It is difficult to believe that the photo blog has yet to cover the topic of fermentation. After all, this is the Korean peninsula, where fermentation is a state of mind. Yet, either I am a slow learner, or the topic had not yet ripened within. Perhaps a bit of both. For the past couple of weeks, it could be fair to say that the photo blog has been phoning it in. In doing so, I have likely not been the only one. Indeed, the holiday festivities have been noteworthy for their social and caloric excess, but also for a gratefulness. In my case, this latter, subtler feeling seems to emerge as a byproduct of lived experience. It is rarely sought, yet has seemed to grow like a fine mold in the runoff of last week’s revelry. Following this moldy theme (bare with me now, this is indeed going somewhere), this satisfaction comes with a certain degree of objectivity. Last year was enough. It was what it was, often for far worse than for better. That being said, it was with some degree of naive optimism that I ventured out into a local orchard last week. Through the bare branches and discarded bags ran a brook. As the sun began to set, my eyes were drawn to a small still-life of apples and garbage resting amid the muddy current. They had let gravity set their course, and were now left to stew in their own juices for the winter. As they rested, rotting in the stream below, I could not help but feel a degree of gratitude. Perhaps this sensation merely resulted from the knowledge that with a red filter on Kodak T-max 400, their crimson skin would appear as white against the darkened water below. I suppose such knowledge allows the photographer to feel the scene before it is physically seen. It may allow her/him to trust yet again that beauty can be coaxed out of the most unlikely of spaces. However, this image may also remind those of us who are now stationary, left to digest the recent past, that from a slightly more objective point of view, there is beauty within this inaction. That what ferments seems to rest, yet it is fully the process of becoming. At the dawn of this year year, I can think of no better image to represent my hopes for the coming months. Of course, a healthy dose of apple cider could only help grease those metaphysical wheels.
[Image taken with a Bronica Sq-ai using a 150mm PS f3.5 lens, and a Kenko red 32 filter.]
(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)