2018: Top 10 Photos (6-10)

Busan, South Korea.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


A Camera and a Beer

Leica and a Beer. Iksan, 2017.

So it all started with a conversation. A simple conversation.

Myself and Nick were having a beer and talking about cameras. We did that a lot. He asked where my M3 was.

You see, I had sold it. I bought it because it was cheap and I was poor. I bought it because it was battered and that made it cheap. I bought it because I had met someone that inspired me to go back to my roots. I bought it to forget about gear for a while.

I bought it on a whim. It was one of those things I decided in five minutes after having seen it in a shop window. It was my friend’s shop. I fondled it for a while. It was both weirdly rough looking and brand new feeling at the same time. Strange.

I bought it and used it. The first roll I shot in a park near my house. I took photos as we walked. Had been a while since I’d shot film. Also been a while since I’d shot without a meter.

Was nice.

At the Park. Leica M3.

I went home and developed. Had been a long time since I’d done that as well.

At the Park. Iksan. Leica M3.

It felt great.

A month later I was in Busan. I was supposed to be taking photos for a magazine. Still life photographs of fish. I left the Ricoh I had brought in my bag and just shot a roll.

Busan. Leica M3.

Forgot about the project.

There is much to be said about a camera. About the life of a camera. Just “tools” technically but I do believe one can be more.

It is kind of like the way a car can feel like it has a soul. The longer you spend with a car, the more memories you make in it, the more it starts to feel like it is more than just an engine and seats.

This isn’t an argument for film. It has nothing to do with the medium. Film is just the fuel.

It won’t be long before our cars don’t need that either.

Flash forward back to Nick and I drinking and talking about cameras. He asked me why I’d sold the camera. I didn’t have a good reason. I bought another because I thought it would be newer and nicer since I could then afford it. Was weird though, I had always thought about that first one. The photos never were the same after that.

He saw the look on my face.

“Let’s go get it tomorrow.”

You see, I had told him that it was still at my friend’s shop. He bought it back from me but hadn’t been able to sell it. The camera looked like it had been dropped and then the previous owner had tried to sand down the dent. The camera was otherwise new. This wasn’t a sand job to show brass (equally horrible) but a butchering to get rid of a dent. Koreans don’t like this kind of thing very much.

Anyway, we went the next day and I got it back.

Four months ago now and not a day goes by I don’t fondle my M3 with a beer. It has since been painted, but I asked the damaged vulcanite be kept so I could still recognize it.

Iksan, 2017. Leica M3.

We have been busy making memories, so haven’t had too much time to blog. Ironically Nick’s 50mm Summilux now resides on the front. A more fitting combination I cannot imagine. All goes to the story.

The story of a camera.

And a beer.

Halloween, 2017. Leica M3.

Stay tuned for my next post about Halloween, 2017. Photos from – you guessed it – my M3 and Nick’s 50 ;).




A Post About Nothing

Gunsan, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron. Tmax400 at 1600. 

IMG_1175 (1)
Gunsan, South Korea. Leica Dlux 109 in Snapseed.

Gunsan, South Korea. Leica Dlux 109 in Snapseed.

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.

Definitely not.

It is just a post about some photos I took on a day trip to Gunsan.

Iksan, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron. Tmax400 at 1600.

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Iksan, South Korea. Leica Dlux 109 in Snapseed.

Iksan, South Korea. Leica Dlux 109 in Snapseed. 

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, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron. Tmax400 at 1600.

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.

Gunsa, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron. Tmax400 at 1600.

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, South Korea. Leica Dlux 109 in Snapseed. 

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.

Gunsa, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron. Tmax400 at 1600.

Gunsan, South Korea. Leica Dlux 109 in Snapseed. 

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.

Gunsan, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron. Tmax400 at 1600.

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Gunsan, South Korea. Leica Dlux 109 in Snapseed. 

Gunsan, South Korea. Leica Dlux 109 in Snapseed. 

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.

Gunsan, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron. Tmax400 at 1600.

Gunsan, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron. Tmax400 at 1600.

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.

Gunsan, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron. Tmax400 at 1600.

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.

Gunsan, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron. Tmax400 at 1600.

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.


Gunsan, South Korea. Leica Dlux 109 in Snapseed. 

Gunsan, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron. Tmax400 at 1600.

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.

Gunsan, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron. Tmax400 at 1600.

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.

They are spiders. Gunsan, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron. Tmax400 at 1600.

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 😉

August, 2017.