Fellow taking a rest at Wenxin Forest Park in Taichung. There was no forest there so I assume the name is in honour of the forest they cut down to put the park in. Mamiya C220f.
I view Taiwan as a place of mental healing. I went there after my final job (until now) in Korea. See, the boss decided that the best way to deal with declining enrollment wasn’t better advertising, it was making the staff fearful and paranoid for their jobs. And when the Korean staff are fearful and paranoid for their jobs they start to take it out on the foreign staff in a lot of small, petty ways. The most common way is undermining their authority with the kids by basically never supporting them in disciplinary needs nor helping the kids and the foreign teachers reach an understanding of what they expect from each other. The other common way is to simply blame the foreign teacher for everything much in the same way we do with foreigners.
Add on top of that a foreign staff of bare-balled children fresh from university who still think high school style cliques are something to strive for and you get a pretty toxic office atmosphere. And me? I’m not great at dealing with stressful people in the first place. I take what I see as a swing at my head as permission to go nuclear on their asses. Which I did. My romantic relationships were also a mess, as was my relationship with comics and the disingenuous people who make and read them. All this ugliness came out in the classroom. A thing I am not proud of.
I like to think I’m a different man from then. But to be sure I strive to reduce my exposure to any and all things I know will take me to the ugly place.
And that’s why I’m not making comics anymore nor am I hanging out with you and your gang on Saturday night.
Local waiting for the band that will never arrive at the Halifax Public Gardens. Olympus E-P1.
I’ll be starting at a second school next week. This week has been filled up with trying to get the materials I need to do my job properly. It’s hard to prepare for a lesson when you don’t know what the lesson is. Hopefully that will get sorted sooner rather than later.
One of my new students showing off her stylish umbrella before heading out. Pentax KX. Scan of a print.
I’m going to have to look in other parts of Gunsan, but film seems limited to Fujicolor C200 and the vastly over-priced Instax line. In limited amounts. Having to wait a week for my developing to be sent off to Seoul isn’t too bad given how much cheaper it is compared to Canada.
Not compared to Japan though. Japan is half of what it costs in Korea. A third of Canada. It’s almost like they want me to buy a new DSLR or something. Which, when I do so, will probably be a Pentax to go with my collection of lenses.
Here’s some color to break up my sea of grey. Some selfies being taken with Glico-Man in Osaka. Olympus Pen E-P3.
Meanwhile, here in Gunsan, I keep getting these bright ideas to visit old haunts like Seoul or Cheonan just to see what has changed. Then I keep looking at my bank account and doing some math about how long I can make that last and in the end the idea gets pushed to the back burner.
The same thing happens when the tasty, tasty odor of grilled meat wafts through my windows from the BBQ restaurant district my apartment has been cruelly placed in the middle of.
Young fellow ignoring the sights at Shibuya in favor of his stupid smartphone. Canon 550D/t2i/Kiss X4.
There is one fellow I follow on Flickr who is pretty good at capturing interesting images of people with their nose stuck in their phones but I’ve never been able to make it work to my satisfaction. Of course, he seems more willing to just stick his camera wherever he wants than I am (Curse my polite Canadian upbringing!) so that probably explains why he gets the shot more often than I do. Though it could be because I keep trying to tell a story instead of just grabbing a moment and letting it make its own story. Or maybe I just need to start swinging my camera from its strap or something.
I really should head out tonight and try to get some practice in, but damn, that wind is cold…
I don’t have a single karaoke photo that’s in focus. In-focus would mean that it wasn’t a very good time at karaoke so this is as it should be. Pentax MX?
This is an old friend from Japan showing me that she’d be the best model a photographer could have. I never thought to ask her to do so for many reasons. Not having the gear and assistants needed to make it worth everyone’s time being one of the main ones. Even simple glamour shots need a fair bit of work which is why I’m a documenter instead of an image constructor.
Not that I would have a model leaning on a car in a short skirt or something. I’d probably just have them hanging out in front of something like a shop or fishing boat in order to get a human aspect to the subject. It may seem like a waste of a model to some, but everyone tries to copy fashion magazines. Boring. But pointing into a crowd and hoping you capture strangers doing something interesting is more miss than hit. At least for me.
