|Photos by Jo Se Hyun via KoreanVibe.com|
An annual photo exhibit titled "The 8th Letter of Angels - Happiness" is set to open in Seoul Korea.
A Korean photographer, Jo Se Hyun, shot some beautiful portraits of babies awaiting adoption posed with celebrities.
It's an annual photo exhibition, produced jointly with the Social Welfare Society. The aim is to encourage adoption domestically in South Korea.
The Korean government has been strongly encouraging adoption, but it's been a challenge. There are many misconceptions and prejudices toward adoption, and the government is struggling to combat these. There is also a strong cultural importance on blood and family name. Many Koreans who have adopted keep it a secret, fearing social stigma if the adoption is known, for their family and their children.
So for those reason, I think this is sort of a cool idea. Showing that these babies are beautiful and adorable, and deserve a family.
But viewing it with my American eyes, this feels too commercial. We are used to seeing celebrities "sell" ideas, but more often we see them sell merchandise. This feels like very slick merchandising.
(See, these stars think these babies are very cute and fun, and you will too!)
I realize that we cannot ever fully understand another culture, and I'm trying hard to remember that I'm viewing this through my USA filter. But it still feels a bit weird.
Korean society does put a lot of emphasis on fitting in and doing what others do. Perhaps exhibits like this will positively influence others in the country. There has been an increase in domestic adoptions in recent years, so perhaps it's working.
Either way, there is no denying that these babies are gorgeous!