This tired woman was sitting next to a store that sells traditional Korean clothes called hanbok. She didn’t have a regular market stall – she just sat in an empty place on the sidewalk and sold greens from baskets.
I feel a bit guilty about this photo. I took advantage of this woman’s poverty for a picture and I waited around for her to put her hand to her face and rub her eye. It’s not the sort of photo I usually make, but I was struck by the contrast between the colourful, fancy dresses and this old woman sitting on the concrete in a cheap jacket.
In old hilly neighbourhoods the houses are all close together and from the paths on the hill you can look straight down into anyone’s property. The properties are not usually photogenic, but this bit of roof with its ‘rib’ showing attracted my attention.
I have a black and white film version of this photograph somewhere, and it may appear here in the near future.
I’m not sure how people get on this small fishing boat. It’s not tied up at the dock. It’s anchored next to the breakwater and difficult to get to from land. Maybe someone drops the fisherperson off every morning in another boat.
The 2018 Winter Olympics were held here in Gangneung and in the neighbouring County of Pyeongchang. Skiing and similar sports were held on the mountains in Pyeongchang and stadium events such as hockey, skating, and curling were held in Gangneung.
The women’s hockey rink and a practice facility were built at the university where I work. The university’s old gymnasium was torn down to make room for the rink and the Department of Physical Education had nowhere to practise basketball etc for a couple of years. All the professors I know in the department were very unhappy. The football field was also unusable for a long time because the construction company put all their equipment on it.
The Olympics are over and the rink has been converted into a gymnasium for use by the university and the public. The conversion took a long time because the government didn’t give the university the funds to do so for many months. More complaints from the professors and students. And no one is happy about the gymnasium except the university’s PR department because maintaining such a facility is very expensive.
I don’t have a photo, but the university recently installed huge windows in the upper part of one side of the gymnasium. They did it in the hopes of letting in more light to save on the building’s enormous electricity bill. The original architect must be crying at what was done to his/her creation. It’s an extremely utilitarian and ugly job with no thought to the beauty of the building as a whole. And a student told me the new windows illuminate part of the roof but nothing more.
I don’t often visit Ojukheon because there are usually hundreds of tourists there getting in the way of slow, considered photography. But the pandemic has cut down on the number of tourists and I went on a weekday when there are usually fewer visitors. Going in the morning helps as well.
I didn’t expect to get much worth keeping because I haven’t had much success at the location in the past. Tourist places tend to be, what’s the word, bland. I mostly went to practise composition, exposure, and different film simulations on my camera. I naturally deleted a large number of photos when I got home because I was mostly just screwing around, but I did keep seven that I think are worth sharing here. I hope you think so as well.
Ojukheon has large empty areas done in brick because of the large number of tourists that are visiting the historic site at any one time. Families come in their cars, but there are also bus loads and bus loads of students and senior citizens. Until about eleven o’clock or so the grounds looked much as they appear in the photo above.
Ojukheon has a lot of hedges and flowers, so it’s quite a pleasant place to walk around, even if you have no interest in things historical.
There is an outdoor display of grave markers and stelae along with some flowers. Grave inscriptions were usually done in Chinese characters. Korean writing is often used these days.
There is a large statue of Shin Saimdang on the grounds, but I wasn’t much interested in making a photo of that. And anyway, there was a constant stream of people taking photos of each other in front of the statue. I found the curves of these stone tiles around the statue and the touch of colour provided by the flowers to be much more attractive.
Although I like this semicircle of stone bricks, I don’t know what the area is for. There’s no statue or anything there. A space for group photos?
I made this one on my way out of the historical site. On the other side of the wall are a number of unattractive restaurants and gift shops. Judging by the confused looks on the people walking past me, they must have thought I was making photos of those. One middle-aged man didn’t seem to know what sort of photo I was making, but he lifted his phone and made a snapshot of the scene before walking away. This happens now and then, especially if I’m using a tripod and appear to know what I’m doing.
I think I’ll make the effort to get on a bus and go to Ojukheon again soon. I usually avoid it because of the crowds, but I’m happy with the photos I’ve shared here and maybe I can find some scenes that I missed.