Throughout our day-to-day lives, certain locations provide a near-perfect mix of atmospheric and special tranquility. The ease with which we sink into such spaces is often determined by a heady mix of meteorological and social forces. Nevertheless, the tranquility such environments bring is nothing short of perfection. The photo above shows such a moment.
This image was taken on a cross-country bus from Gwangju to Daejeon. Having departed on a weekday afternoon, there were just a handful of folks aboard, all of whom seemed to coalesce around the air-conditioner duck towards the front of the bus. However, the man pictured found his spot among the empty rows of seats towards the back of the bus. Having left at midday, the cool, artificial air could be heard if not felt blasting at full volume from the rooftop ac unit. As the bus began its gentle sway down the highway out of town, the photo above proved inevitable.
Overall, this was a haphazardly constructed scene. One which until minutes earlier had no intention of being so serene. Yet, when stepping out of the forty degree heat into this chilly tube, it feels no less perfect than taking off a tight shoe.
Such unassuming, yet cool relaxing spaces are a welcome addition in Gwangju this time of year. However, their chill is predictable enough to warrant measures such as this man has taken. Dark glasses, cheap earbuds, and a willingness to sit back, relax, and……
[Image taken with a Contax T2 shooting Ilford FP4. The bus was slightly darker than expected. And, under normal SLR conditions, I would easily have used exposure compensation and stopped down to f2 or 1.4 on my 35mm. However, while superb and discrete for these types of scenes, the Contax’s fixed 38mm lens taps out at f2.8, allowing for a nebulous reading of between 30-125th of a second in the camera illuminated rangefinder. Therefore, even the flash couldn’t compensate for the inevitable shifting of an aging bus with wheels misaligned. Therefore, the image is slightly blurrier than hoped.]
(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)