12th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Altered Images
The Rose of Sharon

As a Korean student raised in the United States, I have often questioned the westernized idea of beauty. Nowadays, embellished with flashy colors and extravagant details, beauty is often portrayed in a superficial sense. However, real beauty is generated from the inside, where the subject is finally able to be honest, strong, and mature after overcoming a period of darkness. This photograph is a representation of the true beauty of Korea, my motherland, which had gone through years of colonization and prosecution and finally grew as a strong, independent nation. In this photo, each woman wearing a traditional Korean costume is representing one petal of the Rose of Sharon, the national flower of Korea. The dark background represents the period of darkness, while the flowing dress represents a desire for freedom.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 04.2014
Date Uploaded: 10.2014
Photo Location: Los Angeles, California, United States of America
Copyright: © Joong Min Cho