Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Dinner and Hospitality on a Snowy Night in Gwangju


There is something special, in my opinion, about having a Christmas dinner on a snowy night.  And so it was last night at The First Alleyway in Gwangju.  Eating great food, and sharing a table with an entertaining and intelligent couple was a fine way to spend the evening during this Christmas dinner celebration.

It just didn't stop snowing, much to the chagrin of my dinner companion, but a pure delight for me.

Snowy Night in Gwangju
© Mark Eaton

While taking in the sites of the district, we popped into Manila Town to warm up a bit.  Any time spent at Manila Town is time well spent because of the warmth and hospitality offered to guests.  

I like the fact that there are places that I can visit to get my feet back on the ground.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Why I Enjoy Abstract Photography

I appreciate abstract photography because it is mysterious.  I like it because abstract scenes are taken from the ordinary and the everyday hustle and bustle of life that is missed when living is viewed too large.  I suppose it can be missed when viewed with too narrow a prism also.
 
  Reflections Past
© Mark Eaton

I enjoy abstract photography because no matter how the final image is viewed, the viewer's head tilts, the eyebrows furrow; the piece creates a mystery.  For some, there is confusion.  I like the fact that people work to solve the mystery, or even approach it as though solving an equation. 

Angles and Lines
© Mark Eaton

For me, abstract work doesn't have distracting elements, nor is it complicated.  It touches a part of my being that acknowledges that I was at a certain place at a certain time, and that it was I who was touched by something that I thought beautiful.  Of all the billions of people in the world, I saw and felt something that was important, or meaningful.

It forces me to admit that I, too, miss so much.  Too much, actually.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Journey

Over at the Phaidon site, Steve McCurry discusses some of his philosophy about life and the concept of when to take photographs.  It is best remembered that it is the journey of life that usually presents the most memorable times, not the destination.

To watch the interview, visit the Phaidon site here.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Surgery

Fate and fortune are strange creatures.  I had a teaching position in Jinan, which is the capital city of Shandong Province in China.  During the first week of October there was a week long national holiday in the Middle Kingdom.  I made plans to return to South Korea during the holiday so that I could pick up my winter clothes that were to have been shipped to me previously, but were not.

To make the story more palatable, and to not share the bloody and gory details, it became necessary for me to have surgery in South Korea.  Fortunately, two doctors whom I have known for many years, Dr. Seo and Dr. Shim, were involved in this process.  I'll always be grateful for their dedication and skill.

The surgery took place at Dr. Shim's Dream Surgery hospital located near the Ecograd Hotel in Suncheon.  In the photograph below, the nurse and I are in front of Dr. Shim's biography sign in the hospital.  The nurse...and the meds...did much to ease the pain and discomfort.



I don't remember who took this photo, because I was more than slightly out of the real world at the time. 

The recovery process is taking longer than I want, but I suppose anyone who has experienced this would feel the same.  Wisdom would dictate to greatly curtail, or even cease, all social activities.  Alas, I am not wise, especially while under the influence of my prescription medicine.  

A few days ago I wrote about the Thanksgiving dinner that was held at the house where I am convalescing.  I had some concerns the day before the dinner about whether I could endure a full day of cooking and activities, and I expressed my concerns to the matron of the house.  I even suggested that we cancel the dinner, but I was assured that everything would be alright.  Besides, the turkey had been purchased and was awaiting the oven.  It turned out that my concerns were premonitions unheeded.  

During the course of the dinner, I merrily went about my tasks.  Everyone was smiling and laughing and having a good time, or so my observations told me.  I hadn't taken my usual nap to recharge my batteries, and I began to run out of energy.  I didn't learn this until a week after the dinner, but I had infuriated every Korean at the dinner.  I was told that when I was washing the dishes I was making everyone angry.  Well, I explained, we could have then eaten our desserts on the table sans the eating utensils, plus I was the one doing the work while everyone else continued to enjoy the company.  The dishes were similarly washed in the very same sink during last year's dinner without peril, hence my great confusion.
After dessert, I went to another room to sit alone so that I could gain some strength.  I was running on empty, the motor was operating on fumes.  I was completely unaware of the roiled atmosphere that permeated the house.  As mentioned above, I didn't learn any of this until a week after the dinner.

I pressed the matron of the house for specifics as to why the anger at the man recovering from surgery who was doing his best to see that everyone at the party was being tended to.  "It is your character.  Your American character is unusual.  You are unusual," was the response.

