RESPITE

“Life is like a jungle sometimes…it makes me wonder…how I keep from going under”

Slick Rick put it well. Sometimes the urban routine can get you down. The metaphorical jungle that is a city can be a maelstrom. It can be a cold hard bitch at times (sorry ladies). I have been calling Seoul home for nearly a year, and in that time have found very little respite from the concrete. Most every weekend is spent navigating city streets by bicycle, or wandering clustered markets taking picutres. Thus all the more reason why I so enjoyed a recent trip to explore the nearby coast and mountains.

Vacation days are like magic pots of gold in Korea. Mythical and ever elusive. That’s why when my boss granted me four days off (a swelling euphoria filled me immediately in my office) Lauren and I knew we had to break the routine. Originally we  thought Shanghai, but visa hassles deterred us and eventually we settled on Sokcho, a small fishing town at the foot of Seoraksan Mountain,

Seeing the ocean and open spaces broke the constant views of city sprawl, exploring the markets and derelict spaces in town was also photographically fulfilling. The food was excellent. Anyway, what follows are some scattered frames of the four days we spent in Sokcho and the surrounding mountains.

SOKCHO BLOG
The crags of Seoraksan National Park, taken at dusk into the setting sun. I haven’t shot much landscape photography and know very little about it. But being we saw some spectacular views I felt like I had to try to convey what we saw. (nikon fe2, nikkor 24mm, fuji superia 200).SOKCHO BLOG

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SOKCHO BLOG
There was a Buddhist presence as the moutains of Korea have always been a refuge for temples and monks (especially during Joseon persecution). The quiet spaces ancient temples were a nice break from the neon crosses that light up most of the urban spaces in Korea.
SOKCHO BLOG
SOKCHO BLOG
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SOKCHO BLOG
SOKCHO BLOG
There is a little hermitage on the way up to Ulsanbawi and this sweet grandmother invited us in for coffee while she giggled at us lambasted the Japanese in shirades (which didn’t seem very Buddhist). She let me take one frame of her and that was it.
SOKCHO BLOG
SOKCHO BLOG
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SOKCHO BLOG
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SOKCHO2_82
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The town of Sokcho was a cross between an industrialized fishing village and a seaside resort. Somehow the two combined to create an endearing mix of seascapes and decaying urbanity. Positively charming? I have strange taste.
SOKCHO BLOG
The House Hostel in Sokcho. Seriously recommended. Very affordable, clean, with a great manager who goes out of his way to help.
SOKCHO BLOG
Something about seeing the ocean again

SOKCHO BLOG
SOKCHO BLOG
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SOKCHO BLOG
infamous squid sausage of Abia village
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SOKCHO BLOG
SOKCHO BLOG
some local color
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SOKCHO BLOG
SOKCHO1_12
SOKCHO BLOG
Even in such a scenic place I couldn’t help myself being drawn to the urban scenes. Four days without shooting the street will have me finding any derelict alley or bus stop to snag a frame of.
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SOKCHO BLOG

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Filed under South Korea, Travel

Moran Market, Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do

Last weekend I spent a day wandering around the infamous Moran Market in Seongnam. Exploring the outdoor/indoor labyrinths that are traditional Korean markets is a major pastime of mine; especially with a camera in tow. Documenting the last gasps of these traditional marketplaces when more and more Koreans are preferring the sterile, air-conditioned comforts of large department stores and international supermarkets, has become a quaint obsession.

Moran Market in particular struck me as a place out of time. Held on every day ending in 4 or 9, the market draws vendors from the countryside and swells with an older, crookeder, and more pagan  sense of Korea (no offense meant by this). Besides culinary offerings  I’ve never seen in any other marketplace, Moran seemed to focus more on herbal potions, unconventional foodstuffs, with a generally odder assortment of characters than seen elsewhere. An adult student mentioned that Moran attracts the last rural peasants of Korea who come to sell their wares. If most of those who could (through education, jobs, family) fled the coutryside decades ago, the peasants left behind seem to be of a different stripe. The place had the feel of a backwoods flea market, or a convention of carnies. A very strange atmosphere indeed.

MORAN MARKET

Oddly enough at the gate of the market were several evangelicals preaching the word (a few Buddhists also). They seemed unable to cross into the market threshold (atleast in our imagination). At the other gate we saw some old men shouting religous debate with a cross-waver, snarling in raised tones “where is Jesus, show him to me!!”

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MORAN MARKET

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MORAN MARKET

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MORAN MARKET

MORAN MARKET

#33

MORAN MARKET

MORAN MARKET

MORAN MARKET

MORAN MARKET

MORAN MARKET

...

