From the Archive: Standing Tall

The organising of my photo archive continues, and I’ve recently finished the 2009 folders. These two photos are similar in composition so I’m posting them at the same time.

Anmok, 2009.

This fellow paused in his walk along the river to stand on a hill and watch the river mouth.

Near Hapyeong Fields, Gangneung, 2009.

I’m not sure three pine trees constitute a copse or a bluff, but some years ago the city planted a number of these near the seaside where most of the tourists come.

I’m ready to start going through my 2010 folders, but the first folder contains hundreds of pictures I made at an English camp for children. It’s going to take hours . . . .

From the Archive: Experiments

I started taking photography classes soon after arriving in Gangneung, and my enthusiasm for photography led me to try out things at home. Usually they were failures, but the point of experimenting is to get the bad stuff behind you and learn what works.

My photo teacher thought that this photo was amateurish and didn’t like it much. Maybe, but I still like it eleven years on. I set up the camera in front of this triangle of light on the balcony wall and asked the missus to hold her hand in front of the camera. Then I held my hand so that its shadow fell across her hand. Hours of fun.

I’m not sure what this second photo is about. I titled it “Tomato Awaits its Fate” back in 2007, which is an admittedly dumb title. I might have been experimenting with lines and points at the time and came up with this. It’s not a great photo, but I think I kept it t remind me that I should keep trying new things. Especially important these days when I seem to keep going to the same locations over and over.

From the Archive: Self-Portrait

Hard at Work, 2006

Today was a national holiday celebrating the creation of the Korean alphabet in the middle of the 15th century by King Sejong the Great and his scholars. I suppose lots of children participated in writing activities (I have no idea, really), but I took the opportunity to go through photos on my hard drive and in my binders. I sorted photos from 2006 on my hard drive by subject instead of date, and I went through all my 8×10 prints to decide what to keep and what to get rid of. I kept less than half of my prints. Some of you are probably crying, “You should never throw away prints!”, but, believe me, some prints are just begging to be in the bin. I seem to have gone through some phases where I was printing everything at 8×10.

For the above photo, I set my Nikon FM3a on a tripod or a chair, set the timer, and then pretended to be asleep on the job.

From the Archive: Hahoe Mask Dance Festival

I am still going through the photo archive on my hard drive, working my way from older photos to the present day. I’m now at 2006. Although I had good cameras at the time (Contax 645, Nikon D70, Nikon FM3a), I didn’t have much skill because there is almost nothing worth sharing from that period. There are many photos of family and friends thanks to the zero(?) cost of digital photography though, so that’s good.

One photo worth sharing was made when I travelled to the city of Andong with my photo class to the see the Hahoe Mask Dance Festival. I wasn’t especially interested in the dances because I saw them many times when I lived in Andong. And I don’t like dancing that much. But the festival had an area where you could buy food, local products, souvenirs, and even handcrafted traditional masks.

Mask Carving, Hahoe Mask Dance Festival, Andong. 2005

This was the only photo I thought was worth keeping from the day. I can’t be certain, but I think I was using an FM3a and the film was probably Ilford Delta 400.

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 . . . .