Call me Ishmael but walking around the harbor in Busan has always been a real pleasure for me, I I have spent many of nights/mornings in this part of town … usually in the company of my Korean Brother Lee Jae Yong … the textures are still there but walls are going up … the separation … a little sad… somehow I still did find some holes in the fence … the rabbit hold to my old memories … and the characters who still live there ..
My Mom’s nick name is Grand Ma Dynamite. She has an explosive character… Because she takes her grand kids to Jui Jitsu here in Montreal, visiting and photographing a school while visiting Busan, South Korea was a must. And so, consequently I got to photograph this schools session. … and so here you go! Enjoy
Oh yes … the early taste of this years first pick Korean Green tea was indeed fresh and delicious. Here are some pictures from our tea farmer who cultivates wild organic tea bushes, opposed machine harvested green tea which you can see neatly trimmed. From how it was explained to me is that the leaf has more nutrients when it grows wild, as it has more time to amass all its goodness … I thanked the picker of the tea and told her how much we appreciate her picking the tea for us, and how I hoped she would continue till the fourth and last flush. Seasonal pickers tend to move on after the 3rd … a shame since it is very good in its own right.
An introduction to some street photography I took while walking the streets of Pusan. follow up post to my Korea Then post, only difference is back then it took me 3 years to gather those images, this time around I had less than 30 days. I really enjoy walking around Pusan, in some ways my Korean Home Town. Here are some of the street shots I snapped … Enjoy. Cheers. Michael
A very long over due post … from the days when I was living in South Korea. My film days, one of the reasons it has taken me awhile to revisit my negatives. All these pictures pre-date the year 2000 … which means this is my 20 th century version. Stay tuned as I venture back back into the archives and re-edit and select … all this as I prepare to go back to South Korea for a long over due visit! stay tuned … in the mean time here is an introduction to what hopefully will grow into a book … enjoy.
I called this post ocean destiny after the ship in the harbor in one of the pictures. It was an ocean dream that first brought me to these shores of BC. Coming from Pusan, South Korea and returning to Canada this new shore soon became home. Eventually, the current brought me back to Montreal, from which it all began. I have been feeling the need to reconnect with the people that made my stay special and places that were so much a part of who I was. The experience was intense and confined to 7 days. I had packed my photo gear, few clothes and made a plan to do a quick tour with an excursion planed for one of my many happy places … Jericho beach! … And while walking the shore line … this is where I happened to see Ocean Destiny … these are a collection of pictures taken throughout my short visit.
Moments before, during and after; a series of pictures documenting a day, my day, actually yesterday, Aug 26th, 2016. From the initial bike ride in to work, to walking around the Hospital during Lunch Hour; documenting life and the construction in progress, to a journey to Dawson Colleges’ Peace Garden. A magical place. Here is how my day unfolded … Enjoy.
Many years ago I found myself staying in a small German town called Nastatten. It was Sunday morning. After mass. Every thing was closed with the exception with this cafe. I remember the scene very well … it was poetic to me …
Image 1. Iso 200. F8 at 1/60th of a second. 18mm.
St Brenden’s Church. This Catholic Church was built in 1929 by Architect D.E.Painchaud. The Church is located at 3542 Rosemont Blvd.
This my image that mixes natural and artificial light. I set up my tripod before sun set and took multiple exposures, however I did not use them to create a composite in Photoshop. The artificial light is only one bulb above the door of the Church.
Image 2. Iso 200 F5.6 at 125th of a second. 35mm.
Now known as the V Building of the Royal Victoria Hospital, this was a one of the fines Stables of the Golden Square Mile and is part of the MUHC. The main house, now the Allan Memorial Hospital, not shown here, was built for its founder Sir Hugh Allan in 1863. He commissioned Victor Roy and John Hopkins to build the house which he named Ravenscarag. The Allan’ s were very interested in horses and filled their fine stable with thoroughbreds. The V building now houses the Department of Clinical Epidemiology.
For this image the requirements were to have vertical and horizontal lines parallel to the edge of the frame. The challenge was to get the perspective right using Photoshops’ free transform tool
Image 3: Iso 200 F8 at 1/60th of a second (with flash) 18mm.
Mailroom Located in the basement of the A pavilion of the Royal Victoria Hospital which was established in 1893. The hospital was designed by Henry Saxon Snell, a Scottish architect. Although majestic on the outside, the inside of the building is dirty and neglected. Although unconfirmed, It has been said the pipes and ceiling are lined with asbestos. The circulation is poor and there is much dust and dirt everywhere. So much for a healthy environment.
