Towering Inferno

I live in a part of Gangneung that is still mostly farmland, but the city is expanding deeper and deeper into rural areas. Apartment buildings are going up at an incredible rate, even though the population is shrinking. Second homes for Seoulites and investments for speculators, perhaps. I make photos of the construction now and then, just because I pass the sites every day and I always have a camera in my hand. It’s decent composition practice as well. Getting the tower cranes aligned well is a challenge.


The tower cranes were nicely aligned one day when I was coming home from a walk.


The exterior of this complex is done and the cranes removed. You can see yellow elevators attached to the outside of the buildings. In the foreground are a dilapidated traditional home and some hothouses. These will probably be replaced by the usual convenience store, math/English/Korean cram school, and restaurant that sit in front of every apartment complex.


Building tops. The weird colours are from Kodak Ektar film, which I can’t seem to do anything with. Or the lab scanner can’t. I’ll just tell people it’s art and I laboured for hours to get those colours.


The same buildings a few days ago. Something caught on fire at the construction site and the neighbourhood was full of nasty black smoke for an hour or so. My wife saw this on her way to work and texted me. I ran out with my Canon compact and a film camera to make a few photos. The film photos are not developed yet. They probably look about the same.

Despite this awful fire being just across the road from my apartment complex, people here are still parking in the fire lanes.

Let me know if you have a fascination for apartment construction photos and I’ll get you some more. 🙂

Happy Lunar New Year.






10 thoughts on “Towering Inferno

  1. I quite like them actually and the colours remind me of the likes of Stephen Shore, so something must be going right!

    I find it fascinating that you have “math/English/Korean cram school, and restaurant that sit in front of every apartment complex”. You don’t get that over here. Schools are in very specific places, you go there. And given the underwhelming amount of night classes these days due to local council constraints, people are seemingly more content to let the system educate them rather than going out and doing it themselves (if you know what I mean).

    1. Private education beyond what students get all day in regular schools is a huge expense for parents. Everyone wants their children to go to the best middle school and then high school and then university. The university entrance exams here are brutal and some students commit suicide if they don’t get into the school of their (parents’) choice. So they spend all day in school and then all evening and part of the night at cram schools. No childhoods here.
      Thanks for the compliments on the photos, by the way. Maybe I won’t sell my cameras yet. 🙂

      1. Some much-suffering women who have to put up with filthy students. In the men’s bathrooms and smoking areas, anyway. I haven’t been to the ladies’.

      2. But what happened to their social climbing, or do you have like sub-classes that do all the menial stuff?

      3. I’m not sure there’s an interest in education. It’s about passing tests to get into the best secondary schools, the best universities (because it looks good on a job application), and then the best companies like Samsung or the civil service.

      4. Y’see that’s the problem with the world, and why humans are starting to fail – where is the natural curiosity? It isn’t being encouraged. It is all well and good being good at exams but if you don’t understand the subject from the inside out, what is the point. Even if you try to understand it, that is better than just learning by rote. Never mind, I am sure there’s an app out there that can take your exams for you thus ensuring you get on in life . .
        Am I becoming cynical, well yes – have a read of these:

        Something has to change. Babies are being given toys that are basically surrogate brains -what is wrong with a cardboard box for a child or a pencil and paper. How can you become curious about the machinations of the world when you don’t get to make your own steps in it. Humans learn by mistakes. Somehow, we’ve let the world become run by not just the geeky kids [I count myself as being one of those], but the uber-geeks – it is technology for technologies sake and there will be a price to pay.
        For all that it has made a positive good in a lot of ways, I feel that the mind, the drive, the creative desire that makes us human is somehow being homogenised by the over-reliance on technological devices . . .and here I am typing this on my ‘home computer’ . . .
        This is the sort of conversation best reserved for a few pints of good Scots beer and a roaring fire ‘;0)

      5. I’ll bring some matches if you supply the beer. 🙂 Thanks for the links. Interesting stuff. These days I only use my phone for things like maps when I’m out and about.

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