2018: Top 10 Photos (6-10)

Busan, South Korea.

10

So, here goes. My top ten photos of 2018. Well, in fact this post will just go through 6-10 in reverse order.

Above is number 10. Admittedly this year was slim pickings for street photography. I quite literally didn’t do much of it. In February I participated in the 24 hour project in Busan. That was probably the only time I really concentrated on taking street photos in any seriousness. I took the above in Busan, but not during that event. My wife and I went back later for a housing convention. These people were having their eyes massaged. Honestly, this type of photo I’ve seen hundreds of times. I don’t really want to like it but I kind of do. Their blank expressions perfectly mimicked my own boredom at that moment. Picking tiles, not my thing.

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

9

This is a photo of one of my bros and mentors, Junku Nishimura, and my wife Seonju. They have become quite close. He treats me like a little brother so I guess they spend lots of their time discussing my ineptness at being a real man, ha. He is easily my favourite photographer. I think it is easy to see the influence. He came to Korea in May for our wedding even though it was the busiest time of his year. I think their pose was great. Like some noir movie. Also in one of my favourite places in Iksan, a place we just call Palm Tree because of the outside neon palm tree shaped light. It’s gone now.

8

I’m not sure many people will agree with this one. It is just a photo of a tree. I remember that day well. It had snowed all night and was a proper snow storm in the afternoon as well. I took photos of this tree often as I left my house as a kind of warm up (guess I’m still an athlete at heart). I moved from this place shortly after this. I am happy I have this photo. It is an important memory.

Iksan, South Korea. August, 2018.

7

Well, you’ll start to see a theme from here on out. This is my wife. I make no excuses for this. I love taking photos of my wife. You may be surprised it is a colour photo. This is one of those moments I was so happy I had a digital camera instead of a film one. The sunset behind her was so great. The light from an oncoming car light her face. One of those moments I could never recreate.

Iksan, South Korea.

6

Ironically this is from the same roll as the mushroom cloud tree above. Three photos from that roll were among my favourite ten of the year. This photo is a good example of why I think I need to shoot film the majority of the time. The was the sixth photo of six I took of the same scene. The first five were rubbish. This one, ended up being one of my favourites of the year. Interesting that. If I’d been shooting digital I’d have just left after the first looked trash. With film, I had the hope that any one of them would be good. It is kind of the opposite of what most people would think. I guess that is just the strange way my brain works. One thing I’ve come to realize however is that considering all the cameras I change one thing always stays similar. Of my best photos the best digital photos are usually from small cameras. Exactly the opposite with film. Go figure.

That was 6-10 of my favourite photos this year. You can probably guess some of the rest if you’ve followed me long enough. Have a go in the comments 😉

Also, I wanted to thank everyone for the overwhelming support with me picking the blog back up again.

Much love.

Josh

Back Stories: The Dog

000035-Edit
Iksan, South Korea. Sometime in 2011.
In 2011 I switched almost entirely back to film. In that time I was starting to understand that gear wasn’t that important. I was starting to get over the idea of needing every camera I saw. For much of that year I carried around nothing but a Ricoh GR21. It spent most of its time on the seat of my car or around my neck.

At that time I was living in the small Korean town of Iksan in the Jeolla province. I moved back there this year. It is about an hour from Seoul by train.

One day, I was driving to the train station. It was something I did often. I would generally leave my car at the train station during the day while I went to Seoul. At a red light, I saw this dog coming around the corner of a building. It was dragging its broken chain behind it. I stopped the car and leaned out the window to take the photo. I was almost too fast as I had to wait for the dog to be better framed against the building. I liked its white coat against the grey of the wall.

I’m weird when it comes to photography and taking photos. I only took 5 or 6 photos the rest of the weekend in Seoul. I knew I had already taken the one I would remember.

Iksan, South Korea.

Sometime in 2011.

_________________________________________________________________

As a side note, I generally steer people away from buying the Ricoh GR21. While it may be my favorite camera I have ever used it is also far too unreliable for its price. I had three that year all of which developed some type of serious problem. I now use the Ricoh GRD (original from 2006) with the 21mm adapter instead of this now. I don’t actually think the digital Ricoh is more reliable but it costs only a hundred or so dollars to replace whereas the Gr21 is easily ten times that. Also would like to thank all the people that emailed me this week to congratulate me for the Lensculture portfolio or to say they were coming to Korea and want to meet up. Also, the story of this photo came as a request via email. Always, feel free to email me with any question or comment you may have. jt in seoul@gmail.com.

Project: Newfoundland

Newfoundland, Canada.
Newfoundland, Canada.

After taking a long time to think about a small, but emotional project I did this summer it is finally live on my portfolio website. No words, just 13 photos from one of the most important trips I’ve taken in my life.

The essay is here:

http://www.jtwhitephotography.com/projects-newfoundland

Newfoundland, Canada.
Newfoundland, Canada.

A Negative

Newfoundland, Canada. August 2013.
Newfoundland, Canada. August 2013.

Yesterday, I was going through negatives I hadn’t yet scanned. The first shot on one roll was this one. I hadn’t noticed it before, because it was the only photo I took on my trip home with this camera. A Leica M5, someone had given me months before I’m not sure why this was the only photo I took with it on the trip. Not sure it matters.

Nearly three and a half years since my father passed, this was the first and only time I’ve visited his grave. A hand made wooden cross and plaque, it’s weathered several winters and was still there for me to see. Even with the time that’s passed I still pick up the phone sometimes as if to call him. I still wake up in the middle of the night and think he’s still here. I once wanted that feeling to go away, but now, I’m not sure I do.

