We all do them, even if we despise them. In fact, people have been making selfies since 1839, when they were known by the more distinguished name of self-portrait. The photos I’m sharing today are just silly, so I’ll call them selfies.
Gangmun is an area in the northeast of Gangneung and the name means ‘river opening’. It’s where a stream enters the ocean after feeding Gyeongpo Lake and it’s a tourist area. There are the obligatory raw fish restaurants and overpriced hotels, coffee shops, a lighthouse, and, a recent addition, a pedestrian bridge called Sotdae Bridge. A sotdae is a long, thin pole with carved ducks on top used in Korea’s shamanistic beliefs. There are no photos of a sotdae in this post.
The photos in this post were taken over a couple of days. On one of the days I walked along the river to Gangmun and made some photos along the way. I’ve included some of those.
I may have mentioned in an earlier post that although the railway has disappeared from the city centre, a rail bridge across the river still stands. As you can see, the river was still partly frozen when I passed this bridge in February (I’m really behind in my editing).
Here is a heavier and darker photo of the bridge. I would like to make as many photos of the rail bridge as possible this year because I like it and because I can’t be sure it will be around for much longer.
This bridge isn’t strictly necessary because there is already a bridge for vehicles that has a sidewalk on it. But things like this bring tourists and it’s an attractive thing to have in the city. I like to see how many ways I can fit its curves into the rectangular frame of a photograph.
You can go down some stairs that bring you below a boardwalk where some fishers keep their gear. I like going down there to get a different perspective on the bridges and to photograph things like this. I get lots of queer looks when I’m under the boardwalk crouching and leaning to get a good view.
One fisher is keeping some plywood up over his/her storage area with a bit of rope. I like the texture of the wood and the minimalist look of the lines. Compare with the many knots in the previous photograph.
I don’t know why these bamboo poles are suspended here. For hanging up life-jackets and fishing gear? The tall building on the right is the hotel and I think the central building is a conference centre.
Possibly tyres are supposed to be suspended here to cushion boats that are tied up.
It took a lot of micro-composing to get the hotel in a position where it doesn’t seem messily caught up in the wires. Ideally, the hotel would have no wires over it at all but to do that I’d need to being a stepladder and probably break my neck.
I waited and waited for someone wearing bright colours to walk where the man in the black jacket is but no luck. Anyone walking towards me would shoot off to my right to avoid getting in my way and people walking away from me generally stuck to the rails. People always think they are doing me a favour by dodging out of the way (and it’s a polite intention) but I usually want them to walk into view. Maybe later I can bribe a student with a free dinner to come along and walk into all my photos.
I have the same photo with two people walking on the left but I like this one better because there are no distractions from the bridge’s design. I very carefully micro-composed this photo, which was something because I didn’t have a tripod with me.
This lighthouse belongs to the military (maybe it’s not even a lighthouse) and once had a sign saying that photography is prohibited. In a tourist area. The sign is gone now and I never see soldiers there. It’s still fenced off, though.
He’s not supposed to ride bicycle there. On the right you can see the anchor point for the arch. I left the photo at a slight Dutch angle (is that racist?) to make it look a bit more action-y.
As I often do, I make one photo of a scene with people in it and then another when there are no people about. This is another photo that took a lot of effort and shifting about because I didn’t have a tripod.
I guess the sign painter was happy to distraction and skipped off before they could finish filling in all the letters.
This is the outer wall of a restaurant about ten minutes away from Gangmun. I was going to take a bus home but, after telling off the bus driver who was smoking in the bus shelter on his break, I didn’t want to get in the bus, so I walked off and called a taxi after making a few photographs of this wall.
Here are my ten favourite photos from the month of December. Lightroom tells me I made 187 photographs in the last month, from two rolls of medium format film, three rolls of 35mm film, my iPhone, and the Fuji X-Pro 1. That number doesn’t include the large number of digital photographs I deleted while editing. I don’t delete photos from roll scans even if they aren’t good because I want to use Lightroom as a computer contact sheet.
This bridge is near the downtown market area of the city and it’s not unusual to see fish hung from the wire rails to dry. I suppose it’s a good place to do it because there is often a good wind coming down the river and there is nothing blocking the sunlight.
This interesting rock formation is in the town of Jumunjin and is called ‘Son Rock’. A legend says that if you stand under this rock and make a wish it will come true. Many people used to (and probably still do) come here to wish for a child. Specifically a son. Thus the name ‘Son Rock’.
While I was making photos a Korean man showed up with two non-Korean children. This girl is about twelve or thirteen and her younger brother was about eight or nine years old. Their father(?) spoke only Korean to them and the girl spoke decent Korean to him and fluent English to her brother, who spoke fluent English but little or no Korean. I thought about asking where they are from but they are probably asked that question every day of their lives so I let it go.
There used to be a restaurant on the first floor. It’s hard to tell what building it belongs to or if it was just built between buildings. Just how many buildings are in this photo, anyway?
These ‘parking spaces’ are what the city made when cleared the main downtown streets of the grannies who were selling vegetables on the sidewalks. The old ladies show up with their stools and vegetables in the mornings and set up shop in these little spaces. Why these spaces are empty except for a tub of ginger, I don’t know.
A few years ago the city tried to increase the number of customers coming to the Central Market by building a roof over the market roads and drawing lines on the road to indicate how far into the road a stall owner could display his or her goods. You can see part of a yellow line above the hydrant. The lines are ignored, as is fire safety. Hydrants are surrounded by tubs and many fire alarms mounted on walls and pillars have drying fish hung from them.
There is also a clothing section in the market that sells rubber boots, coats, trousers, and so on. A few shops sell traditional clothes like these hanbok for children.
Near the market is this very old Gingko tree that looks beautiful in the autumn. (This photo was probably made sometime in November or possibly late October but I didn’t get the film developed until December). This photo only shows the trunk and the lower branches but it is several stories tall.
This carboard collector, who stopped for a fag at the crosswalk, figured that since his cart has wheels then it’s okay to leave it in the road. Once he finished his smoke he crossed against the light.
Daegu is an industrial city and this bus terminal is located in one of the heaviest industrial areas.
And those are the photos I thought were the best for this month. After the New Year holiday I’ll bring the computer files to the lab for printing.
This dog found a very nice place to take an afternoon nap. Did he dream of fish, I wonder?
His dream, if he had one, probably didn’t look like this. These small fish were placed in shallow baskets on a pedestrian bridge to dry.
(Zeiss Ikon, Planar 2/50, Kodak Tri-X 400)
This friend is sitting on the waste basket looking like a king of Egypt. A sleepy king.
This friend is not so lucky. Some farmer tied this stuffed bear to a post and a stick with an awful lot of rope to stop him from escaping. Is this supposed to work as a scarecrow? It unsettled me but maybe crows don’t mind.
(Zeiss Ikon, Planar 2/50, Kodak Tri-X 400)