I asked the matron of the house if she recalled a significant event that recently occurred in my life.  No?!  The surgery?!  The friends who attended the dinner all visited me in the hospital, and all are aware that I'm still leaking, stinking, and taking prescription medicine.  With their university diplomas hanging on their walls, no one could put two and two together?  No one thought to sidle up to me, and to say, "I have this covered.  Go sit down."  No one thought to ask, "Big Guy, are you ok?  What's going on?  How are you feeling, man?"  All present are said to be Christian who attend services weekly.  So much for helping those in need.  So much for the diplomas.
I do kick myself for not listening to my concerns and for not heeding the premonitions.

Self Portrait:  The Unusual Man
© Mark Eaton

I am scheduled to go to Gwangju this weekend to attend a farewell party for a dear friend who is leaving the peninsular country known as South Korea.  I think I'll be up for it, but I'll decide that at the time.  Except for performing my commissioned work, this unusual man will then recuse himself from social interaction lest the sensibilities of the society is angered or inconvenienced.  Back into the shadow goes the photographer.  And then home again.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Waon - 와온

As I sat in my seat on the 97 bus to Waon this afternoon, the old woman couldn't hide her surprise as she looked me over from head to toe a couple of times.  She had no way of knowing, I believe, that my blue jeans were flannel-lined, but she very well noticed that I was wearing my Teva sandals and a short sleeved shirt.  My Columbia winter coat was draped over my camera bag, which was on my lap during the trip to Waon.

I suppose I am a man of contradictions.

I traveled to Waon for two reasons:  1) To experience some solitude, and 2) To experiment with abstract compositions by taking a series of three shots of a subject using long exposure times.

Earlier in 2014, I documented how the residents were busy constructing new fisheries at Suncheon Bay.  

 공장
© Mark Eaton

I was surprised to see that two women were working on a barge by prepping bamboo poles to which the nets will be attached.  The work is never done for those who earn their keep by working the bay.

To read the story I mentioned above, visit this page here.  To view more photographs of the construction of a fishery, go to my website here.  Scroll down to the third gallery image, and then click on that gallery image to see the photographs.

By the way, I did experience some solitude, and I was able to take a few shots with the camera.  

On the way back to Suncheon from Waon, there was another old woman looking at me with some surprise also, but that was because I was singing not quite to myself during the bus ride.  Too, I may have chuckled a time or two because of some long ago memory.



Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Holiday Rituals Along with an Abstract Photography Tip

As Thanksgiving holidays shake out, this one was nice.  Given the last minute decision making and planning that is part of the Korean persona, the Thanksgiving dinner held at the home where I am convalescing from surgery showed again what can be accomplished with a force of will and an ability to direct chaotic ant-like beings to the proper place at the proper time.  Relatively speaking.

I was the only expat in attendance.  Not too surprising since all of my expat friends in this area have moved on to other locales.  Plus, it was a last minute event, which can cause angst and  create general discombobulation among those whose lives are more orderly or regimented.  More pointedly, the back-stabbing knave from the American northwest was not mentioned once by any of the Koreans in attendance.  Handling a double edged sword unwisely or clumsily is not appropriate, especially when dealing with those who are friends.

Anyway, I was in charge of the turkey, the mashed potatoes, and the dinner rolls.

Turkey
 Cooked Turkey
© Mark Eaton

Long ago I was taught that most people who read from left to right will view a photograph beginning at the upper left corner of an image.  The viewer will proceed downward diagonally, and will eventually be led to the lower left hand corner.  When I compose my abstract photography, I strive to keep this in mind.  In the image above, the tips of the turkey legs connect directly with the diagonal line flowing downward from the left so that the eyes are then moving downward diagonally to the lower left hand corner.  What I consider important to the composition is connected.  

Even with the muted periphery, there are several interesting points, interesting to me at least, that allows a viewer's eyes to sweep around the image.  At this point in my life, I instinctively compose my abstract work in this manner.  A guy can't even take a holiday photo without life's lessons influencing the outcome.  

A woman whose home has my photographs on her walls was photographing the turkey, too.  She stopped for a moment to look at what I was doing.  She then stood next to me to see what I was seeing.  I stepped back, and she proceeded to take my place.  She is as tall as I am, so her view was similar.  "Oh, I like this better.  Thank you, Mark," she said to me. 

Back to the dinner party.  There was a lot of conversation, and there was much laughter.  Apple pie, ice cream, and more food for those who still were hungry.  However, the meds, the discomfort of the body fighting constantly to heal itself, and the fact that I didn't take time to nap during the day all worked together to drain the energy from my tank.  I was told later that my face showed it.  I slipped away from the festivities to sit alone.   


