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Koreatown Dreaming: Stories & Portraits of Korean Immigrant Life

“Photographer Hahn’s animated and vivid debut . . . is exceptional.”

Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review

Explore and celebrate Korean culture in America through photographs and interviews by award-winning photographer Emanuel Hahn. 

Since the first wave of Korean immigration in the early 1900s, Korean immigrants have opened and operated small businesses across the country that enrich the cultural fabric of our communities. Yet their stories are too often overlooked, as even today their existence is being pushed to the margins of American society. In Koreatown Dreaming, a project that began in Los Angeles and expanded to eight other cities, the lives of Korean immigrants are observed with care and admiration under Hahn’s tender, capacious gaze. Hahn’s arresting photographs and narrativized interviews portray Korean small business owners as key figures not just in their neighborhoods but in their own lives, where they experience personal struggle, sacrifice, triumph, growth, and joy.

Koreatown Dreaming is at once an anecdotal history of Korean immigration and a touching homage to Korean immigrant life. These intimate stories of over 50 small businesses are a testament to the American Dream, even while complicating the illusions of that promise, and of what it means to be American. 

📍Cities featured: Los Angeles, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Annandale, Virginia; New York, New York; Flushing, New York; Pal Park, New Jersey; Fort Lee, New Jersey; Dallas, Texas; Honolulu, Hawaii. 

Emanuel Hahn (author, photographer, director)

“Koreatown Dreaming” was borne out of a sense of urgency around documenting the stories of Koreatown, during the Covid-19 pandemic and creeping gentrification. As many small business in Koreatown closed permanently, long-time establishments and mom-and-pop stores disappeared without leaving a record of their history and contributions to Los Angeles. This photo book documents their varied lives and stories, and celebrates the contributions that Korean immigrants have given to one of the most diverse and iconic neighborhoods in America.

This book chronicles 40 small businesses across retail, services, community spaces and restaurants to offer a comprehensive look into the lives of this entrepreneurial immigrant group. This book includes rich photography, poetry, and essays by Katherine Yungmee Kim (author of LA’s Koreatown), Lisa Kwon (writer and reporter), Cathy Park (contributing writer at Eater) and Dumbfoundead (artist).

Each book is 8.5″ x 11″ and contains beautiful images photographed on medium format film (Kodak Portra 400 and 800), printed on 135gsm paper, hard-back and cloth-bound with burgundy textile.

Book Design by Jiyoon Cha. 10% of all net profits will be donated Koreatown non-profits. Only ships in USA.

Pre-order Koreatown Dreaming by author and photographer/director Emanuel Hahn (@hahnbo). But hurry! This offer expires on October 17, 2023.


On Sale: Oct 17, 2023  |  Page Count: 264 pages

Publisher: Running Press  |  ISBN-13: 9780762484584




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