And now for the second part in this best of two, series. If you did not happen to catch last week’s blog entry, fear not. For a tidy summarization is at hand. Last week’s image showed a lone figure descending the long ramp away from the ground-level exit of the Asia Culture Center in downtown Gwangju. The monochrome image showed much of the intricate detail within the bowls of this great sub-urban architecture. In fact, nearly every part of this space had its own designated line. Whether dotted, or painted in broad black strokes, these diagonal lines each had their own space. The space was ordered, manicured, and seemed to be waiting for such a lone soul as the figure in black on its rampart. However, within this plethora of lines was wedged a central ‘v’ shape. This balanced the image in a way in which all of the other details could not overcome. If you remember, shortly after leaving the ACC that overcast day, I put that camera down, roll half finished, and did not pick it up again until last month.
Of particular interest when seeing the entire roll of film was how images tend to imprint themselves upon us. There have been many times in the past two years of writing this blog when I have found myself taking images of Gwangju which have strikingly different subject matter, yet somehow retain specific similarities. These have come through the unknowning repetition of a specific object, color combination, or even, as we will soon see, compositional elements.
Cue the above image. A brief upon this photo shows certain similarities with last week’s image of the ACC. While taken just north of town amid a hillside construction site, we can easily notice the dominance of several diagonal lines highlighted against the darker tones of the mountain. Also, like the previous photo, these lines dominate the center of the image, and provide a visual anchor of sorts for the surrounding details to funnel into. The power cable towers and the foreground slopes all have their own textures, albeit more organic than the manicured spaces of the cultural complex. However, they seem to need the central horizontal ‘v’ shape which the mountainside road provides.
I am more than willing to acknowledge that these similarities might be more coincidental than unconsciously coerced. However, the experience of photography seems to be more enjoyable if believing it un-so. Somehow, hoping that an image on film resides more in my minds eye than it does on silver, offers an experience which can unite the disparate locations and experience which together, create a life lived in Gwangju. If feeling thus, one can see how what we experience need not be isolated parcels in transit, separated from their sender, but rather, as yet unidentifiable pieces of a unified whole. Certainly, if not actively felt in my moment-to-moment interactions, this mindset enables an appreciation for where we are. What better place to be with spring in full swing.
[Photo taken with my Ricoh GR1 shooting T-Max 400]
(Photo and Text by Marty Miller)