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Air Quality in Jinan - A Photo Story

I had the good fortune to live in Jinan, which is the capital of Shandong Province in China.  Jinan is known as the City of Springs, because of its many freshwater springs as I recently discussed in a previous blog post here.  I learned quickly that the people who reside in Jinan are very friendly and very giving.  I was simply amazed by the hospitality and the kindness shown to me on any given day while I was out and about in the city.  Sure, there were the grumpy sour pusses, but they were few and far between.  

Unfortunately, my stay in Jinan was drastically cut short due to a medical emergency.  To make a long story bearable, or at least palatable, it was necessary for me to undergo emergency surgery in South Korea while I was vacationing in that country that I called home for many years.

I wasn't able to take many photographs during my too brief stay in China.  Some of the photos I did take showed the air quality in Jinan during the day.  Jinan has many industries, and the waste products released into the air heavily pollutes the air.  Even during a sunny day, the sky is ash gray.  Only occasionally did the sun shine through the pollution, and even then it was a dim orb that resembled a weak light bulb.  There was a distinct taste to the air also.  Prior to arriving in Jinan, I purchased a box of 3M 8210 Particulate Respirator masks, otherwise known as N95 masks, in anticipation of having to breathe the air while out in public.

I could gauge the quality of the air at any given time by visiting the Air Quality Index website that provides information about the air quality as well as the weather.  In fact, the site can provide the real time air quality index, or AQI, for just about any city.  To view the AQI of Jinan, click on the link here.  What is the AQI of your favorite city?

Photographing Jinan to specifically show the air quality was interesting for me.  But it was shocking to me, also.  Not too far from my home, there was a park that sits atop a mountain that allowed me to view my part of the city.  Up to a point.  As can be seen, visibility was greatly reduced because of the air pollution.

My Neighborhood
© Mark Eaton

A Sunny Day
© Mark Eaton

I didn't have to walk too far around my neighborhood to find some sort of industrial plant.

Progress
© Mark Eaton

While taking a long view of the canal in Jinan, it wasn't difficult to remember that quality of the air in the city.

Tour Boats
© Mark Eaton

Perhaps in the not too distant future I will be healthy enough to return to China.  There more pressing concern, however, is what those who are in power will do to try to restore China to its natural beauty.  Does the leadership have the will to make the changes necessary to substantially reduce pollution?  For the sake of the people who live there, I hope so.

To view more of my photographs of Jinan and the air quality of the city, please visit my website:  The Air We Breathe.
    

Sunday, November 2, 2014

2014 Christmas and Winter Holiday Deal

As fate would have it, I will be in South Korea this winter holiday season recuperating from surgery.  This will allow me to do my work with photography much more freely than if I were convalescing in China.  I miss China, but South Korea is the best place in the world for me to have my medical and dental needs taken care of. 

You know the old saying, "If life gives you lemons, then make lemonade."  So here it is:  Buyers and collectors who purchase any of my prints during November 2014 will receive a coffee mug that has one of my prints on the mug.

Three Mugs
© Mark Eaton


In the photograph above, the mug on the far right is my personal mug from which I consume all manner of liquids.  The other two mugs belong to a friend who was kind enough to let me photograph them for this special.

Please visit my photography website at Mark Eaton Photography to view my work.  By email, let me know the title of the print for pricing, size, and shipping details.  Let me know the title of the image you want printed on the mug.  In the event that an image is not available, I will let you know.
Each print will be printed on Epson using archival inks, and each print will be sprayed with a protective coating also.  I will send the print and the mug to you directly from the printer. 
  
I'm presenting this special at this time in order for everyone to avoid the mad crush of the Christmas and winter holiday season.  Thank you for your consideration.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Michael Kazemi Exhibits at "2014 - The 9th Global Gathering" at Busan Citizens Park

Michael Kazemi, who is from Tabriz, Iran, will be exhibiting several of his photographs at "2014 - The 9th Global Gathering."  The event will be hosted both by Busan Metropolitan City and Busan Foundation for International Activities (BFIA), and it will be held at Busan Citizens Park in South Korea.

This exhibition is going to be Michael's largest as he will be displaying 31 of his photographs of Busan.

Lighting
© Michael Kazemi

Global Gathering is intended to celebrate the richness and diversity that foreign residents living in Busan bring to the region.  It allows many people from many different backgrounds to show off their talents to those who visit the varying venues at the event.

It is important to note that this is only a one day event.  It will be held on Saturday, October 18, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Busan Citizens Park.  To put it another way, it will only be on 2014/10/18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Night Talk
© Michael Kazemi

I like Michael's photographic work quite a bit, because while many of his compositions are serene and peaceful, they simultaneously have a dynamic and energetic pulse that creates excitement and anticipation.

