Monday, June 25, 2012

Follow My Path: A walk on the streets of Taereung.

     Lugging my gear the day after meeting Urbex photographers, I felt like I did not accomplish much.  Sure, I've taken some pictures.  Sure, I have some mental notes.  Sure, I've learned some by watching them.  But since I was used to taking pictures alone, yet was on a group that night, I felt like I have not done what I was meant to do... take pictures.

     With that lousy feeling, heavy load, and lack of sleep, I decided to take the subway to Gunja.  I know a place to sleep there.  It's been a while since I took the subway.  I missed the times when I stop by any random station and scout for scenes to take pictures of.  So I changed my mind about sleeping and decided to get off at Taereung station.  Let the groggy adventure begin!

     Every photographer knows one drawback of interchangeable lenses is getting dust into the camera while switching lenses.  When outside, I try to change lenses in a public bathroom.  It's mostly wet there.  At least in theory, there's supposed to be lesser dust floating around.

     I sat at the waiting area in the station, deciding which lens should I use at this time.  I only have two choices so it's not that hard.  I also took the time to rearrange what's in my bag.  Tucking away hotshoe cord and shutter release, while making filters and blower more accessible.  In front of me was an ad of "Man of Lamancha" or something.  I didn't mind the ad.  What caught my attention was the people passing by.

I took a couple more pictures of people passing in front of this ad but chose this one for humor.

     I really didn't now what to do once I got outside.  When to shoot, what to shoot, and how to shoot.  I admit, I'm more ignorant with street photography than the rest of the other fields.  But that's all the more reason to start shooting and get experience.  But since it's daylight, I try to avoid taking pictures of people.  I'm still traumatized from when that woman confronted me back in Gangnam.  In my current condition, I rather avoid such encounters.

     It's not easy to spot something ordinary and ignored, but interesting to photograph.  But at least I have more confidence looking for them instead of capturing people's "emotions" and "moment" in the open (as what I undersand street photography's core is).

'Cause White is Pretty?
I noticed some parts of this building was partially slapped with white paint.  I mean slapped because if it was a real paint job, it's a lousy one.  I should say, "smeared" than "slapped."

Better But Not A Door
Passing by an apartment garage, I saw this behind some cars and gasped at the lighting.  People noticed me and got curious.  The problem is some of them misinterpreted my reaction, and protested as I enter the garage/parking lot.  I think they thought I was a car thief... with a camera.

It always amuses me when people passing by, stop and wonder what I'm doing.

     Shooting these odd things, of course people passing by will notice me.  Usually wondering what the heck I'm taking those pictures of ordinary things for.  I'm used to it now.  But I noticed a middle-aged man passing by me, noticed me, and slowed down his pacing.  After taking pictures of one thing, I saw him in a short distance ahead of me.  When I passed by him, I felt something weird going on with this guy.  It's not threatening but just strange.  I stopped by to take a picture of another odd thing.  He passed by me.  Finally stopping near a paper tree, peeling out the bark bit-by-bit.  The time I was about to walk past him, he approached me.

     Now I may have stayed quite a while here in Korea.  And I may speak Korean, but not fluently.  Usually, I can speak what I want to say, but I rarely understand what they say to me.  Whatever this "ajoshi" (uncle) said, I could only understand some.  It went something like this:
(ellipses indicate words lost as I didn't understand the rest of them)
"Are you taking pictures of...?"
"You see, when you walk down this road to... and turn left at... and then... there's a place where you can find... that I think would interest you."
"If you find it inaccessible, there's another path when you turn behind... and there will be a stretch of... where you can station yourself.  It's ... and it sways... that should make everything and in itself a good subject."
"Weekends is the most preferable because there are no..."
"It's a spectacle and when I saw this, I kept asking, "Where are those people with cameras?"... This will not last long.  That's why I wish there are people who'll take pictures."
"Just remember, weekends is the best.  You're allowed to."

     Yes, I'm stupid.  That's all I understood from his passionate expression of this location.  Most of my replies were patronizing.  But only because I didn't understand much of what he said.  But in return, I tried to recall his directions, vague as they may be.

     I failed to find what this guy was talking about.  But I'll come back and take my chance again.  Until then, I'll just make the best of what I can get.

The Shot of Envy
Waiting for the street lights to change, a group of 5 bikers were about to cross.  I secretly yearned to have a decent bike and ride along with these guys.  But this day, I was a photographer.  Capture the image and savor the moment.

     I ended up at another park filled with old men playing some board games.  I was very glad that they didn't mind me taking pictures of them.  My problem was finding a good spot to shoot, as each game was surrounded by many old men/spectators.  I didn't want to push my luck.  So I gave up and look for other stuff to shoot.  There's always a next time.

I find this guy interesting as he sits alone in the middle of the park and away from the chaos.  I love his expression.  The playground makes me think he's recalling the years of his youth.

No Rest For The Young
Waiting sheds are scattered around South Korea, but I noticed it isn't much appreciated by the young.  Only old people stop to sit and chat, which makes these nicely crafted places empty and lonely.
     While writing this blog, I Googled "Taereung" (making sure I spelled it right) and found out there are a lot of interesting spots in this part of the city.  I will surely visit this place again.

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