Eloquently spaced, the rocks above have become a more ubiquitous touch to stream and canal design over the past few years. As weekends have become largely free of salaried work-related tasks, the demand for access to local natural areas has risen. Park development schemes have sprung up along the many small canals which criss-cross their way through the countryside south of Gwangju city. While no longer places of quiet solitude as in years past, it is good to see these spaces being utilized by non-fishermen for a change.
Often lined with cushioned bike paths and benches with restrooms every few kilometers, these spaces provide a workable access point for engaging with the land beyond the hi-rise apartment blocks where many middle-class people reside. I have often visited these places, and have made good use of stepping stone bridges like the one pictured above. For brief moments, I am transported to rural Appalachia in the USA, where, in my youth, I often hopped over similarly formed bridges on local creeks and streams. When easy to lament the lack of urban park space, such development projects can also be seen as stepping stones to a greater appreciation of the natural world which bore and sustained this city over the years. This symbolism may be superfluous, yet I can’t help but notice the change for the better.
[Image taken with a Hasselblad 503cxi shooting Kodak Tri-x 400 pushed 2 stops.]
(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)