Melody of Water and Light
© Michael Kazemi


Seeds of Light
© Michael Kazemi

To learn more about "2014 - The 9th Global Gathering," and to get directions to Busan Citizens Park, visit the BFIA website here.
A reader will appreciate that the BFIA website has a lot of information that can be helpful to foreign residents living in Busan.  Take a look around; there just might be something for you.

A final image for all to enjoy:

 
 Dancing of Clouds
© Michael Kazemi




Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Hammer Falls

I lived on the east side of Jinan, which is the capital city of Shandong Province in China, in an area that is experiencing a significant amount of construction.  Most obvious are the numerous apartment complexes towering towards the gray polluted sky.  

My Neighborhood
© Mark Eaton

While exploring my little part of the world in Jinan during the day, I often heard booms that echoed off the mountains that are found in the area.  I thought construction crews were blasting into the mountains as some of the newly finished apartment buildings clearly abut the mountainous boundaries.

Then one day I discovered the source of the booms.  A large crane raised a large and obviously heavy pile driver.  The Chinese version of a pile driver looks a bit different than those I've seen from the western world, but evidently no less effective.  

The pile driver is targeted over a specific spot.  With a metallic snap, the driver is released.  The object falls silently, but there is an impressive explosive sound as it slams its target further into the ground.  And the ground shakes.  The process is repeated time and time again.

The Hammer Falls
© Mark Eaton

When several cranes are in operation simultaneously, it sounds as if a giant is walking unsteadily across the land.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Canal and the Springs in Jinan

The blast furnace known as Jinan, which is the capital of Shandong Province in China, has more than seventy springs.  Many of those springs feed the large canal that flows through the city.

Residents of Jinan often visit the springs at the canal to haul up freshwater from the springs.  The water then is poured into jugs and large water bottles.  

Bottles
© Mark Eaton

Fetching Spring Water
© Mark Eaton

The canal is lined by weeping willows, and it is large enough for boats to navigate.  A reader will note that the large view of the canal in Jinan shows the polluted air that casts an interesting light over the entire region of the province. 

Tour Boats
© Mark Eaton


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Art at the Yeosu Expo in South Korea

Unlike far too many previous Olympics, Expos, and other international events with extravagantly constructed stadiums and buildings only to be abandoned and unused following their concluding acts, the Yeosu Expo, which was held in 2012, continues to be a dynamic and vibrant venue that regularly features many different activities and events.  I almost always travel to the Expo from Suncheon by train, and the line conveniently ends at the train station that is located directly across from the Expo.  

I went to the Yeosu Expo yesterday, August 15, which was Independence Day in South Korea.  The train was very crowded, and the Expo was also crowded, too.  Amidst all of the hustle and bustle of the day, I couldn't help but see that there was a sculpture exhibition in one of the event rooms.  The exhibition room is very noticeable, because just outside the entrance is a very large sculpture that commands one's attention.  The artists involved created the sculptures from discarded metals and plastics that otherwise would have been thrown away in some manner.  The sculptures vary in size from the large piece that I mentioned above to a small piece about the size of my thumb.  

The exhibition will end on Sunday, September 14, 2014, so there is plenty of time to travel to the Expo in Yeosu to see it.  The following photographs show some of the sculptures that are showing at the event.

Sculpture at Yeosu Expo
© Mark Eaton

Sculpture at Yeosu Expo 2
© Mark Eaton

Sculpture at Yeosu Expo 3
© Mark Eaton

You might want to bring a change of clothes to the Expo.  Why?  Well, you just might get a bit wet when you paddle the kayak around near the Big O.  There is a brand new guesthouse on the premises for those who travel far from home.  I hope the event planners continue to feature other works of art in the future.

 


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Landscapes of Korea -- A Photography Book by John Steele

John Steele is one of the nicest people anyone can hope to meet anywhere in the world.  In January of 2014, I interviewed him about his photography.  Take a look at the interview here: John Steele -- The Man with Heart and Soul.  Based in Seoul, he travels the country with his trusted four-legged assistant, Holly.

Recently, John self-published a photography book from blurb.com that is titled, Landscapes of Korea.  From the bustling metropolis to the quiet rural areas, he shows many of those areas not frequented by tourists.  I like his style.

To preview and purchase the book, visit John's blurb page here.  It is my opinion that considering the quality of his work, the pricing for the photography book is very good.    

The image below shows the photographs used for the book covers.

Landscapes of Korea
© John Steele

Congratulations to John Steele.  I look forward to seeing his photography for many years to come.