MORAN MARKET

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Filed under South Korea, street photography

#33

#33

“Unless the supernatural comes and plays a part and reveals itself, the picture is only as good and nice as information can be” – Raghu Rai

Moran Market
Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do. South Korea

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Filed under instruction project, street photography, Uncategorized

#31

Instruction #31

“Look for clashing colours – the more lurid the better.” – Bang Byoung-Sang

street photography now

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Week #5- Spring Sprung

#5- Spring Sprung\

cherry blossoms, apartment towers
bundang, gyeonggi-do, south korea

“i can’t smell a thing can’t see their pink
but they’ll find branches next spring”
-ikkyu

http://www.flickr.com/photos/97652238@N00/sets/72157626237877599/with/5656559180/

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Instruction #30

instruction #30

“Remember Robert Capa’s words: “If your pictures aren’t good enough, your’re not close enough”. – Andrew Glickman

streetphotographynow.wordpress.com

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Week #4- April, 27th, 2010- Nightime is the right time

Week #4- April, 27th, 2010- Nightime is the right time

The winter has finally thawed out and everyone is back out in the streets again. It’s been good to get together with friends and rekindle old habits (all day wanders across Seoul ending in all night carousing).

Last week (or was it the week before, oh both) I had a great day street shooting with friends followed by a night out in Hongdae. This is Lhasa, a fucking rad outfit from down in Busan. I originally met these guys at a party at agit art space down in B-town, and had the chance to see them later in Seoul.
lhasa.bandcamp.com/album/-

I had picked some 3200 Ilford months ago and was waiting for some nocturnal adventures to use it. I’m really pleased with the results.

nikon fe2
nikkor 24mm
Ilford delta 3200

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Filed under 52 weeks in seoul, Film, nikon fe2

saturday seoul

Spring has sprung in the land of the morning calm, spreading cherry blossoms, bicycles and revelers all over the city. After such an icy and frigid winter everyone is rejoicing at the warmer weather, shunning masks and yellow dust/radiation paranoia to just get outside. The Han paths have been filled with young couples and picnicking families. . It’s nice to be peddling again.

Anyway, last week the songpa stompers were reunited for some explorations. It was good to meet up with friends after hibernating for the winter. We caroused Seoul, took in the river scene, and caught late night action in Hongdae. We all packed some 3200 super grainy Ilford for the night-time (looking forward to seeing the others) and I picked up a new holga during the day. What follows are some frames from 14 odd hours. Hopefully more of such outings to come.

Nikon fe2, Nikkor 24mm, Ilford hp5 125

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

the couples were out in force. the river was thick with them

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

vivitar wide and slim (superheadz remake), agfa 200

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

Once evening rolled around it was time to break out the high speed grain. I usually don’t take cameras out at night (for good reason) but spring was in the air, and the convergence of friends seemed a celebration worth documenting. We strolled Hongdae and caught awesome Busan rockers LHASA do their thing at SSAM SPACE.

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

as the night went on the breakable cameras got tucked away and the toys came out

holga 125, iso 400

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

SPRING DAY WITH FRIENDS BLOG POST

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Filed under a day out, nikon fe2, seoul, South Korea, street photography

#29

Instruction #29
#29

“Find an ambiguity that lies just below the surface.” – Jesse Marlow
streetphotographynowproject

nikon fe2
nikkor 24mm
ilford hp5 125

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Filed under 35mm, street photography

Week #3. April 14th, 2011. Old Roll

Week #3. April 14th, 2011. Old Roll

Last weekend I went by my old apartment (in the process of being gutted) to pick up a few things left behind (two broken cameras and some hiking shoes)

I happened to find an undeveloped roll of fuji superia that had fallen behind my old dresser.

Most of the shots were from my old school which is now a virtual golf gym. This is Eric. He was a groovy dude even if he could be a little shit at times.

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Filed under 35mm, 52 weeks in seoul, nikon fe2

Gangnam at night

Gangnam never had much appeal for me. Sure, the flashy lights are neat, the billowing rows of street food a plus, and the endless clusters of noraebangs and hofs enticing. But the whole place always leaves me a bit bored, at least from a night life standard. That said, I relocated to a new place a little outside the city and every weekend have to catch a bus from Gangnam station home. Last week I strolled around a bit and tried to grab a few frames of the mid-evening cacophony.

