This is the men’s quarters of the Heo Estate, known as sarangbang in Korean. Like many other Korean historical sites, no furniture has been added, leaving the buildings feeling empty and lifeless.
There is nothing about these skies that makes them like hipsters. I made the photos using the Hipstamatic application on my iPhone.
I don’t know if the ferry in the first photo is being used or not. It’s floating, but there is a lot of water in the bottom. I saw it on the other side of the wetland one day, but it might have been blown over there by a storm that passed through the area.
The boat in the second photo is sitting on concrete supports at the end of a wharf. Until recently you could walk out on it to take pictures, but now it’s roped off. The city is probably worried someone is going to go down through the old wood.
Some parts of the park have high reed barriers put up to protect nesting birds from noisy and invasive tourists. These little windows allow you to look inside the protected areas. I didn’t see any birds, but I did rather like this stand of trees.
I’ve been listening to a number of interviews with Ralph Gibson and several times he has talked about showing his photos to Dorothea Lange when he was her darkroom assistant. She looked at them and said, “You have no point of departure.” “This is true,” he replied. “What is a point of departure?” Basically, she explained, it’s having a purpose to your photography. This purpose will allow you to see things you might not otherwise if you are just wandering about.
My point of departure for a project I am working on is making black and white 1:1 photos of traditional Korean objects and scenes. And to do it in a minimalist or abstract way with, ideally, the frame split in two and each section filled with nothing unnecessary included. The photo above is something like I’m looking for, with a large section of grass in one section and a sliver of wall and the game in the other.
This is closer to what I have in mind when I think about the project.
This doesn’t exactly match the idea I have in my head, but it’s not a bad photo and the composition is quite simple. Even if it doesn’t make it into the final project, it’s still a picture I will print and enjoy.
This is close to the ideal again. Most of the photo is filled with the gatehouse wall and then a small amount of the frame is filled with the gate door. But, the two parts of the frame are perhaps too similar to be interesting to the project.
It’s good to have a point of departure and I think I can manage the technical side of it. The problem is the thematic point of departure. What is it I want to say with my photos? At the moment I’m making well-composed records of things I’ve seen, but I’m not sure that I’m making any sort of statement about the things I’ve seen. And this is what separates good photography from great photography. Maybe I’ll never get there. That’s okay, because I enjoy what I’m doing, but I want to take it just that little step further . . . .
I was interested in the cloud and not the buildings when I made this photo. The buildings are fairly ugly, but the skyline here is more varied than most other locations along the river. In most places it’s just long lines of concrete boxes.
A scene from my walk to school. I only made this one frame because the house owner’s great dane starting barking at me, though ‘barking’ seems a weak word for the noise a bloody huge animal like that makes.
I took a taxi all the way to the Confucian academy, but walked back to town. On the way I made a few random photos that were worth keeping.