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 ..
I was introduced to this special lady in a most wonderful way and that was in her restaurant which she has been running for over 40 years. She is cherished by many poets and artists for her famous Pajeon (Korean pizza they call it, but the name doesn’t do it justice). She made us the great fresh seafood Pajeon and served us a bowl of great home made Makgeolli, also called Dong Dong Jew; a mild rice wine. This was worth the trip I tell you! You have to understand this was one of my favorite beverages while I was living in South Korea. I even made a pilgrimage where some of the best stuff is made. When I returned to Canada, I would also try my hand at making it for myself. Not so easy. The first time I used the wrong rice and made more of a cement which you had to use a spoon! Anyways …
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
After a 17 year absence this trip to Busan, South Korea was really about reconnecting with my dear friends and partners in the tea business. Park Jin Kuen and Kim Jeon Yeon run a small tea shop in Busan, South Korea. This year, while visiting I was introduced to their unique community and managed to take some interesting environmental portraits of shop keepers, tea farmers and Master Potter’s. Each portraits is a story, so stay tuned for more pictures on these wonderful people. Enjoy.Cheers
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.
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.
This was probably the strangest tea shop in the world. I was introduced by some members of Jazz Family. The Jazz bar a neighborhood bar in the Dong Dae Shing Dong area where I spent my first year when I was teaching. It was a place I stumbled upon by accident and where I found brothers and sisters…in essence a family far from home. And from here I was introduced to the real Korea. That’s how I came to be introduced to Doe Yo Mun and his tea shop. Apparently, the name means the place you go to give up your possessions before to go towards enlightenment…funny he warned me about opening a tea room. He had an inheritance and could afford to loose money. Stubborn, I still went ahead…and that’s my story. Here are a few pictures from one of his his tea shop sessions.
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.