The Walk

Suwon, South Korea. Ricoh GRD3.
Suwon, South Korea. Ricoh GRD3.

Almost three years ago I wrote a blog post about the Ricoh GRDIII. It followed my walk to work as I explained how there wasn’t the need for any other camera for street photography. At the time, I think I would have said I was a street photographer. Or, at the very least I would of said I was a gear head. Writing about the need for any camera or lack there of is kind of ridiculous.

A couple of years on, I find myself with the same Ricoh, still taking photos on my way to work.

Suwon, South Korea. Ricoh GRD3.
Suwon, South Korea. Ricoh GRD3.

A lot has changed since then, though.

I’ve changed, certainly.

I don’t think much about cameras anymore. I have the Ricoh because a friend gave it to me. I use it because it fits in my jacket pocket. I read the post I wrote before and it kept talking about the look of a camera. I could hardly get through it without cringing.

Suwon, South Korea. Ricoh GRD3.
Suwon, South Korea. Ricoh GRD3.

My photos are different too, I suppose. I don’t much think anymore about the best way to get likes. I take photos so I can remember my time spent. Where I was. What I did.

I take photos nearly everyday because the mundanity of routine is what I’ll most likely forget and what I think I’ll most likely wish I’d remembered. The walk to work is no longer a practice in taking photos so I can write a blog post about a camera but a practice in preservation. The preservation of a moment in my life.

Suwon, South Korea. Ricoh GRD3.
Suwon, South Korea. Ricoh GRD3.

I look back at the photos from that post and they don’t mean anything to me. They don’t say anything to me. I had it all wrong. In the process of making a statement about a camera I forgot the reason I took photos in the first place. Or, more likely I hadn’t figured it out yet.

The second photo I took on my way to work today, of the stadium, is one I never would have taken on that walk three years ago. “No one will like this photo.”

Suwon, South Korea. Ricoh GRD3.
Suwon, South Korea. Ricoh GRD3.

It’s something I walk past every day. Something I’ll wish I had taken a photo of when I no longer do. 1/125 of a second that represents a time in my life far longer than that.

Yongin, South Korea. Ricoh GRD3.
Yongin, South Korea. Ricoh GRD3.

Same camera and still walking to work.

Different place and different person.

Yongin, South Korea. Ricoh GRD3.
Yongin, South Korea. Ricoh GRD3.

Korean Diary: Busan

Busan, South Korea. Ricoh GRDIII
Sunday, Busan, South Korea. Ricoh GRDIII

This past weekend, I decided to take a couple of days to get out of Seoul and bring my camera to Busan. Busan is a different sort of city to Seoul. I’ve taken to taking just a couple of cameras with me lately no matter what I do.

A good routine.

I shot Busan’s famed Jagalchi fish market with the M6. I shot just a roll of film. I guess that was the “photography” part of my weekend. A couple hours or so.

Somewhere between Seoul and Busan. Ricoh GRDIII.
Saturday afternoon, Somewhere between Seoul and Busan. Ricoh GRDIII.

A friend recently gave me his old Ricoh GRDIII that he was no longer using. Once, one of my favorite cameras, I have come to realize it’s probably the camera that will take most of the photos I “remember.”

Busan, South Korea. Ricoh GRDIII.
Saturday afternoon, Busan, South Korea. Ricoh GRDIII.

It’s no longer about taking photos for a next project or a next exhibition. It’s about taking photos for me to remember where I was and what I was doing. I used to get really confused about what camera to use when.

Busan, South Korea. Ricoh GRDIII.
Saturday night, Busan, South Korea. Ricoh GRDIII.

I don’t really anymore. I used the Ricoh to take photos as a tourist might.

Saturday night, Busan, South Korea. Ricoh GRDIII.
Saturday night, Busan, South Korea. Ricoh GRDIII.
Busan, South Korea. Ricoh GRDIII.
Saturday night, Busan, South Korea. Ricoh GRDIII.

Documenting my story, not anyone else’s.

Busan, South Korea. Ricoh GRDIII.
Saturday night, Busan, South Korea. Ricoh GRDIII.

Not setting out to prove anything to others has proved something to me. I more than likely will never be a well known photographer. It’s changed the way I take photos as I now feel like my photos need not represent anything other than what I see.

