Pusan National University subway station.
I visited Busan at the beginning of December to knock around some old neighborhoods and see old friends. It was the first weekend with the camera so I was still toying around with it a lot, messing with aperture, focus and shutter speed constantly. It had been raining so we decided to jump a subway across town. As we turned up the stairs, I saw these kids messing around at the top, kind of hanging on the railing. There was a patch of light coming from a window right behind them, flickering across the wall and their faces. I think the spot metering really benefited the exposure here. Anyway, I framed walking up the stairs and caught the kids glare at the last second. Damn, I really miss Busan these days.
Vinyl Underground, Busan. Some say nighttime is the right time, and for others it just doesn’t taste right. Personally, I am easily swept up into such things.
One of our friends happens to own a few bars and clubs around Busan. The weekend I was down there was the tenth anniversary of his live music venue, Vinyl Underground. It was a good time to be there as I feel like live music in Busan is a lot more accessible than here in Seoul. These guys were in the opening act, some strange fela-kuti inspired 10 piece. They were hanging back at this table sipping a few beers and getting their gear together. They seemed to be illuminated really well. I was heading out for a bite before the music, set my controls and quickly framed as I walked out the door.
Jongno, Seoul. An old man on a cold day who just can’t stay home. The other day I read the Pascal quote about all of man’s problems arising from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone. What do you think about that?
Somehow Jongno never gets played out. I have walked through this area more times than I can count, almost never to be disappointed or bored. It’s the oldest hood in Seoul, and smack dab in the center of town. Off the main drag weird little alleys abound. The streets are full of these really charismatic pensioners who just own the strip all day long. This is by the old man baduk park, which even on a frigid winter day is full of seniors getting busy with East Asia’s favorite board game. I really loved the shadows and isolation of the solitary character here. While Jongno is a haven, I often wonder how the old schools guy feel amidst such a rapidly changing city.
There was the guy in the LHS hiding behind a sheet of plastic. I don’t blame him as it was a painfully cold day. He was a bit of a down and out, a subject that is always of questionable taste, so I really wanted to fit more into the frame and make a kind of streetscape photograph. The lights and shadow really worked out here. The film was at 1600 allowing me to shoot around f16 or so, which gave real definition and contrast to the shadows. This is a look I would like to return to.
This photo is three quarters of what I want it to be. I like all the elements and characters, the way they jigsaw into the frame, yet I am still bummed over the cut foot and some of the overlap in the background. I am ambivalent about the amount of masks that end up in my frames.
Times like this I really wish I had a wider lens on this camera. The foreground couple is slightly oof, yet I still liked the layering here. I always find the light in Insadong to be a little dull, and the street is usually painfully cramped. I remember trying to frame the background guy several times and just snapped this one at the last moment. I usually just drift through the city, never really stopping, yet I have found myself more sedentary lately. Looking to capitalize on the geometry or characters in a certain place. Taking a few frames instead of just being swept along as usual.
Jukjeon, Gyeonggi-do. Look up, look up. The skyline is filled with cranes as things are always being torn down and put up again. Things loom and teeter, a dull buzz of construction reverberates through my kitchen every morning lately.
I had an afternoon off and took a long walk around where I live and work. A place I usually deride and being lifeless. I walked for two hours and took three photographs. All of them looking up at apartment blocks or light posts. Something makes me want to take more unpeopled photos, if nothing else but as compositional tests. I am not sure if I am any good at that, but the more I look at certain photographers, the more impressed I am how some can turn the mundane into art as they do.
Seoul. Always loved the patterns of office light like honeycomb cells. Wonder who works late on a Saturday night up there. Who got to leave early?
After an exhibition at the Seoul Museum of Modern Art across from city hall. The days are painfully short here in the winter. This was taken handheld at about 1/16 of a second. Iso 400. The lighting was really nice and I was drawn to the contrast between the old gate and the city hall offices in the back. I am happy the way it turned out.
Seoul. Like Sissyphus we thought, sweeping so late at night when more snowfall was expected. Futile task, well illuminated.
Even though my lens is relatively slow, I’ve been really into nighttime scenes, in part due to shortness of days. Still, there is always something whimsical about the dark. I really waited for these fellows. They had to come out from the dark and work their way into the street light. I think I took three other shots, none of them still enough, or close enough. They seemed jolly as they swept. As we walked around the corner the snow really started to come down.
Moran Market, Seongnam.
I remember the first time I ever chanced across this place. I swore I walked into another world. It was the same day Harold Camping was predicting the end of the world and somehow I had a computer virus that sent out list emails with a title from Yeats’ poem The Second Coming. You know…the whole mess about goats, and “a strange beast marching towards Bethlehem to be born.” The place felt slightly like the gates to somewhere, cages of goats and livestock. Proselytizers waited at the edges saving souls. It is a traditional market, so it only happens a few days a month, and on such days country folk flood in to peddle. Well, the divide between city and country is pretty wide these days. I felt like I had been taken back in time. I try not to miss the place when it happens.
Moran Market, Seongnam.
I was really trying to get this shot for a while. I am not totally sure that it worked out. I underexposed a little too much. Always love a fedora on an old guy though.
Moran Market, Seongnam.
“never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and clowns when they all did tricks for you”