。在等待的时候,我可以看到孩子们在操场上自由自在地玩耍嬉戏。即使我的童年和他们隔着几千公里,也隔着大约 30 年的时光,但孩子永远都是孩子啊。” Andrés 如此感慨道。