Busan, South Korea. Ricoh GRDIII.
Sunday early morning, Jagalchi Market, Busan, South Korea. Ricoh GRDIII.
Busan, South Korea. Ricoh GRDIII.
Sunday early morning, Busan, South Korea. Ricoh GRDIII.

They will bring me back to a place I’d once been. Take me to a place my eyes can’t see anymore. It really doesn’t matter what camera I’m using. Something I’ll take everywhere, all the time is all that matters.

Moral of the story, before anything else photos have to mean something to you.

Winter

Seoul. November, 2013. Ricoh GRD3
Seoul. November, 2013. Ricoh GRD3.

The season of change.

“Trees withstand the hardest things nature throw at them and never waver. Trees loose their leaves in winter, but they never loose their gumption. When winter comes, they stand strong as they know winter is just a part of a cycle that will once again bring spring.”

(From my project, The Culture)

Things change, always. Things are cyclical, always. 

A year ago looking at a similar scene out of my Toronto window felt completely different. Living with people but being alone. Feeling alone. Having nothing left to take this picture. 

Things always come back around. A year later and I see winter entirely differently. Things are in my favor. The coming cold represents nothing more than the need for a coat. 

I don’t care much for cameras anymore. Three years ago, my blog was all about gear. All about cameras. It’s true, I really don’t care anymore. I suppose a representation of something much bigger than a camera. Using an old Ricoh GRD3 donated by a friend I remembered having one before. 

A new appreciation for everything now. Something as simple as a small camera represents a change in mentality. I’ve learned to appreciate. 

I think that’s a word I didn’t know the meaning of until recently. 

Sometimes it takes things to come around a couple of times in order to really appreciate their value. 

"Old Friend" Seoul, November 2013.
“Old Friend” Seoul, November 2013.

Exposed

Seoul. Leica M5.
Seoul. Leica M5.

After a bit of a joke between friends, my boy Ryan and I decided it would be an interesting experiment to double expose the first couple of photos on a roll of film. We would take the photos at different times, not together just with a vague idea of what was on the other side.

Seoul. Leica M5.
Seoul. Leica M5.
Seoul. Leica M5.
Seoul. Leica M5.
Seoul. Leica M5.
Seoul. Leica M5.
Seoul. Leica M5.
Seoul. Leica M5.

It was one of the more fun things I’ve done with a camera lately. Some of the photos we even triple exposed. While it’s not something I would say go out and do haphazardly, it was a lot of fun. Plus, a good way to spend an afternoon with a buddy!

The Kids: GTA

GTA
“GTA” From the project, “The Kids”

After watching a couple of disturbing videos today, I’m fucking astonished at what’s happened to the kids of this generation. Astonished.

Seeing kids act out video games on the streets. Knocking out unsuspecting teachers and laughing about it. Really fucking funny.

Whose to blame? Probably all of us. This generation is defined by fine lines of pressure and stress relief. Video games relieve stress.

If you’re pissed off in a game like GTA, you can punch a teacher. Knock him out. It’s funny and helps relieve stress.

Learned behavior.

How can a 14 year old differentiate between the video game and real life. Why are they being asked to? A18 ratings don’t stop kids from playing these games. Ratings are a fucking cop out.

It’s easy for me to say I would have been smarter than these kids. It’s easy for me to say I would have easily been able to see the difference between the real world and the one being played out on a screen.

Nothing is easy anymore.

It’s also easy to say that the kids doing these things are hooligans or “gangstas.” Fuck that, they were all once just kids on the playground. They learned to act like this.

The kid in this photo is a great kid. I know him well.

That being said, the non nonchalant-ness of a gesture may not be that serious but I remember laughing it off as I took the photo.

We’re all to fucking blame for this.

Shit’s got to change.

From my ongoing project, “The Kids”

http://www.jtwhitephotography.com/projects-the-kids

Project Update: The Kids

From, The Kids.
From, The Kids.

A project I’ve always wanted to do in Korea. “The Kids” will examine the lives of students in Korea and the pressures they face.

The pressures of being perfect. Strong enough and smart enough. Innocent enough and cool enough.

The project will be shot over the course of this next year. I will update the progress from time to time.

http://www.jtwhitephotography.com/projects-the-kids-coming-soon

From, The Kids.
From, The Kids.