Gwangju Blog

A helping hand

A Helping Hand

 

This double-exposed photo was taken in downtown Gwangju two months ago. At that time, the leaves still clung to the trees which lines the downtown drag. The first frost had just hit, with the brisk afternoon wind bringing hints of more to come. Around downtown, Christmas lights were up, and despite the new-found chill, folks encountered the camera with a surprising degree of tolerance.

This photo shows two images, a multiple-exposure done on my ageless Nikon FE2. The first can clearly be seen in the dark silhouette of the metal man in the center of the frame. Contrasted against the white buildings behind, he reaches towards the camera with hand set to grab this voyeuristic device. However, he remains frozen in his stance of unfulfilled desire.

The second overlapping image was taken just several meters away along a guardrail. Its outstretched hands also feature predominately against the falling leaves above. However, this image contains a contrasting tone in both emotion and light. For while they highlight themselves against the man’s face, their featureless curves seem both inoffensive and otherworldly. As such, they seem to come from a different plane, one alien to the troubles felt in the first image. They are aptly suited to give this man what he desires most; a hand in need.

Finding both of these images within such close proximity to each other may speak to the subtle ways in which the static forms and faces we encounter throughout our daily lives may form their own relational narratives if just given the chance. The visual culture in Gwangju is ripe with such poetic contradictions if only we are warm, and slow enough, to look.

Here’s to what awaits our discovery in the year ahead!

[Image taken using a Nikon FE2 with a 35mm f1.4 shooting Kodak T-max 100. All multiple exposures were done in camera without post-processing.]

(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)

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What to Do This Weekend: Open Mic Contest, Portrait Drawing, and Movies!

Hello Gwangju!

After a week of battling the snow, it’s time to get out and do something! Let’s see what’s happening this weekend.

Friday, January 12th

Courtesy of Loft 28

Courtesy of Loft 28

This Friday night at Loft 28 is their 4th edition of their open mic night singing contest. If you want to participate, all you have to do is bring your own instrument, and Loft will provide the rest. Do you still need some convincing? How about all performers get a free drink? The winner of the contest will receive a trophy, and their name will be added to the list of previous winners. It’s a great way to hear some of the terrific local talent that we have in town, and it all takes place this Friday at Loft 28! The competition will begin at 10 p.m., but make sure you get there early so you can partake of their delicious menu of home cooked food. For more information, please go to their Facebook page. Also on Saturday night, their DJs will be playing some of the best reggae music for people to enjoy.

Photo Courtesy of Tequilaz.

Photo Courtesy of Tequilaz.

After all this snow, I’m sure many of us are going to need some fantastic food and great drink specials to kick off the weekend. One place that has both of these things is Tequilaz. Their Friday night drink specials have become very popular, and it is easy to understand. Unlimited draft beer is 12,000 won (cash only), and unlimited rail cocktails are 20,000 won (again, cash only). Then there is the selection of tasty Mexican dishes that you can enjoy. The specials run from 9 p.m. to midnight, so get there early and start your Friday night! For more details, please go to their Facebook page.

At Speakeasy tonight it’s the return of Name That Tune! There will be multiple chances to play, and it won’t cost you anything to do so. Winners will receive free drinks for their knowledge of all kinds of music. Plus, they are having a special when anybody who buys a drink will receive a free shot of Fireball Captain’s Punch! For more info about what’s going on tonight, please go to their Facebook page.

Saturday, January 13th

Courtesy of the Gwangju Art Class

Courtesy of the Gwangju Art Class

After a holiday break, the Saturday art classes are back at the GIC! Today’s lesson will focus on portrait drawing. The meeting will start at 12:45 p.m. with some basic portrait drawing practice, and then the model will arrive at 1 p.m. The lesson will last until 3 p.m., and the cost is only 10,000 won. All materials will be provided, but you are encouraged to bring your own. For more details about the class, and directions to the GIC, please go to their Facebook event page. Today’s class will be led by local artist Raquib Hasan Apu.

Courtesy of Gwangju-Jeonnam KOTESOL

Courtesy of Gwangju-Jeonnam KOTESOL

This Saturday will be the monthly meeting for the Gwangju-Jeonnam chapter of KOTESOL. The meeting is an excellent opportunity to engage with fellow teachers in professional development. Today’s meeting will feature a two part workshop, as well as helpful tips that you can use in your own classroom. The meeting is free to attend, and is open to all teachers. For more details about the meeting, please follow this link. You can also get more info by going to their Facebook page. Start time is at 1:45 p.m., and it goes until 5 p.m.

Sunday, January 14th

Courtesy of Gwangju Cinema

Courtesy of Gwangju Cinema

If you haven’t checked out the Gwangju Cinema yet, then this is a good weekend to catch a movie at Gwangju’s oldest cinema. Playing right now are critical favorites Paterson, directed by Jim Jarmusch, and Good Time, starring Robert Pattinson. You can also see the Golden Globe nominated film Loving Vincent. To find out all the films that are playing, and their showtimes, please go to their Facebook page.

