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.

6 thoughts on “The Old Man and the Statue

  1. Maybe he was lonely, and didn’t want you taking a shot of the statue on her own. Depressed, even. Hard to tell without more interaction but I totally get you being a little uncomfortable with it. He could just need a hug, but at the same time he could be unpredictable.

    But an interesting shot, for sure – especially with the story.

    Like

    1. Thanks. Yes, he could have been depressed. Maybe he’s lost a daughter or something. I felt uncomfortable because I’ve met lots of people with mental difficulties (is that an acceptable phrase these days?) and I’m a magnet for them because I look different. So I feel more nervous than most people probably do.

      Like

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