My Top 20 Photographs of 2016 - Part 2 of 2 | Seoul Photographer
Here it goes. Part 2 gets a bit more sentimental. It probably doesn`t have to, but it ought to because a lot has happened this year. New interpretations have been made in the process and I`d like to share that with you. At the core of these interpretations lies the phenomenon of “time”. As before, I`ll try and be as concise as possible.
“With endless time, nothing is special. With no loss or sacrifice, we can’t appreciate what we have”
― Mitch Albom, The Time Keeper
I arrived in South Korea 4 years ago. I couldn`t get over myself, I`m finally in Asia. I looked at everything around me with a childlike curiosity and wonder. I visited palace after palace but the novelty soon wore off. The architecture wasn`t enough anymore. Up until recently, I started ruminating about the concept of “time” whenever I`d visit a palace. Time gave it more credibility or worth. I found myself going down a rabbit hole of thoughts. Suddenly I started thinking about past families who had lives within these buildings. I started wondering what these buildings meant for people of lower and upper classes at the time. What secrets were kept within these walls. What decisions were made about the future of Korea. The point I`m trying to make is that I started viewing palaces differently and it has since revitalised my approach to making photographs of historic sites around South Korea. They`re no longer just different styled buildings.
My first attraction to this scene was the huge tree between the two buildings. I shot it with a fairly wide angled lens and thus possesses rather exaggerated lines leading to the centre of the frame. While I positioned myself and composed the photograph, this little girl dressed in red ran out as if she were meant to be there. It felt somewhat ethereal to be honest. It`s as if I were given a gift.
On the topic of gifts, I had the wonderful opportunity to photograph and write a travel piece for Seoul Selection Magazine. You`re welcome to read it here. I got this at Goryeogung Palace Site. It`s very evident that South Korea is absolutely beautiful in fall. I got the best of both worlds, ancient architecture and fall colours. I absolutely loved the drama.
I visited home this year. As drama goes, the above image shows the kind of dramatic skies Cape Town is capable of. I was at home when I noticed a unique quality to the light that was entering my bedroom. I looked outside and saw very interesting clouds. I`m no landscape photographer so you`re probably wondering about my immature interest with the sky. I live in Seoul, South Korea. Dramatic skies happen less than fifteen times a year(if that many). I jumped into my car and headed for the beach which thankfully happens to be 10 minutes from my house. I used this particular road for twenty plus years and never knew this vlei(Afrikaans word for a shallow minor lake that is seasonal in nature) existed. This is mainly due to the fact that it`s hidden by high sand dunes. I still wouldn`t have known about it had I not pulled over and searched for a good spot to capture this spectacle that nature had on display this particular afternoon.
“The deepest of level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless ... beyond speech ... beyond concept.”
― Thomas Merton
I had the opportunity and privilege of photographing my first wedding this year. It was an amazing experience. Hectic and tiring, but truly beautiful. There were many authentic moments throughout the day but this was my absolute favourite. The groom wiping a tear from his bride`s face during the ceremony. I couldn`t dream of successfully reproducing such a moment.
Another bride-to-be caught my attention with her bubbly personality. I enjoy this photograph because it reminds me of the afternoon we made the photograph. I sat on the floor and just spoke to her in both simple English and broken Korean. Somewhere between these odd exchanges I managed to capture this. I remember having this epiphany after the shoot – you`re in South Korea. To unpack this, all I`ll say is that, despite the language barrier, there was still a human connection. It wasn`t exactly profound per se. It just turned out to be simple and pleasant. Simple is good.
“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.”
― Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
I`ll tell you what wasn`t as simple – seeing your best friend become a father. It`s beautiful and requires a shift or re-evaluation of what that person represents to you. They`ve become a parent. It requires reflection on how you think this person is choosing to engage with reality. A necessary task should you wish to fully respect the friendship and contribute to this person’s life in a positive manner. Their journey changed. It`s exciting. Once again, time gives all of this legitimacy. I`m glad I had the opportunity to observe the interaction between him and his son. I`m proud of you, brother.
I met these two ladies in university. We`ve grown close over the years and I can consider them as the sisters I never had. They`re insightful, persistent, independent and strong. We managed to grab our last breakfast together before I left to come back to Seoul, South Korea. It`s great knowing you`re able to just sit and talk to people about anything, free of judgement and pretenses.
I visited my hometown with a very appreciative spirit this year. People enter your life at different points along the way. They all happen to shape who you are as a person today. This wonderful lady is no different. She helped raise me for the first 3 years of my existence and for this reason I sought to create a portrait of her, to say thank you. I am truly grateful for her being such a wonderful family friend. I feel as though I have two mothers and two families.
This year marked my grandparents 55th year of marriage. It was roughly near the time of when I visited. I absolutely love these two. They still have a wonderful energy, maybe not physically but definitely spiritually. It isn`t always smooth sailing, and it shouldn`t be. There are concepts, habits and certain attitudes that are designed to help carry a relationship through the good and bad times. My grandparents remind me of that.
Photographically, I`ve learnt a lot over the last twelve months. It`s been a good year where that is concerned and I hope to have an even better year in 2017.
Thank you for all the wonderful support and feedback. I truly appreciate it.
See you next year :)