Gwangju Blog

November Streets

November Streets


This week’s photo contains the monthly street photography image from Gwangju. While technically taken in late October, the image above was too good to let it slip beneath the fallen leaves of many autumn-themed images I have taken recently. The setting was the final day of the Gwangju Design Biennale. This image betrays the fact that it was late afternoon. For once inside the cavernous Biennale hall, it became easy to loose track of time, and as this image would suggest, other people too.

This bulk of the foreground in this image is taken up by a large inverted overlapping pyramidal structures. While visually obtrusive, they do point the way to what could be perceived as the main subject of the image. In the central part of the bottom of the frame, we see two sets of legs slightly highlighted against the dark gray wall. They are the only obvious signs of humanity within a space that resembles a holideck more-so than the multipurpose interior of Biennale Hall.

At times when shooting on the streets of Gwangju, it is difficult to find a subject who does not turn away at the sight of the camera, or retreat into heart-shape gang sign or the torturous “V” for victory. While initially infuriating, such cultural habits can be useful for finding compositional techniques to position the subject creatively. If so, like the photo above, we may find that the image lends itself to a slightly different emotional quality than what we initially expected when framing the shot. Personally, this lesson is one which find I must continually take. Over and over again when doing street photography in Gwangju, I am reminded that the best shot is one which I cannot necessary envision beforehand. In that sense, I know what NOT to do the next time a gleaming white inverted pyramid obstructs my view.

[Image taken using my Nikon FE2 with a 35mm f1.4 lens shooting T-max 100 pushed one stop.]

(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)