I like to think that having a willing model could help you get a nice balance between both approaches. Maybe one day.
I think this was at an event featuring some Tarento in Kagoshima. Shot with a Pentax MX.
You who care to click all the way through to the original image may notice that it’s slightly smaller than my usual 1400 pixel wide images. This is because I grabbed this photo from a folder called “Done Shots”. That’s where I dump images that have been uploaded to various blogs and sites like Flickr. It’s also where a lot of my images that were lost in The Great Crash of 2013 can be found. Just in reduced size.
While this one is big enough that I could probably get a decent print out of it, most of the others aren’t. And while those are big enough for blogging purposes, the small size means it’s impossible for me to work on them anymore. They are at the end of their use as images. I cannot crop them down or do some ‘shopping with them without rendering them an illegible mess. That is tragic to me. Like a friend that’s no longer alive.
Fellow tourists at Doutonbori in Osaka. Shot with an Olympus Pen E-P3.
Yesterday I sent my first film of this jaunt to Korea off to be developed. The local shop in the LotteMart only does digital prints like I was expecting and they had to mail it off to Seoul. My guess is that they send it to Photopia since they seem to be the only place that does it now… Though there may be something I’m missing on that page that says “No film!” I did find a shop up the street with a big yellow Kodak sign on the wall. However there are no posted hours. Just a phone number which suggests to me a business that’s open when the owner feels like coming in.
I’ll have to try and catch them some day to see if they can save me from being a fool with an antique.
I’ve yet to come across anything like this in Gunsan. I mean, sure, I’ve been in Korea again for a total of a week. I can’t expect to find much in such a short time. Poking around what little information is available online about the place suggests that I’m living well south of the heart of the city so once I’m more mobile (Say, after buying a bike) I’ll put in more effort to get up there and see what’s up.
I hiked about six kilometers around the area today and so far I’ve discovered the following: To the south of me are farms. To the east are seas of skyscraper apartment complexes. To the west is a section of town that looks like it boomed in the 90s before falling into a slow decay. I ran across a couple of very aggressive beggars there who wouldn’t take “No” for an answer. They did accept “Fuck off”, however. They didn’t push it past that which goes to show that being generally larger than the locals has its advantages. Regardless I have no plans to go back into that neighborhood.
Summer festival crowds in Miyakonojo. Shot with a Canon 550D or whatever it was marketed as in your area.
I’m probably weeks away from being able to post up interesting photos of Gunsan so it’s more of my Japanese images for you for the next while. It might even be closer a month or two since I’m on a pretty tight budget and I haven’t been able to find a place that does developing aside from a kiosk in the local Lottemart. Teach me to fly with the film camera instead of the digital because I felt my big chrome brick would be too expensive to have shipped later on.
I don’t look forward to having the “It’s a C-41 film, so it’s okay to feed into your machine even if you haven’t seen the brand before. Just develop it.”, conversation in Korean.
IIRC, this is looking towards Mt. Tara from across Omura Bay in Kyushu. Shot with a Canon 550D.
While I’m happily equipped with internet here in my new Korean apartment I’ve been too busy with the new job, as well as dealing with the jet lag, to post much up. There’s also the fact that I haven’t been in Gunsan long enough to get the lay of the land as far as interesting (to me) photography goes. There does seem to be the same problem I had in Miyakonojo: All cars and no feet. That is, everyone is driving and no one is walking about who isn’t a minor. The area I’m in is a new area and I’m a bit of a distance from the traditional gathering areas of the city so that may account for it. I’ll try and find out this weekend.
Assuming the job doesn’t wipe me out in the first week.
Another study of my little light in Japan. Shot with a Pentax MX.
I thought it appropriate to use this again since I’m now in Korea counting my pennies until my first pay day. There are benefits to the once a month payment method such as it being easier to make a budget and having it coincide with the bills coming in. But those first couple of months at a job can be tight and you inevitably have to get an advance on your next paycheck in order to make it through. This puts you at a disadvantage for another month.
Thankfully, the apartment comes with free internet so I’m starting off on a good foot and not getting sick from the grubby keyboards at the PC Bang.