Gwangju Blog

World to be

World to be


Images of what will be surround most urban construction sites in Jeolla-do. Like nods towards an idealized future, these pictures also give a glimpse into the collective hopes and dreams which those financing the project hope to install upon those of us who will inevitably inhabit these structures. However, every so often, certain construction sites enable an inverse of this experience. Rather than projecting outward, they allow a window in, through the gateless barriers which separate our imagination from the cold hard truth of urban gentrification.

The photo above shows a world seemingly apart from the otherwise orderly business district in central Jeonju. Passersby are encouraged to stare upon a building site in progress. Inside a surprisingly ordered cacophony of tape, mesh, scaffolding, and assorted flags encase a building-to-be. Even a solid slice of green, grass and reeds sit between the elongated blue structure and the window. This effective nod to the natural world functions as an effective buffer, a frame within a frame to view the diorama-like scene in its totality.

Standing outside this window, we viewers are invited to see what ‘is.’ This takes guts. For, to exhibit the messy inner workings of what will soon be a brand new building may detract from the enjoyment we may feel upon its completion. After all, who enjoys watching their sausages being made before eating? When the walls inevitably fall and the now narrowed street regains its two-way glory, we may miss that sense of voyeuristic anticipation such a window provided. For, while almost zoo-like in application, this window to a world to be may be a nod to transparency which street photographer or casual wanderers crave. Otherwise, we may simply walk on by.


[Images taken with my old Iphone SE. Three generations behind the newer models, this phone’s camera usually takes a beating in anything but the best of light. However, when the sky is clear and the shadows are minimal, there are moments when this thing still puts out the goods. It has the tendency to produce JPEGS which are almost VR-like in appearance. This week’s photo follows this habit to a minimal degree, but it nevertheless shows what is possible when all you’ve got is a phone, and a roll of T-max, already exposed and hiding out in your pocket.]


(Image & Text by Marty Miller)