Walt Disney once said, “if you can dream it, you can achieve it,” and every now and then someone comes along to give new meaning to this belief. Roughly 60 miles east of Seoul, stands a bright red 30 foot tall Rolleiflex twin-lens camera which houses a quaint two story cafe. 꿈꾸는 사진기 also known as the Dreamy Camera Cafe is located in Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea; far from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The camera themed cafe is a collaborative effort from the imaginations of Sung-hwan Park and his wife Myung-hee. The couple moved to Yangpyeong-gun with their daughter about one and a half years ago. While the cafe itself was always an inevitability (about 7 years in the works), the location had to be a place where Park could pursue his passion for photography, his wife could own a cafe away from the stress and crowdedness of the city and their daughter could live in a house with her own room and a dog.
While the exterior of the cafe is impressive, eye-catching and flashy (no pun intended), the interior has a cozier feel to it… like an extension of the family’s home, which is located right next door. The first floor has all the makings of a family living room. A small kitchen adorned with cute coffee mugs and teapots, a bathroom, a large family sized table in the center and a staircase leading to the second floor round out the surprisingly spacious interior. The wooden beams along the staircase are covered in Polaroids of all the many guests that had visited before. The walls are lined with display cases full of vintage cameras that Park has collected over the years, all of which are still in working condition. From Leica, Lomo and Pentax cameras to Polaroids and point and shoots, there is definitely something to capture the heart of any photography enthusiast. However out of all these treasures, Park admitted that his definite go to camera will always be the Leica M9.
Like the first floor, the second floor has light cream colored walls with natural wood framing and accents, which adds for a nice spacious and relaxing feel. The walls upstairs are lined with some of Park’s beautiful photography and shelves filled with travel and photography books. A few toy cameras and mini replicas are also thrown into the decorative mix, lining the shelves and window sills. Cute oversized rolls of film serve as paper towel dispensers and add a nice touch to every table. Although this floor is set up more like a cafe, the personal items and home photos of the Park family keep its welcoming and home-like ambiance. There are also more windows on this floor, so the sunlight floods the room with lovely soft natural light. Much of this light is attributed to the top lens of the cafe’s Rolleiflex design. Gazing out this window and taking in the gorgeous scenery of the countryside really makes you feel like your peering through the camera of a giant. It’s truly a whimsical feeling.
As far as cafes go, their menu is pretty basic, but the items on it are no less delicious. After the long 3 hour trip, my boyfriend and I were in desperate need of some caffeine. So we started off with a Caramel Macchiato and Cafe Latte. For dessert we decided on the Gateau Chocolat, which is one of their more popular items. Luckily they had one piece left, and it wasn’t hard to see why. The cake is rich, thick and comes served on a chocolate drizzled plate. Each slice comes with a cute message written on top in powdered sugar. Later we ordered an Apple Refresh and a Pink Lemonade. The Apple Refresh is a homemade apple black tea. My boyfriend liked this drink the most because it had a natural apple taste and it required no additional sweeter. As for me, I really liked the Pink Lemonade, which is also homemade, but has more of a sweet and tangy kick to it. I really think these are the perfect drinks to enjoy on a beautiful summer day.
While cameras may be the obvious theme of this cafe to most visitors, Park and his wife originally designed this cafe as a place for dreamers. Just as they had made their dream a reality, they want the Dreamy Camera Cafe to be a cafe that inspires others to pursue their dreams, no matter how big they may be. They wanted to create a place where people from all over the world can can come and share their dreams and stories and leave feeling inspired. After talking to them for a bit it was hard not to be inspired, not just by the cafe, but by their story. So, if you’re looking for true inspiration, look no further than the Dreamy Camera Cafe.