Gwangju Blog





On a road behind a church, behind Gwangju station, sat this newer model Samsung. The heat had been oppressive by nine a.m this Sunday morning. Still, this did little to discourage the faithful. I watched the last few stragglers eager to enter the sanctuary. On such days, this air-conditioned room likely lives up to its etymological roots. With this in mind, I myself was considering the benefits of conversion when continuing around to the rear of the building. When there, parked along a side street adjacent to the primary lot was the car you see above. In it lay one soul braver than I. Untempted by the air-conditioning or eternal salvation nearby, he seemed content while reclining within his own personal sanctuary.


The photo above shows the relaxed nature with which some enjoy their lazy summer Sunday mornings. Sure, the viewers can project conditions and emotions onto this scene as to why he remains alone in his car with sweet chilling relief just a stones-throw away. However, at its core, the scene shows someone simply doing their best to relax given their circumstances. Window down with feel up, and extending into the open air; this scene reminds me of the position my own father took on our regular road-trips as a child. While I doubt our 1977 Ford Granada even came with air conditioning, the position itself implies a relief from the discomfort which even the coolest of Freon-infused air could not provide. For me, as a cultural and ethnic outsider within this place, witnessing such a position connects my adopted home with the one of my youth. It may even show that dispute cultural norms, windows are there partially for feet to extrude from. It is just what humans do. At that moment, and now, looking at the image, I find sanctuary in these thoughts. It is the truest sort I know.


[Image taken with a Hasselblad 503cxi shooting Kodak Tri-x 400 pushed 1 stop.]


(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)