Monday, July 28, 2014

The Fifth Jinan International Photography Biennial to be Conducted in November 2014

Jinan, which is the capital city of Shandong Province in China, appears to be an important place for photography.  Beginning November 1, 2014, the Fifth Jinan International Photography Biennial will be held in Jinan.  Unfortunately, I cannot find a reference as to where the event will be held.  If anyone does know the specific location, please inform me.


Update - 2014/10/27:  Chunyang Zhang, who lives in Jinan, informed me in the comments section below this article that the biennial will be held at Shandong University of Art and Design.  Thank you very much for sharing this information!  This is what she wrote:

"It will be held at Shandong University of Art & Design, in Chinese 山东工艺美院..."


Photography submissions are being accepted until September 20, 2014.  There is an academic theme, and there is an exhibition theme, though I'll have you read all about it for yourself.

To learn about the biennial, to read how submit images for the photo competitions, and to find out who is involved in this, please visit the English language website here.

To access the main website that is written in Chinese, please click this link.  There is an "English" button at the top of the page; however, it didn't work for me.  If it works for you, please let me know.

At the first website I shared, there is a brief mention about Shandong Province being the birthplace of pinhole imaging.  I did a bit of research about that claim, and I found an interesting article written by Jon Grepstad about the history of pinhole imaging and pinhole photography.  His article can be read at photo.net located here.

I'll see you there!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Art In Suncheon

Though a beautiful city, Suncheon doesn't have a large collection of art galleries in the city proper.  A few can be found near the fashion district, and there are a couple here and there outside of the city.  

My favorite art gallery to visit in Suncheon doesn't look like a gallery, nor is it near the fashion district.  It is located along the Dongcheon, which is the river that cuts through the city.  After the building was erected a few short years ago, I decided to go into the place after taking a long walk on the river walk, because all the signs said that it was a restaurant and a cafe.  I thought I would catch my breath and have something cold to drink.  The art hit me as soon as I walked through the doors.  All along the walls some sort of art can be found.  There were even a couple of small installations, too.

To make a long story bearable, I was able to meet the artist and his wife who own and operate the restaurant/cafe/gallery.  He has done a lot of work both inside and outside of the building.  Once the couple learned that I like photography, they said that they would show me their gallery located downstairs.  It is nice, and the work that is exhibited is very, very nice.  I won't spoil it for you, so you will have to take a look for yourself.

I've taken some of my Korean friends to the gallery, and they have asked me how I found out about it since it isn't obvious.  I replied that I found out about it the same way I learned about many places in this area:  I walk to it, bus to it, or have someone drive me to it, and I start talking to people.

Here are a couple of photographs of the gallery.

Resto Cafe
© Mark Eaton


Resto Cafe II
© Mark Eaton

It is located on the eastern side of the Dongcheon.  If you walk along the river walk, be it northward or southward, you will see it for this simple reason:  the river walk was constructed in such a way that it raises out of the river basin to the front of the building.  And then it drops back into the basin.  You can drive there, of course.

I would ask about seeing the art in the gallery only after the hostess seated me, and only after I ordered coffee or a meal.  It is a nice way for everyone to become familiar with everyone. 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Artifacts of Teaching

A teacher can collect a lot of things over the course of a career.  These are just some realia, props, visual aids, gadgets, and gizmos I have used while teaching all manner of students in South Korea.  If I had a favorite, it would be the rabbit skeleton.  

Unknown to me, a rabbit had died in our flower garden; however, I didn't discover it until I cleaned and prepared the garden for winter.  It is possible that it clashed with one of the feral cats that frequent the neighborhood.  I cooked and cleaned the rabbit.  It is covered until I teach a science component to my students.  My students have never seen anything like it.

The Artifacts of Teaching
© Mark Eaton

I was a licensed private teacher in Suncheon, but that is all but finished at this time.  I shall move to a different exotic land in the not too distant future.  To be honest, it is time to move on.

A person who is knowledgeable about Korean culture will appreciate the one symbolic feature in the image above.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Aoife Casey -- On A Visual Journey

Aoife Casey is a visual artist whose creative works of art draws me into a space that is positive and vibrant.

Self Portrait 1
© Aoife Casey

Originally from Dublin, Aoife has been living in Seoul since March 2013.  Her love for the arts is due to the influence of her parents at an early age.  Her room was decorated with beautiful hand painted fairy tale scenes composed by her mother.  It was her mother who encouraged Aoife to draw as often as possible.  Her father always had his camera with him.  Being surrounded by such creativity and such respect for the arts, it would have been surprising if Aoife didn't pursue her own artistic journey.