I’ve found myself rarely shooting with my dslr lately. I’m not sure why, but I make all kinds of excuses, but I think it settles on the Nikon FX lenses, and how soft and slow they seem to be (at least the ones I can afford.) Lately, I’ve been using my old AI lenses on my dslr and having a much better time. They don’t meter, so a bit of guess work there, but that quirkiness, combined with using stupidly high iso’s has made me break out my old body. Here are a few frames from that pre-bus stroll through river south. Expect more.

gangnam at night

gangnam at night

gangnam at night

gangnam at night

gangnam at night

gangnam at night

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Filed under black and white, seoul, South Korea, street photography

52 weeks. Week #2. in the cafe

Week #2- April 5th, 2011- in the cafe
Week #2- April 5th, 2011- in the cafe
I’m at the end of an almost month long stretch without a regular internet connection. Besides when travelling that’s probably the longest domestic stretch without it since I was a broke student who couldn’t afford it.

This is Lauren at a cafe around the corner where we must of spent 100 dollars on overpriced lattes during our bi-weekly internet sessions.

I always bemoan the time-wasting effects of constant connection and I did read a lot more without the internet. But living in a foreign land it is nice to have that comfort of skyping (or the ability to), and being able to zoom back home with the click of a button.

Anyway, I;m back on now, after finally managing to move my account through the beauracreatic malestrom of the Korea internet security agency.

onward

nikon fe2
nikkor 24mm
Ilford 400

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Filed under 52 weeks in seoul, black and white

monochrome is good for you

Is shooting black and white kinda the equivalent if “eating your vegetables” for photographers? And is doing it on film different from converting a raw file that doesn’t work in color over to the dark side? These are things I’ve been wondering as I shot through a few black and white rolls over the last few weeks.

I was always reluctant to shoot BW as I thought color kind of my shtick, and justified my aversion with the expense, inconvenience and ability to convert any color film to BW in Photoshop. The last BW film I shot was when traveling Europe five years ago. After relocating to a new apartment a little further from my favorite photo labs I started to consider doing some of my own development, and as BW is a much simpler affair than color I thought I should shoot it a bit more. That and some recent work by a good friend inspired me to load in more of the stuff.

I’ve enjoyed my few weeks sans color. And have found myself focusing more on composition and varied tones of light. Shooting in BW from that start (not converting later) is making me look in a new way, to see photos where I might not have before. It’s a stripped down process, and I find myself focusing more on the essentials of the frame. Here are some outtakes.

Kodak TMAX 100, KODAK TMAX 400, ILFORD HP5 400

KICK BACKs

Dongdaemun fabric market, Tmax 100

SYMMETRY

Gwangjang food alley, Tmax 100

RAG AND BONE SHOP

seoul flea market, Tmax 100

Dongmyo backstreets

dongmyo backstreet, tmax 100

monochrome blog

hospital and orchid, Ilford 400

monochrome blog

cafe killing time, Ilford 400

monochrome blog

bundang, Tmax 400

monochrome blog

bundang, Tmax 400

monochrome blog

subway, Tmax 400

monochrome blog

carting around, Ilford 400 and Tmax 400

monochrome blog

waiting, Tmax 400

monochrome blog

Tmax 100

monochrome blog

junk for life, dongmyo, Tmax 100

monochrome blog

Ilford 400

monochrome blog

monochrome blog

Tmax 400

monochrome blog

Apartment, Tmax 400

monochrome blog

monochrome blog

lauren, Ilford 400

monochrome blog

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Filed under 35mm, nikon fe2, street photography

52 Weeks. #1- At the Hospital

I recently realized that I don’t take personal photos anymore, or if I do they just sit to rot in the dregs of a wayward hard-drive. I tempted myself to start a 52 week project trying to rekindle images and stories from my own life. I love to shoot street, and by no means does this project exclude it, but I’m curious to see if I can keep this going. Suffering from a bad personal memory, maybe this is a way I can keep track of myself.

Week #1, March 27, 2011…At the Hospital. (the end of the world as we know it, 52 weeks in seoul)

Week #1, March 27, 2011
I’ve been spending way more time than usual waiting in hospital lobbies. This is a curious phenomenon springing from a certain illness acquired by someone very close. Hospitals are frightening places for me and being there days consecutively is a really daunting experience, especially sitting in wards dedicated to highly contagious diseases. I often think of the orderlies who spend hours and hours in that environment and quickly realize I could never have a job in the medical field. It’s not that I am afraid of germs, because I’m really not, It’s more the inevitable fact that our bodies break down…and we get old. And that’s what become so inevitably clear as I sit in the lobbies….waiting.

nikon fe2
nikkor 24mm
fuji provia 400

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Filed under 35mm, 52 weeks in seoul, nikon fe2

#26

Instruction #26…”If you’re not sure it’s a picture, shoot it anyway” – Carolyn Drake

KICK BACK- Instruction #26

nikon fe2
nikkor 24mm
kodak tmax 100

streetphotographynowproject.wordpress.com

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Filed under black and white, instruction project, nikon fe2, street photography