It’s easy to say he’s still here in spirit. I suppose that’s true. He’s certainly still here in me. More and more often I catch myself saying something or doing something that reminds me of him. Strange that, it’s most often things I hated him doing that I do myself. Strange.

I used to shirk at such moments. Not anymore though. I’ve long since realized that the things that once annoyed me about my father are the things that made him who he was. I once read, “Any man can be a father, but it takes a great man to be a Dad.” I’m not sure I’ve read anything so true. Those tiny annoyances I once hated, and now mimic, are what made him a Dad. Made him my Dad. His uniqueness is still here as it can be seen once or twice a day in the mannerisms of his son.

I’m glad I found this negative. I took many photos of this scene and of his grave. For some reason or another I didn’t like any of them. I didn’t feel anything when I looked at them.

I felt a lot when I saw this.

Seoul, South Korea.

December 2013.

The Kids: GTA

GTA
“GTA” From the project, “The Kids”

After watching a couple of disturbing videos today, I’m fucking astonished at what’s happened to the kids of this generation. Astonished.

Seeing kids act out video games on the streets. Knocking out unsuspecting teachers and laughing about it. Really fucking funny.

Whose to blame? Probably all of us. This generation is defined by fine lines of pressure and stress relief. Video games relieve stress.

If you’re pissed off in a game like GTA, you can punch a teacher. Knock him out. It’s funny and helps relieve stress.

Learned behavior.

How can a 14 year old differentiate between the video game and real life. Why are they being asked to? A18 ratings don’t stop kids from playing these games. Ratings are a fucking cop out.

It’s easy for me to say I would have been smarter than these kids. It’s easy for me to say I would have easily been able to see the difference between the real world and the one being played out on a screen.

Nothing is easy anymore.

It’s also easy to say that the kids doing these things are hooligans or “gangstas.” Fuck that, they were all once just kids on the playground. They learned to act like this.

The kid in this photo is a great kid. I know him well.

That being said, the non nonchalant-ness of a gesture may not be that serious but I remember laughing it off as I took the photo.

We’re all to fucking blame for this.

Shit’s got to change.

From my ongoing project, “The Kids”

http://www.jtwhitephotography.com/projects-the-kids

Simple Things

Chad.
Chad.

Better times.

Always searching for something better. Miss the times you had. Look forward to the times you’re going to have.

South Korea
South Korea

Hard to live in the present.

Cages
Cages

Nights at the cages after work.

Drinking.

Simple things.

Hard to live in the present. Never feels as sentimental as the past or as hopeful as the future.

Isaac
Isaac

Hard to appreciate until it’s already a new present.

The Culture: Equipment

Lari. From the project, "The Culture"
Lari. From the project, “The Culture” Leica M5, 40mm Summicron Neopan 400 pushed to 1600.

People have been emailing me asking me questions about the different equipment I used to shoot the project, The Culture that recently appeared on my portfolio. I’ve decided that instead of writing the same thing over and over again in emails I would just make a short blog post outlining the equipment I used for the project.

The project was shot primarily on two cameras and on two types of film. I wish I had shot the entire thing with one camera, one lens, and one type of film but it wasn’t really realistic for the type of project it was. Also, during such a long process I would switch between the two cameras to stir a bit of creativity if needed.

Brad. Leica M5, 40mm Summicron. Neopan 400 pushed to 1600.
Brad. Leica M5, 40mm Summicron. Neopan 400 pushed to 1600.

The first of the cameras was a Leica M5 with the lowly 40mm Summicron attached. The ugly duckling pair did a fine job for me and this is still the camera lens  I carry every day. I used Neopan 400 pushed to 1600 in the Leica the entire time.

I used this camera / lens / film combination for 80 percent of the project. The negatives were scanned by my friend Tyler.

DoKyeong's Tiger. Leica M5, 40mm Summicron. Neopan 400 pushed to 1600.
DoKyeong’s Tiger. Leica M5, 40mm Summicron. Neopan 400 pushed to 1600.

I wanted the scans to be dirty.

Cultures. Ricoh GR1V, HP5 pushed to 1600.
Cultures. Ricoh GR1V, HP5 pushed to 1600.

The second camera I used was the Ricoh GR1V. It was the camera I kept in my pocked most of the time when I was with the family. It was less intimidating than the Leica and gave a bit of a different look. I shot HP5 in the Ricoh also pushed to 1600.

"Hands" Ricoh GR1V HP5 pushed to 1600.
“Hands” Ricoh GR1V HP5 pushed to 1600.

The Ricoh photos were much sharper than those from the Leica. I suppose, during the project I started to use the Leica when I wanted a shallower depth of field. It became a little about feeling what I wanted the the photo to look like and using the right camera based on my feeling. It’s better to keep your gear to a minimum and also to keep it consistent when shooting this kind of project. The more looks you have the less together your project will feel. If I had my time back I would have shot the entire thing on one camera, but it’s too late for that now.

"Machine" Ricoh GR1V, HP5 pushed to 1600.
“Machine” Ricoh GR1V, HP5 pushed to 1600.

Live and learn.

A photo of me during the project with my M5, 40mm Summicron attached.
A photo of me during the project with my M5, 40mm Summicron attached. c.Tyler Hayward

If you have any questions about the gear I used or anything about the project as a whole feel free to ask in the comment section or send me an email at jtinseoul@gmail.com

The project can be seen in it’s entirety here:

http://www.jtwhitephotography.com/projects-the-culture