Having graduated from Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), and from National College of Art and Design (NCAD), Aoife has a solid background in the arts.  How she illustrates part of her journey is best described using her own words:

"I've tried out so many different types of avenues, visually, and have studied sculpture, painting, photography, textile and fashion design, permaculture, installations and sound.  Much like tone of voice, my medium changed a lot over the years."

After moving to South Korea, Aoife's primary tool to create her visual work is the camera.  As yet, she doesn't have a studio in Seoul, so the camera is very convenient for her.  Not surprisingly, she makes many of her own costumes and props for her compositions even though the physical space required for such productions is limited.

 Jessica for Eternal Romantic
© Aoife Casey

Aoife's greatest inspiration comes from the people she meets.  She feels inspired to capture the dynamics and the stories of the people she meets.  She wants to capture their energy, vibrancy, beauty, and vulnerabilities.  In my opinion, it is apparent that she and her subjects connect so very well, and that she is able to show the absolute humanness of her subjects so very well.  How does she do that?

"I'm a total romantic, too, and I feel that comes across in my work.  Growing up, my walls were covered in Pre-Raphaelite posters and poems.  Personally, I feel living is such a crazy ride in terms of emotions, thoughts, and feelings; some good, some bad, some hard to understand, that I have a need to explore, negotiate, and assess these issues through art."

She understands her subjects, and they understand her.  That connection creates an electric and emotional bond.

She also draws inspiration from the natural environment in her work.  She incorporates the natural environment into her work by using props made from nature and natural things, or by laying an image to add depth and texture to the composition.

 Spring Lay Down 1
© Aoife Casey

Jayun and Jui for Hope
© Aoife Casey

On a personal note, I became aware of Aoife and her work after she began publicizing and then publishing some photographs from The Natural Beauty Project.  As is true with many people who come to Korea, Aoife sought to understand why so many Korean women have cosmetic surgery.  The Natural Beauty Project, as she describes it, was an investigation to learn and to understand why Korean women would want to change their appearance.  Fifty women participated in the project, and she came to realize from them the cultural pressures and expectations that so many face.  

Freya Han for The Natural Beauty Project Seoul
© Aoife Casey

Currently, Aoife is a monthly contributor to CultureM Magazine, which is an international online cultural magazine published in South Korea.  The magazine discusses many different things about Korean culture, music, fashion, visual arts, and cultural events.  To read and view her contributions to CultureM Magaine, please click on this link.

She is also involved in a collaborative project with fellow artist and friend, Jennifer Murphy, who happens to be in Ireland.  It is literally an international collaborative effort.  The Affinity is the title of the project.  Each month a theme is chosen, and the two artists submit one or two photographs in response to the theme.  The project can be seen on a Facebook page:  The Affinity.  For those who don't Facebook, one response to the Essence theme is shown below.

Essence for The Affinity
© Aoife Casey

In response to my question about her goals, Aoife replied that her goal is to be expressive and happy.  Overall, her aim is to tell a visual story through a single image, or through a group of images. 

She is looking for ways to challenge her work.  With her photographic work, she is working with more than one subject at a time, plus she is working towards portraying male subjects.  The challenge is exciting and completely different for her. 

It is also her desire to complete an artist residency sometime in the future.

To view more of Aoife's artwork, visit her website here.  (Please note that the website is undergoing some major maintenance work at this time, so try again later if the site is not accessible at this moment.)

Her work can also be seen at her photography blog here.

The art of Aoife Casey does fill me with happiness.  Her work is timeless, really.  By way of conclusion, her thoughts about her visual journey:

"I really feel sharing my work with a broad audience, and for them to enjoy it is how it comes alive.  I hope to look back on my work in ten years and be proud of the visual journey I have taken."






Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Aline Smithson Presents One Week of Korean Photography at Lenscratch

Over at her blog, Lenscratch, Aline Smithson is presenting a week of Korean photography.  The photographer Hye-Ryoung Min will be curating this project.  I have enjoyed Ms. Min's photographic work for a few years now, and I am very interested to learn which Korean photographers will be featured during this week long event.

Hye-Ryoung Min starts off the week by explaining the state of Korean photography, and by showing some of her work.  To view her article and her work, go to the Lenscratch blog here.  

I hope everyone has a great week!



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The People of the Mud Volume 2

Not too long ago I published Volume 2 of The People of the Mud at my website.  The People of the Mud is but one of two parts of my longitudinal study of Suncheon Bay.  You may recall that the other component of the study is comprised of The Boats of Suncheon Bay.

In Volume 2, I wanted to present a sense of vastness, size, and perspective.  Suncheon Bay, and its mudflats that are exposed during low tide, is an excellent venue to show those qualities.  

