2019: Roll 4: Hanok Village

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

Roll 4. It was a wild ride, this one.

Well, kinda.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

My wife, her friend, and I decided to go to Jeonju’s Hanook Village to shoot a video and take some photos. My wife’s friend has basically become my videographer. She’s been great. If I were a little less lazy about the editing part we’d be golden.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

The day started off rough with my wife breaking her traditional shoes. Considering how much they were I think it should be labeled a national tragedy.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

As per usual, after the shoe crisis was resolved we headed straight to a coffee shop. Starbucks, in this case. I’d gotten a free meal there from one of my Leica Akadamie students. Not sure what happened on the photo above. The flare seems to have gotten her right in the eye. She hates that photo, ha.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

Hanook Village in Jeonju has become a tourist hotbed in the past couple of years. Every person there is walking around in a rented Korean tradition hanbok and a selfie stick.

I should have mounted my Leica to my newly acquired Gorillapod thing.

To fit in.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

After the coffee we escaped the tourist nightmare to a high point (on top of an arcade) that my wife had read about. It was definitely a big improvement from the streets below.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

As you might be able to guess, she hated the first one ๐Ÿ˜‰ I say that, even though it was HER idea to make it horror movie-esque.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica Sofort, Leica Colour Instax film.

So, one of the main points of the video was to shoot a little bit with this:

Leica Sofort.

Before the pitchforks come out and you blast me for the fact that this is basically a Fuji camera in a nice dress hear me out:

While it might be very well that, it is nicer looking in my opinion haha. That goes a long way with whether or not I’ll pick up a camera in the first place. Full review on this camera coming soon ๐Ÿ˜‰

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

She was happy, and I guess that is most important innit?

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

After the top of the arcade we made our way back into the busy streets.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

Unless you’re Korean this photo probably won’t mean much to you. The chap in the photo is wearing a traditional Korean police officer’s uniform. The woman is wearing a traditional Korean prostitute’s dress. I thought this was an interesting choice for a leisurely Sunday stroll.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

In my opinion, the best place to take photos in Hanook Maeul (Village) is the fort-like (someone may correct me) structure in the middle. It costs a couple of thousand won to get in and it is an interesting place to shoot.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

It definitely feels a more “traditional” than the streets outside. It does suffer from some modern touches though like bathroom signs and “do not enter” signs. These signs once ruined one of my favourite photos.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

While it is better than the outside streets, it is still touristy inside the gates of the fort. Lots of this kind of thing to contend with.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

I basically spend my time here chasing people until they disappear from the cell phones and rubbish bins. These little girls were cute in their traditional garb.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

He was pretty good too, aside from his Nike’s, ha. Standing guard quite well, I reckon. He didn’t move for the two or so minutes I was here waiting for my wife to finish gift shopping.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

She really, really wanted me to get her shoes out of this photo. I blamed the 35mm frame lines on the MP using the 40mm lens. Confusing stuff, that.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

She did take some photos herself as well. More on that during the Sofort review;)

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

On our first pass around the edge of the fort we saw this couple. I thought it was kinda neat that they decided to go 1920s with their look instead of 1600s. I later found out that this was due to the popularity of a Korean drama.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

There wasn’t much to see after that couple. A whole lot of kids running around. One guy recognized me from Instagram though, my wife gets a kick out of that when it happens.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

At the end of our loop I saw this couple again. I was still under the impression that this was their magic idea so I asked them to take a couple of portraits. I still think they look cool ๐Ÿ˜‰

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

As always, there is only ever one bell of the ball in my eyes. My wife was a star on this dreary day in Jeonju. With her “real” modern hanbook she took photos with several people during the day. No rented garbage here.

The above was my favourite photo of the day.

I’m biased, of course.

Somewhere between Iksan and Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron.
HP5 @3200.

I forgot to include the photos I took before we left our house with Seonju in her hanbok:

Iksan, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Iksan, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Iksan, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

Oh…

And the last photo of the roll as per usual:

Iksan, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

The kitters ๐Ÿ˜‰

2018: Top 10 Photos (1-5)

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

5

This is a photo of my mom. My mom came to Korea for the first time in 2018. I cherished that time with her. We didn’t have a great relationship when I was young. She’s a bit like Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter. Tons of heart but extremely strict and can be borderline scary. She was a high school teacher and the type that you’d imagine still might have a belt lying around. That said, she has softened much in her old age. I took this after my wedding reception. She was hungover. My mom literally never drinks. Well, Junku bro and friends had her drinking at my reception and she was feeling the effects. She stayed like this for a whole day. She’s coming back this may. I can’t wait.