On Sundays a dedicated group of volunteers go to a local animal shelter to walk and play with dogs, and no amount of snow is going to stop them. To join them in helping out our four legged friends, please go to their Facebook page.

The Week After

 

The Week After

 

This photo was taken several months ago before the onset of winter, and most likely before the year ahead was a significant presence in our lives. However, what it reveals are temporary remnants from a transitional space. Taken at the beach at low tide, the sand contains both naturally formed and human-made items. The gun with the shells, the shells with the stone, the stone with whatever else asks to visually share this muddy beach bottom. However, when framed, snapped, and reproduced online, these disparate items find themselves somehow at home within their new confines. As such, they are artifacts of a particular time and place, one which contained its own emotions, grief and hopefully optimism to boot. As we look back upon them, they speak to the environment which created them, yet also begin to fade as the time in which they were relevant inevitably leaves us.

Having looked around nightlife and pension areas the past week, I noticed how quickly the remnants from recent holiday and calendrical transitions fade. While these visual reminders may linger for days or perhaps weeks afterwards, they nevertheless represent a time which we cannot stay within. These infant days of 2018 may allow us a foothold in both past and future ideals of self. However, within weeks, we will no doubt allow the new year to become as many have been before, another year to live as well as we can, and another winter to remember what makes us value the present.

Happy 2018 everyone! Thank you so much for your feedback and support for the photo blog over the past year. I hope we all live the year ahead with untangled senses, open eyes, and if possible, a camera at the ready.

 

[Photo taken with my Nikon FE2 and a 50mm 1.4 ai-s lens.]

 

(Image & Text by Marty Miller)

 

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What to Do This Weekend: Ice skating, Indie Films, and Swing Dancing!

Hello Gwangju!

All this talk about a “bomb winter cyclone” in the U.S. makes our winter weather seem very tame in comparison! Let’s see what you can do during the first weekend of 2018.

Friday, January 5th

Courtesy of Loft 28

Courtesy of Loft 28

Celebrate the new year by listening to some great local talent at Gwangju’s only weekly open mic night at Loft 28. If you are interested in performing all you have to do is bring your own instrument, and Loft will provide the rest of the equipment. Performers will also receive a free drink to give them some more encouragement. While you’re at Loft you should check out their menu of home cooked food which has gotten rave reviews from the citizens of Gwangju. For more details about open mic night, please go to their Facebook page. The show begins at 11 p.m. It’s a new year, but it’s the same great drink specials that are happening at Tequilaz tonight. Unlimited draft beers for only 12,000 won (cash only), and unlimited rail cocktails for 20,000 won (again, cash only). It’s not wise to drink on an empty stomach, so check out their delicious menu of Mexican favorites. If you need any more info, please go to their Facebook page. The specials run from 9 p.m., to midnight.

Saturday, January 6th

Courtesy of City Hall

Courtesy of City Hall

You have until the end of the month to enjoy ice skating at the city hall rink. Hours on Saturday and Sunday are 10 a.m. to just before 8:30 p.m. Weekdays hours are 10 a.m. until just before 6 p.m. It only costs 1,000 won to use the rink, and that includes the rental of skates. If you’re looking for something fun to do, that’s also great exercise, then head to the ice rink at city hall!

Courtesy of Gwangju Cinema

Courtesy of Gwangju Cinema

You know that we have a lot of multiplexes in Gwangju, but do you know that the oldest theater in town is an arts cinema? The Gwangju Cinema shows the latest indie hits, foreign films, and Korean movies. Currently showing are award season favorites A Ghost Story (starring Oscar winner Casey Affleck), and Good Time, which is getting great reviews due to the acting of Robert Pattinson. To find out about all the movies that are playing there, please click on the link for their Facebook page.

swing dance

They say that everything old is new again, and that is definitely the case this weekend in Gwangju. A new swing dance class will begin today. The swing dance craze lives on here in Gwangju, and you can be a part of it. There will also be lessons for different types of dances as well. If you would like more info, then just follow this link to a post on the Gwangju Facebook page. You can also see the picture above the post for more details.

Essentials with JD # 316 **FUN AND ART AT THE ACC FOR NEW YEAR’S EVE**

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As we round of 2017 a great place to find loads of fun and interesting events right in the heart of Gwangju is the ACC – Asia Culture Centre

 

If you haven’t already been here now is a great chance for you to explore some of the great indoor installations that they have on offer as the weather is so bitterly cold.

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There are tons of great things happening from now until into the new year and you can also check out the amazing Christmas tree that is great for your pictures. There is also a wish tunnel where you can write down your wishes and on the 31st there will be a New Year’s concert.

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From around 10pm on the 31st there will also be a special ceremony to ring in the new year with the tolling of the bell in the 5.18 Democracy plaza at midnight so be sure to partake in the festivities.

 

If you are more into art they have various exhibitions which you can check out and are well worth it. 

You can also check out their website https://www.acc.go.kr/index.jsp for more info

 

Happy New year in the Year of the Yellow Dog

 

JD