  Perspective and Size XIII
© Mark Eaton

Because many of the fisheries on Suncheon Bay are distant from the shore, it is often difficult to determine if a harvester is working the nets or the traps or not.  By way of example is the photograph below at the composition titled, "Kneeling in Front of the Trap."

Kneeling in Front of the Trap
© Mark Eaton

At the apex of the fishery in the photograph above is a harvester kneeling in front of a trap.  In fact, the harvester is on hands and knees retrieving seafood from the trap.  A casual glance out onto the bay most likely will not allow a person to even realize someone is working a fishery.  A determined and systematic look onto the bay can allow a person to see some sort of dark figure and/or movement at a fishery.  Harvesters don't lollygag while working, hence movement will be detected sooner rather than later. 

To view this edition of the project, please visit my website:  The People of the Mud Volume 2.



Thursday, May 1, 2014

Construction of a Fishery on Suncheon Bay

Any person who has taken the time to get to know me, an arduous task I do admit, will come to understand that I do like being in, on, under, and around water, the ocean, and the sea.  I am fortunate to live in the peninsular country of South Korea, because the seas are not all that far away from just about any location in the country.  I feel even more fortunate that I live so very close to Suncheon Bay, because while it is peaceful and serene, it is simultaneously a dynamic and energetic place.  Suncheon Bay is an important and essential habitat for many different species of animals, and it is also an important fishery.

I witnessed on several occasions this spring the dynamic nature of the bay.  While visiting the village of Waon, which is located on the eastern pincer of Suncheon Bay (appropriate since the bay is very well known for its crab population), I saw the construction of some fisheries.  Some were constructed very close to the main dock at Waon, while the others were a distance from the shore.

As part of my longitudinal study of the people of the mud,  I wrote this at my website about my experiences and observations:

"On makeshift factories atop barges that are moored to shore, the women quickly built the fences made of bamboo and nets. Meanwhile, the men sledded to the locations of the new fisheries to erect those fences made by the women."

 공장
© Mark Eaton

Constructing a Fishery
© Mark Eaton

Various species of seafood will be trapped and harvested at these fisheries.  To see more of my photographic study of this construction, please visit my website:  The People of the Mud.





Friday, April 11, 2014

Foreign Photographers Residing in Korea to Exhibit Photography at Photo & Imaging 2014 in Seoul

Due to the focused and diligent work of Dylan Goldby, 50 foreign residents will be showing their photography at Photo & Imaging 2014 at the COEX Convention and Exhibition Center in Seoul.  In the history of the Photo & Imaging show, this is the first time that foreign residents of South Korea will be exhibiting as a group.  

The theme is, "The Korea I Love - A Foreigner's View of Korea."  Each photographer will be showing one piece at the show.  I am honored and humbled to be a part of this group exhibition.  This is a very important event for all involved, because there are tens of thousands of visitors viewing all manner of things related to photography as presented by close to 200 different companies.

Photo & Imaging 2014 will open on Thursday, 17 April 2014, and it will conclude on Sunday, 20 April 2014 at 5 p.m.

"Peaceful" is the title of my photograph that will be on display.

 Peaceful
© Mark Eaton

To read some interesting history about the Photo & Imaging concept, including its origin, visit the Photo Event Calendar website here.

The address for COEX Convention and Exhibition Center, as well as a map, can be seen at the eventegg site here.

The tradeshowz website also has some information about Photo & Imaging 2014, including phone numbers.  Take a look here.

I look forward to attending the event.  I also look forward to meeting other photographers there, and to see what is new in the world of photography.



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Corey Malcolm Lajeunesse -- Bringing Art to Life

I met Corey Malcolm Lajeunesse in 2012 during the opening reception of the International Artists Community's group exhibition in Seoul called, "The Nude Collection."  We both had photographs exhibited at this event at Gallery Golmok in Itaewon, Seoul.  I liked his creativity and his artwork.  In fact, it was his photograph that was used as the cover image for the event publication.

© Corey Malcolm Lajeunesse

Corey is from Saskatchewan in Canada.  He has been an English teacher in South Korea for about eight years.  He is a man of commitment; when he says he will do something, he will do it.  I respect that in a person. 

He began pencil drawing when he was a child.  When he was about 10 years of age he obtained his first camera for the purpose of using a photo as a reference for his drawings.  Throughout his school years, he was responsible for the photographs placed in the junior high school and high school yearbooks.  He became more involved with photography as a young adult.  As it turned out, he was the designated photographer when meeting with friends.

