The Old Man and the Statue

Wolhwa Park Coffee Girl

I was downtown early one morning and I set up the camera on a tripod to make a photo of this statue. Koreans are generally very polite about photography and will wait for you to make a photo before passing in front of the camera. Or they will go around so they don’t disturb you. I had my focus and exposure checked and was about to press the shutter release button when this man walked into the frame and sat down on the bench. Maybe he’s tired and really needs a sit-down, I thought to myself, and decided to wait until he moved on. He looked at me, pointed at the statue, and shook a finger to indicate that I shouldn’t make a photo of the statue. I immediately thought of the Comfort Woman Statue in Seoul and was worried that this guy thought this was a similar statue and I was insulting Korean history or something. In other words, I thought he was a loony and I should get away as quickly as possible. But then he pointed to the statue and himself and indicated that I should make a photo of them together. I nodded and he put his arm around the statue. I made the photo and said, “Okay, it’s done.” He got up and started to walk away. I asked him if he would like to see the photo. He came over and had a look at the screen but seemed very uninterested in the results. He didn’t ask for a copy or anything. Nor did he smile, which worried me a bit. He walked off and I packed up my kit and left the area.
I guess I got an interesting experience, but I felt nervous and I’d rather not run into people like that if I can help it.

Kodak Portra 400 + Nikon F6

You can tell when a roll of film has been in a camera for a while because of the different subjects in the photographs. A film lab owner once complained to me that some people made so few photos that there were fours seasons on one roll. And that was before digital cameras and smart phones.
There is only one season on the roll of Portra 400 I used last month, but there was definitely a variety of scenes. WARNING! A few of them are disturbing.

Electric Meters, Downtown Gangneung

This is probably just disturbing to electricians and safety inspectors.

No Parking, Downtown Gangneung

This is disturbing to pedestrians and cyclists. I included the ‘R’ in the top left sign reading ‘WONDER’ when I made the photo, but it was cut by the lab. Grrr . . . . The yellow writing on the pavement says ‘tow zone’.

Building Jumble, Downtown Gangneung

Disturbing to architects? But fun for photographers.

Here are the disturbing photos I mentioned in the introduction. This is a water deer, probably killed by one of the speeding cars that drive madly over the blind hill on this road. There are many deer in the outskirts of Gangneung, but this ‘sabre-toothed’ deer is fairly uncommon. Poor bugger. Probably killed by some arsehole checking his phone messages while driving.

Friends Talking, Wolhwa Bridge

I made this photo while I was waiting for these two men to leave so I could set up my tripod and camera.

Island in Namdae River, Gangneung

The men eventually moved on and I started making photos of this island.

Island in Namdae River, Gangneung

I like the reflections of the apartments in the water.

Backstreet Neighbourhood, Gangneung

The final photo of this post was made at one end of the Wolhwa bridge. I waited around and made a number of frames but only this one was presentable. People were either walking too quickly, wearing ugly clothes, or weren’t walking close enough to the house wall. I should probably make these photos while I can, because City Hall might have plans to raze this area and make more space for coffee shops . . . .

Stepping Stone Bridge

Namdae River, Gangneung. 2019.

There were some heavy rains last month and the stepping stone bridge across the Namdae River was underwater. This is normal flooding level for the river and there was no state of emergency. The sign on the gate says, “Danger. No entry when the river is flooded.” Duh.

For those who wonder about these things, the film was Kodak Ultramax 400 and the camera was a Nikon F6 (I’m 95% sure).

Kodak Colorplus 200

I don’t know what camera I used to make these photographs, but it was either the Nikon F6 or the FM3a. I think it was probably the FM3a because I seem to remember focusing manually. When I got the scans back I also remember thinking that although the FM3a’s viewfinder only shows 93% of what will appear on the film, the lab seemed to send back scans that were only about 90% of what was on the film. This happens now and then and is one of the aggravations of using film. It didn’t matter that much for these photographs (except the scooter photo, maybe) – it’s just an annoyance.
It was an overcast day when I went out with the camera, so the colours are muted. But this cheap-o film produces some very nice colours. It’s a shame the large amount of grain prevents large prints.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy these glimpses of what the streets of Korea look like.

Alley Bicycle
Delivery Scooter
The Road to Geumhak Noodles
Must Not Miss This Sale!
Something That Does a Thing Converted to a Parking Space Saver
Alley Sunflowers