Since the late 19th century, the number of foreign settlers in Koreaincreased fast. The photographs they took and collected bear witness notonly to the daily life of Koreans at the time, but also to the visitorsâ€™ ownbackgrounds. They reveal their status as outsiders, who used photographyas a form of visual documentation for the organization that fundedtheir travel, and in part to make up for a feeling of exclusion by imaginingthe home or peer audience. This study examines whether photographicrecords of foreign encounters shed light on the notion of cosmopolitanism. It argues that cosmopolitanism associates an imaginary globalrealm where people actively play down national, local conditions in pursuitof symbolic capital, which, ironically, is likely to have the highestvalue back home. It concludes that while the collections of photos byKoreaâ€™s early settlers comprised elements of conformity, much like themajority of travel diaries today, their physicality made them more personaland thus more convincing potential symbols of cosmopolitanism.