After four years residing in South Korea, Corey made the commitment to improve his photographic skills.  He took a two-day photography workshop, and he took the lessons learned to heart.  He was especially touched by the "shooting in the studio."  Soon afterwards he purchased his own home-studio set; he has been using that home studio for some time now.  As his knowledge increased, his philosophy of art evolved.  In his own words:

"...I found that I was going from being a 'visual reproducer' to actually having original ideas, and I've been running with it."

Corey told me he laughed a bit when he read that I referred to him as a painter.  He doesn't think so, but I've seen some of his paintings.  But then he developed the idea of body painting and developing themed compositions with models who have been painted at the studio.  In my opinion, the results have been remarkable.  I was intrigued by his Spirit of Nature project.  This involved painting Kachina masks on models.  I especially liked his Super Hero theme. Corey will exhibit some of his Super Hero compositions in a group exhibition in July 2014 as part of the Rock, Scissors, Paper art exhibition that will be held at Gallery I located in Insadong in Seoul.  Read more about the exhibit on the event page over at Facebook here.

He is genuinely a modest man, Corey, to the point of being self deprecating about his skills.  I disagree, of course, especially in light of the fact that many artists and models collaborate with him on projects.  His process of creativity is not complicated.  In Corey's own words:

"I get an idea...and then ask myself, "How can I bring this idea to life?"  My reward is simply in seeing that I have taken something from inside my mind, and made it tangible for others to see, and draw their own conclusions."  

Corey hasn't a website at this time, but he tells me that he is putting one together.  I look forward to that time when his site is launched, because I believe many people will enjoy and appreciate his artistic vision.  However, some of his photography and paintings can be found on his art page at Facebook.  To see his Facebook page, visit Scorpio Studio.

Additionally, Corey also invites people to contact via his personal Facebook page that is found here.




 



Monday, March 24, 2014

Miru Kim Exhibits The Camel's Way in Seoul in 2014

The photographer and artist Miru Kim has spent the last couple of years traveling various deserts around the world.  Ms. Kim will be exhibiting many of her photographs from these excursions in Seoul at Trunk Gallery.  The exhibition is titled, The Camel's Way, and this specific show is the first time this project is being shown in South Korea.

Trunk Gallery, located in Jongno-gu in Seoul, is hosting the exhibition beginning Thursday, 27 March 2014.  The opening reception is being held at the gallery on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.  The exhibition will conclude 30 April 2014.

This is the address and phone number for Trunk Gallery:

Trunk Gallery
128-3 Sogyeok-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul.
Phone:  +82-02-3210-1233

Ms. Kim has created an event page over at Facebook that has more details about the exhibition as well as a map showing the location of the gallery.  For those who use Facebook, take a look at the event page here.

Miru Kim's website shows her past projects as well as her very impressive biography and CV.  Her website can be accessed by clicking here.

Last February in 2013, I wrote a brief article about The Camel's Way being exhibited in Taiwan that can be read here.  My article featured a very brief video clip of the exhibition that is still relevant to the subject of the exhibition overall.  To view the video clip, go to Miru Kim's Vimeo page here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Fishing Village -- Photo for the Day

Even during the winter season I enjoy visiting fishing villages along the coastal regions of South Korea.  I look forward to spring and the renewal and reawakening of life.  I especially look forward to being on the water.

A Fishing Village
© Mark Eaton

To view some of my work with water and the sea, take a look at some of my archived projects at my website.  Specifically, my projects titled, The People of the Mud and The Boats of Suncheon Bay, can be seen here.



Saturday, February 1, 2014

Scenes Along the Dongcheon Part 2

Yesterday afternoon I took a very long and much needed walk along the Dongcheon.  The Dongcheon is a river that flows through the city in which I live, and it feeds into Suncheon Bay.  

I have hiked and biked from my home to Suncheon Bay by traveling along the river a few times; however, at the present time no one is being permitted into the bay area on the Suncheon side.  It is hoped that by preventing anyone from entering the coastal areas of the bay that the A1 Avian Influenza will not gain a foothold and/or not spread to other areas.  Along the trail I hiked yesterday, there was a young man guarding and preventing non-residents from passing the barrier that has been placed across the trail.

These are some of the scenes I found interesting during my walk:

Bird Atop the Machine
© Mark Eaton

The Two Bridges
© Mark Eaton

Perspectives
© Mark Eaton

Road Above the Road
© Mark Eaton

I have yet to grow weary taking in the scenes along the Dongcheon. 


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Photo for the Day: Water Falling Stop Action

Later in 2014 I will publish more of my Water and the Sea project.  I'm drawn to water by its beauty and its mystery.

Water Falling Stop Action
© Mark Eaton