Photographs by Tendayi Dabengwa of South Korea's elderly population living in poverty

All images courtesy of Tendayi Dabengwa. © Tendayi Dabengwa

When London graphic designer and photographer Tendayi Dabengwa travelled through South Korea last year, he noticed something he wasn't aware of before: an ageing population, many of whom are living in poverty.

Surprised by what he saw, he pulled out his camera and began to document the trip. The resulting images have been brought together in a series entitled, The Forgotten Generation.

"Due to rapid industrialisation over the last three generations the country has evolved like few have," he tells Creative Boom. "With a rapidly ageing population, low birth rates and young people who are increasingly shunning marriage, South Korea is in a population problem. This was very visible during my time in the country."

It doesn't help that South Korea's pension scheme was only introduced recently, compared to other democratic nations. Or that half of the country's population aged 65 and over lives in relative poverty, having no savings or retirement pot. During his travels there, Tendayi saw much evidence of this, including some older people selling food in the street or collecting rubbish to sell at local recycling centres.

"The creation of an adequate pension system has been challenging because this generation grew up before pension contributions or salaries or modern careers existed," he adds. "They never planned for their retirement because when they were young, the concept simply did not exist. South Korea is a country that has developed in a single lifespan – the elderly are the mirrors that reflect this hyper development. They straddle two entirely different worlds."

Discover more of Tendayi's work at www.tendayidabengwa.com or follow him on Instagram.

© Tendayi Dabengwa

© Tendayi Dabengwa

© Tendayi Dabengwa

© Tendayi Dabengwa

© Tendayi Dabengwa

© Tendayi Dabengwa

© Tendayi Dabengwa

© Tendayi Dabengwa

© Tendayi Dabengwa

© Tendayi Dabengwa

© Tendayi Dabengwa

© Tendayi Dabengwa

© Tendayi Dabengwa

© Tendayi Dabengwa

© Tendayi Dabengwa

© Tendayi Dabengwa