I recently found myself driving along Korea’s east coast just south of Samcheok city. The light I needed for my morning’s work was over, but I wasn’t quite ready to pack in yet. So, I started taking the small roads along the coast and after a series of turns, found myself at a small harbour that hadn’t quite finished sorting the morning’s catch yet.
Initially, the roadside fresh seafood market was what caught my eye. The store owners were just finishing stocking their tanks for the day, so I stopped to see what I might find. As soon as I stepped out of the car, I could hear the rattling of nets being pulled and fishermen yelling over the racket. Peaking behind the fish market, I found that the last of the boats were still sorting their catch.
Korea can be a tough place to photograph people. The locals are usually quite cautious around cameras as image is extremely important to them. So, I began cautiously making a few photographs from a distance and greeting everyone I met eyes with. Slowly, I made my way closer and was able to get more of what I was hoping for. Unlike many parts of the country I have photographed, this little harbour was extremely welcoming and I was a novelty to them rather than a threat. Everyone was busy going about their work and only stopped to meet my eyes and laugh before getting straight back to what had to be done. It was a refreshing experience, for sure.
With this past couple of months of COVID-19 ravaging the world and causing all sorts of disruption to our ways of life, it was great to be in a small part of the world where life was going on as normal. It was a good reminder that not everything has changed. Selfishly, it was also a great feeling of release to be able to make images again. In our little bubble in Seoul, the motivation to do so has long since passed. There’s nothing quite like getting into the flow of making images. I’ll definitely be back in this area soon!
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