The name would suggest this is a hotel, but it’s a coffee shop that’s just opened next to Wolhwa Park in downtown Gangneung. I made this photo before the interior was completely finished, which is why the curtains are drawn. The sign, the curtains, and the colour of the wall reminds me of something you might see in a Fred Herzog photo of 1960s’ Vancouver.
This statue is in Wolhwa Park and I’ve attempted a number of times to photograph it but always been defeated by the messy surroundings. The city seems to be cleaning up the area now, but the little park with the giant gingko tree was surrounded by prefab shops (gone as of two weeks ago), an ugly green wire fence, and drunks. I finally hit upon the idea of using a short telephoto focal length to isolate some details.
This is the most unoriginal photograph in Gangneung. Every weekend hundreds of tourists show up in Wolhwa Park to eat fried chicken, stuffed dumplings (for which there are massive queues), squid ink ice cream (lines are shorter for this place), and so on. Some restaurant/cafe/takeaway place in the market area put these mirrors on their exterior wall to set them apart from all the other shops. I made this photo very early in the morning before the crowds showed up and I thought it was a clever self-portrait until I realised a bit later that these mirrors probably have their own hashtag on Instagram and about half the young women of Korea and their boyfriends have stood where I stood to make the same photo. My only consolation is that maybe my framing is a bit better than theirs . . . . And it’s black and white, so . . . Art!
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.
A train track used to run through Gangneung, but it was removed when the new high speed train rail that takes a different route was put in. The city created a new market and a park in the downtown area where the rail line used to run. The rail bridge is now a pedestrian bridge to the other side of Namdae River. I went there earlier this month to make some photos, especially of the view from the bridge.
This statue is called “Sisters” and stands at the base of the stairs and ramp that goes up to the bridge. I always thought this was a statue of a mother and a boy, but I happened to read the plaque on the day I made this photo.
The view from the side of the bridge closest to downtown. An island of rocks in the river and an island of apartments among smaller buildings.
The same rocks from a spot a little further along the bridge.
The long view from the bridge. The closest bridge is also a pedestrian bridge called “underwater bridge” because in times of bad flooding it gets submerged.
“Sisters” is at the bottom of the stairs and this statue called “Free Time” is at the top. The woman is holding an empty coffee cup and in the background there are coffee shops. Gangneung tourism seems to revolve around beaches and coffee. Both things I don’t like very much. Nice statue, though. Lots of people come to take their photos with the statue.
And there you are. I want to visit this bridge and park a few more times to see if there are any other interesting views. The park is very crowded at weekends and during the vacation season, so I might give it a pass until the weather cools off and the tourists stop coming.
For those of you interested in such things, these photos were made with a Fujifilm X-T3 and the 18-55mm kit lens. They were made by the camera, but not Straight Out Of the Camera. The camera recorded raw files which I then transferred to my computer. Once I deleted the mistakes, et cetera, I connected the camera to the computer and opened Fujifilm X Raw Studio. That program uses the camera to process the raw files into jpg files. I used the Acros film simulation for the black and white photos with +1 warming. The colour photo comes from the classic chrome simulation. So, I chose my ‘film’ after I made the photos. Very convenient. I did a bit of burning in Lightroom on the distant bridge photo but the others are untouched.