Iksan, South Korea. July 2018.

4

I shared this in my last post as well. I absolutely love this photo. When my wife cleans the floors she dances like a ballerina. It is one of the most beautiful and graceful things I’ve ever seen. She clears the floors of obstructions, plays a classical piano arrangement and floats through the rooms with a cloth and some water. I’d never been able to get a very good photo during the routine. She’s embarrassed by it. I haven’t a clue why.

Iksan, South Korea. February 2018.

3

This was also taken during the unusual snow storms that plagued Iksan for a couple of days in 2018. I was on my way to class when I saw this loan man just kind of standing there contemplating his plight. I took this without much care to be honest. I was cold and had no gloves so I wasn’t much in the mood to be taking photos. I’m glad I did. Prints of this now hang in many countries throughout the world. It was my most requested photo from this year. Generally I don’t agree with those numbers but in this case, I love this photo.

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

2

So the last two photos were taken one right after the other with the above having been taken second.

I took this photo of my wife on our wedding day. I didn’t take many photos during the day, perhaps 10. Every time I see this photo I am filled with happiness. She was talking to a friend or something but I couldn’t see anything but her.

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

1

This is my favourite photo of 2018. It isn’t the best photo I’ve ever taken technically. It is a photo that I would describe as an amalgamation of compromises. I took the photo in our then unfinished living room. The lighting was a simple placeholder light that struggled to light the entire room. I had 400 speed Ilford film loaded in my camera and no flash. I’d shot the previous 15 photos on the roll at 400 because I’d dreamed of my wedding photos being “clean.” Realizing this wasn’t going to work I just said f%$k it and decided to shoot this at what I’d thought to be 3200 (no meter on my camera). I think continued to take 6 photos of her during the next 3-5 minutes (number 2 on this list being also taken during that time) at what I judged to be 3200. I developed the film as such and just threw out the rest of the negatives. I only wanted these photos. They are grainy, and show the lack of dynamic range in the film at 3200. I don’t care. I wanted to get those photos. Do I wish they were digital? Not at all. I can’t tell you how much happier it makes me to look through my book of negatives and see these photos. Those pieces of film were there with me at that moment. Cheesy? Maybe.

I could give a f%$k.

Hope you enjoyed this year’s top 10. I didn’t take many photos this year. Around 500 in total. That’s okay. I love the photos I did get. Nowadays I’m more than happy to get 2-3 photos a year I consider to be good.

Much love.

Josh

Darkroom, Eggleston, and Upcoming Wedding Post

L9994610
Darkroom Light. Iksan, South Korea.

I’ve been busy. Busy getting married, finishing my house. I had guests in the house until yesterday. Not much time for anything. That doesn’t even include dodging the construction dust long enough to write a post.

I don’t do this often. Post in colour I mean. This is my darkroom light. My wife said she chose it because it reminded her of Eggleston. Only the opposite. Slightly confused, I asked where she’d heard of Eggleston. She told me after we had met she’d spent several weekends reading about the masters. She’s as cool they come.

Scan-180522-0003-Edit
Iksan, South Korea.

This is her. I took this on our wedding day. She was certainly a site for sore eyes. She’s wearing a traditional Korean dress called a hanbok. I wore one as well, ha.

I want to make a longer post about the wedding when I have time. Hopefully I will have some now that things from the wedding are winding down. We had lots of guests. Junku Nishimura was here, Matt Martin, Aikbeng Chia. We had a blast. Lots of drinking. Lots and lots of drinking.

Anyway, that’s it for the update. On a side note, anyone have any suggestions for an enlarger? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Iksan, South Korea.

June 2018.

L9994617
Iksan, 2018.

Cherry Blossoms and a Girl

Gyeongju, South Korea. Leica M4, Canon 35mm 1.8 LTM.

I noticed her. The park was full of tourists. The cherry blossom season in Gyeongju is a big event in Korea. The small lake had a winding path circling it. Strangely, no one walked up to the lake.

She did, though. Wearing a hanbok (traditional Korean dress) like out of a dynasty far removed she walked up to the edge of the lake. Simply taking a break from walking perhaps. I don’t know. To me, she almost looked a ghost of a time long past. Remembering the time playing in the blossoms as if they were snow with her friends.

A different time.

I followed her, and she stopped several times. Always looking as though remembering. Always seeing something I wasn’t.

A different time.

Gyeongju, South Korea. April 2017.