I've owned a digital camera since November 1999, and I kept every photos and videos I did not immediately delete since then. So I now have more than 15 years of digital memory with me. The first 4 years or so were captured on my first digital camera, a 2-megapixel, 2x optical zoom Kodak DC280, which I bought for 960,000 Won (US$830 at the time). It was a top-of-the-line consumer digital camera, as most cameras back then were of either 0.3- or 1.3-megapixel types. I also remember paying 160,000 Won (US$140) for a 32MB memory card.
I went back to check out some of the earliest photos and revisited the places within them to see how much has changed. With me was my iPhone 6 Plus, which incidentally cost me nearly the same (equivalent of 977,000 Won, US$940 at the time), yet had an 8-megapixel sensor and 128GB of storage.
First up is one of the iconic buildings in the huge Yongsan Electronics Market area. Building 21 of the Seonin Plaza, a.k.a. Seonin Electronics Market had been my favourite place to buy computer gears and parts in my university days.
The 1999 photo shows a dual Pentium III 500 server ad at the entrance, while the 2015 one has a GeForce GTX 740 graphics card ad in its place. The 2015 photo also shows Building 23 behind the right side of the building, which didn't exist until 2007.
Let's move to somewhere underground now.
This is how Yeongdeungpo-gu Office subway station on Line 5 looked like in 1999. Notice that the romanization of the station name is different - "Yŏngdŭngp'o-gu Office"? The official rules changed less than a year after this photo. I used to transfer from Line 2 to 5 and back at this station to visit the magazine companies I wrote for.
Come to 2015, the screen doors had been installed on the subway platforms throughout Seoul metropolitan area, including this station. The signage also saw changes, but the ceiling and the floor remain more or less the same.
Gazing into the screen doors, the columns that were visible in the 1999 photo can be seen. Except for the update to the romanization, everything seems to be the same, including the blemish on the concrete floor between the two left columns. Ever since the installation of the doors, the insides tend to get neglected.
Here's my dad driving his 6-year old Hyundai Sonata 2 with the family in early 2000. The car had been with us since March 1994, and practically nothing was installed around the dashboard then.
A decade and half later, the car's now driven by me or, as seen in this photo, my wife. Shortly after I got married, dad got himself a new car and he gave this one to me. The Sonata 2 has aged fairly well, and expects to celebrate its 21 years of service next month. Currently, some charging cables and a satellite navigation system reside next to the driver's seat.
This is COEX, the enormous exhibition center & shopping mall that sits next to Samseong subway station in Gangnam-gu, Seoul. (Yes, it has been shown in that Gangnam Style music video, too.) Lots of interesting trade shows have been held there throughout the years, so I visited the place fairly often even before working at an office across the street from this place for 8 years.
This 2000 photo was taken while attending a technology exposition. An ambitious expansion of the facilities, including the creation of a massive underground shopping mall (COEX Mall), had been completed just 3 months prior.
While COEX Mall went through extensive renovation last year and changed dramatically, the exhibition floors have remained largely the same, as this 2015 photo shows. In fact, other than the business center being placed (center of the photo), you'll be hard pressed to find any permanent changes here. The huge blue banner at the top left is a lasting presence, having only the website address at its bottom changed at one point.
I hope you enjoyed the trip down the memory lane.