This is a post about nothing in particular, I promise. It isn’t about anything that has been talked about a thousand times and it certainly isn’t going to be about comparing anything.
It is just a post about some photos I took on a day trip to Gunsan.
I had planned on going the previous weekend but the weather was shit. Luckily, the weather was nice on this particular day. Barely any clouds in the sky (depending on your processing of course) and no signs of rain!
Gunsan is about 30 minutes west of Iksan, where I live. It is a nice drive but nothing particularly interesting along the way. Perfect for some digital photos. If one were to be wanting to talk about such things.
Of course, I’m not.
Gunsan is cool in that it is an interesting blend of the old and the new. It is mostly old, though. It is famous in Korea for being the site of a great deal of the Japanese occupation. I like the blend of the old and the new. Kinda reminds me of film photography in the modern age. It is a little slow, in Gunsan, but peaceful at the same time.
A sense of nostalgia without feeling lost in time. I like that.
(Just a reminder, this is a post about a city and a trip to said city.)
Gunsan is also famous for its Museum of Modern History. Ironically, being a new and beautifully “modern” building it stands in stark contrast to the surrounding area that still shows hints of the occupation. Seems somehow out of place. I’m not sure the two things “go” together. It always baffles me how to put things like this together. That being said, I prefer this approach now as opposed to trying to make the modern “look” old.
I found it a little strange walking around that area. Some things looked old but were obviously new. It was almost like they were trying to pretend to be nostalgic and traditional yet were very obviously modern. I don’t mind this of course, but somehow I prefer a more subtle approach to this sort of thing.
Sometimes I think our “memories” (I put memories in quotations here as most of us have no actual memories of such times) are more extravagant than the actuality of how things were. Reminds me of the guys who try and mimic Daido Moriyama’s classic film look on digital. The photos become way too over the top and a lot more contrasty than his ever were. Pushed Tmax or Trix really isn’t that contrasty unless you print it. Even then, it isn’t as much as our “memories” seem to tell us.
Got a little off topic there, I apologize.
It is like when there is an extremely new cafe inside a traditionally styled Korean house. It isn’t quite “right” is it. Something about it plays with my idea of nostalgia and confuses it.
There isn’t anything intrinsically wrong with this notion. I mean, people can do as they like and like what they like. I used to be the type to build a modern cafe inside a traditional house and think it was great. Not sure where along the line I changed.
I have accepted the fact that being completely traditional isn’t really possible in the modern world. There has to be an air conditioner (or should be) or fan in a traditional Korean restaurant for convenience. Some things are really better, now.
Anyway, Gunsan is cool in that it doesn’t feel like it has completely lost the plot in terms of this mix of nostalgia and modernism. It is close to becoming “too much” but not quite there yet. Not that this post is at all related to photography, but I feel like I am right around where Gunsan is on this scale if you were to compare it to photography.
I am slightly confused but trying to find my balance. I am trying to compartmentalize things. I am trying to separate my photographic brain sections into more clearly defined areas.
It is sort of akin to the Seven Eleven I saw in Jeonju once. It was built like a traditional Korean house. It is obviously not a traditional Korean house, is probably more expensive than a traditional Korean house, and most definitely takes at least as much or more effort to build in the style of a traditional Korean house than in the style of a modern Seven Eleven. Fancy frock or not, in the end, it is a Seven Eleven. And it wasn’t a “real” representation of a Korean house. It maybe had a traditional-ish roof that upon closer inspection was littered with fake engravings and plastic bits.
Why should it look like a traditional Korean house in this case? Just make it look like a Seven Eleven. EVERYONE knows it’s a Seven Eleven. Build an actual traditional Korean store. That might actually be cool. But I digress. I need to go try the new film preset in Snapseed. Heard it really does a good job at mimicking Portra!!
Well, that was how my mind wondered during my recent trip to Gunsan. A wild ride, I’m sure. Hopefully you all followed along 😉