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Yours truly in Korea Herald!

December 29, 2010

A restless mind in ‘caffeinated Seoul’

2010-12-29 19:14

Photographer captivated by beautiful, eclectic scenes of cafes in the capital

A thorough plan may assist the achievement of a goal, but it is not always a recipe for success.

Felicia Shelton, a photographer who believes in chance meetings, is lukewarm toward the prospect of a planned-out life. She said, “I find that heavy going.”

She seems to understand and appreciate serendipity, and says her lucky and unexpected discoveries have kept her going. It could be said her life so far has shown that a plan, even if it is perfectly prepared, may be shattered during one’s journey.

Her continent-crossing career began with her working as an office worker in Washington, and led to her becoming a hot-shot photographer in Korea. In an interview with The Korea Herald, she explained “nothing was planned, but came out spontaneously.”

Over the years, Shelton has continuously come across unexpected gems. To her, fate has always sent her little signals.

Felicia Shelton. (Ahn Ji-sup)

Born in a small town in Virginia, she studied in Gothenburg, Sweden, worked in Washington D.C., and two years ago came to Korea as an English teacher.

Yet, she has already begun her next adventure as a professional photographer in Seoul.

On her well-managed photo blog of still life, interior design and travel, the photos of Seoul cafs stand out most.

“I wanted to show the West the booming, beautiful cafs in Seoul.”

Before coming to Korea, she believed most Koreans were Buddhist and drank green tea all day. “Many westerners, likewise, come to Seoul and visit temples, and learn about traditional cultures, but do not give much attention to the unique styled caf boom in Seoul.”

“Korean cafes are more funkier in style, abundant, eclectic, cozy, and Korean caf owners are keen to details, and what I really wanted to show the Western world is that the cafes here are not just ordinary cafes, but a place for business meetings, a place in which to enjoy a warm atmosphere and also to feel motivated to work.”

On her blog, she displays not only the popular cafs which dot Garosugil, Hongdae, Hyojadong, and Bukchon Village, but also other less-known cafs in the hidden nooks of Seoul.

“I have never seen anything like the cafes in Seoul. They’re amazing,” she said.

While roaming the world with a camera in one hand, she was spotted by a celebrated designer regarded as a guru of avant-garde design in England, Tom Dixon. To meet him was another fortunate accident for her. It was at a private party and Shelton had been invited by an owner of a Hongdae caf she had visited.

Soon, Tom Dixon asked her to shoot for his photo book project. That was the moment she turned into a professional Seoul correspondent photographer from an amateur photo blogger.

As a professional photographer, Shelton says she tries to capture the atmosphere of cafes in her photos. “The most important thing for me is the lighting. Light sets the mood, the ambience of a cafe is all about good lightings.”

She recently finished compiling and writing her first photobook.

“I am going to name the photobook ‘A Caffeinated Seoul: A year of amazing caf interior design in South Korea.’”

“I don’t know where my next destination is, I want to go study photographs of people with the tripod. But we’ll see what happens, you never know what the next step is until the last minute,” she said as she left the caf.

Soon after the interview, Shelton sent an e-mail saying that she will soon be off to Paris to photograph at the largest trade design show in the world, “Maison et Object.”

Visit her portfolio website on or her blog at

By Hwang Jurie  (

Here’s the article that I’ve been waiting for. I think that the general feeling I have for the fab cafes in Seoul comes through. The quotes are not direct quotes. Just sayin’. I hope that you enjoy it! Special thanks to Jurie, the reporter and one of the best photographers in Korea, Ahn Ji-Sup!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. December 29, 2010 11:55 PM

    Mama! you look so pretty!

  2. December 29, 2010 11:59 PM

    Thank you, Queen!

  3. December 30, 2010 11:36 AM

    Congratulations! That’s a wonderful interview and a gorgeous photo!! I have to find a copy of your book asap!!

  4. December 30, 2010 12:03 PM

    Congrats lady! You look great and quite sexy 🙂

  5. December 30, 2010 12:10 PM

    Oh Well done you …. how great !!!

  6. December 30, 2010 12:58 PM

    Lola, you are too much, thank you!

  7. December 30, 2010 12:59 PM

    Well Hello Miss Nicole!
    I’m going to release the book in 2011, hopefully during the first week. I hope that you and everybody else in the world likes it! LOL!

  8. December 30, 2010 12:59 PM

    Thank you, Mandy. You’re so supportive, I really appreciate it!

  9. January 2, 2011 4:50 AM

    Wow, congratulations! I can’t wait to get a copy of your book.
    You are such an inspiration.
    All the best in 2011!

  10. January 2, 2011 12:29 PM

    Thank you, Anayli! Great hearing from you again and I wish you all the best in 2011!

  11. January 4, 2011 3:13 PM

    Wow, what a great article! Congratulations!! I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and your cafe pics always look amazing. Can’t wait to see the book and I LOVE the title!

  12. January 4, 2011 11:14 PM

    Thank you “meandmypassort”! Your words of encouragement are great appreciated! Happy New Year to you!

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