Image 4. Iso 200 F22 1/3 of a second 35mm
Westmount Public Library. This building was constructed between 1898 and 1899 by the architect Robert Findlay in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
This image fulfills the requirement of compositing. Four exposures were used, combining exposures of 1/3 of a second, 1 second, 2seconds and 4 seconds for the highlights. The Iso was set at 200 and the F stop was 22. I used my 35mm lens which on a cropped sensor comes out to 52mm
Olive was another of my English students in Daejeon, South Korea. She brought me to a Northern Temple to meet with a special monk she knew. It was an interesting meeting. He spoke lots about the universe, the one Korean word I recognized. All else was lost in translation, but it was a happy meeting! The temple made an impact on me because it was in a military zone and the whole time we could hear the infantry exercises, human voices exerting themselves, rounds being fired and here the temple bell ringing in the wind. In the first picture you can see some soldiers collecting water and the little baby monk watching them. I learned that monks often adopt young children. These are the baby Buddha’s in my pictures.
What really struck me about South Korea was how industrious the people were, and how hard they worked. While living there I would photograph the world around me. Here are a couple of portraits of men working. The pipe fitter’s shop was right off the street I walked, while the shoe repair man had a small booth/box on one of the busy streets.
While living is South Korea I traveled to many Buddhist temples. This is one door I photographed with the traditional white rubber shoes monks wear in the corner. I remember buying a couple of pairs of those shoes which I wore out walking the Sunshine Coast Highway, in British Columbia. I had moved back to Canada and settled in a small cabin in Hopkins Landing. I was doing my traveling tea service at the time. I guess wearing the shoes made me feel like I was some sort of Zen monk.
I always make these pilgrimages to cemeteries. The cemeteries in Russia have always held a special interest for me. Having studies Russian literature it gave me an opportunity to have little “chats” with my hero’s, Fyodor Dostoevsky in particular. I made my first trip to St.Petersburg in 1992 but I do not have access to those pictures. At the time I made the trip with my partner at the time. I imagine those negatives are still in her basement somewhere. A shame, as that particular trip we traveled to my grandmother’s village and were privy to some interesting characters and situations. These particular pictures were taken in 2000 I believe. One of the themes I discovered was the eroticism in the depictions of death. I would like to explore this more in the future.
There was a time when I had my tea shop in Vancouver, BC. I was in Chinatown. It was an interesting time in my life. The shop, somewhat off the beaten track drew in all kinds of characters. Most days I would be sitting in my shop writing on my collection of typewriters. I would be writing the stories of my experiences. I will write more in time, but for now I will post these pictures.
Here are some pictures from the Korean Master potter Shin Yun Kyun whom I got to know while living in South Korea. He is well know for his work and style. He fires his pottery using a wood kiln which is very labor intensive. The actual firing takes up to 36 hours and the potters are not sure how many of their creations will survive. Generally about 40% survive. This is one of the reasons the pottery is expensive. However, to be able to have, hold, and use such pottery is an absolute pleasure. I feel it connects us to the elements that make up this universe.
One day while I was photographing in the market I came across “Maria”, as I learned. When I took her picture she started shouting, but not in a menacing way. Typical Busan satori (the local dialect), loud and with lots of passion. I was lucky to have some one nearby that could translate. It turned out that over the years many foreigners have photographer her, and yet she has never see or gotten a picture. Unfortunately I am also guilty. But my excuse is that I have been walking this earth with my shoe box of negatives (I have since gotten more organized). Very recently, thanks to Robert Derval and Irwin Haberman I have been given access to use a film scanner. Thanks to them “Maria” has been at last exposed. Maria I have never forgotten you…take comfort even my sister who have gotten married so long ago have not seen any pictures from their weddings. I am working on it… I am.
Lee Jae Yong, my Korean brother introduced me to this legend of a man who was famous for his hand acupuncture. He was called to Russia to cure a politicians son, and stayed for 3 years. I remember the first time I met this man a heated debate concerning the solar system and Taoism. He was probably right and I was just reacting…being young and opinionated. He has since passed on… he was probably right.
While living in Busan, South Korea I often witnessed these guys driving around bug spaying. It was well rendered in a Korean movie called “Friends” or “Chin Goo” It was the opening scene. Check out some of my portraits of Lee Jae Yong, he was one of the actors in the movie and my big brother in Korea.
While living in South Korea I was introduced to Master Potter Heh Bong and his family. He is a potter who lives not far from Pusan and owns an earth mine. He and a few employees process the clay which is then sold to other potters. What I love about Heh Bongs pottery is that it is well made and balanced. His pottery’s earth texture and tones are pleasing to the eye and hand.
I was very fortunate while living in South Korea to be invited as a guest to so many different celebrations and ceremonies. This one stands out in my memory. One of the most comfortable weddings I was invited to. Lots of fun…country side fun. Eventually I will post some of the other Korean weddings that I have shoot. Stay tuned.