Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The next aleatoric photo session

I finally got around to editing and putting a grid together for the second photo game of chance: the color game. This time I rolled for the amount of time I'd walk around before making a photograph and then rolled two dice to decide what color would be the focus of that image.

Start: Taebaek market
End: Lindsey’s place

1=walk for 30 sec, then make a photograph
2=walk for 1 min, then make a photograph
3=walk for 1 min 30 sec
4=walk for 2 min
5=walk for 2 min 30 sec
6=walk for 3 min

Roll two dice for color

2=frame an image with as many different colors as possible
8=purple or pink
9=brown or tan
10=white or gray
12=frame an image with as many different colors as possible

Results & remarks: Last time I noticed myself being broken down a bit by paying attention to all the confused and suspicious looks I was getting. I knew that it had prevented me from making some photographs I had really wanted to, and I’m never quite sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing to be that sensitive to my surroundings while I’m photographing. This time around, largely to avoid being deterred by the multitude of stares I know I’d receive, I went out with my ipod and walked around making photographs while listening to a rad mix. I was making an image of these beautiful colors the peeling cracking paint had made on a wooden door. This old man came out of nowhere and started asking me angrily and suspiciously in Korean what I was doing. The smell of soju on his breath was distinct. I told him I was making pictures, and that seemed to make him more upset. I could only understand a little of what he was saying, but he lived right next door, and it seemed he knew the owner of whoever lived behind the door I was photographing, and he kept trying to open it. At first I just kept telling him in Korean that I didn’t understand. This is one of the great fall-backs that I’m allowed by living in a foreign country: I can always pretend I don’t know what people are saying. This behavior has a great history of getting me out of a lot of trouble or awkward situations when people or authority figures just don’t feel like spending the time to deal with the language barrier. But this time, it just seemed to have the opposite effect, as it became apparent that he was undeterred. So I told him, in the best broken Korean I had, that Taebaek was where I lived, and I was making a photography book so my family and friends could see this place because they missed me. I told him that the door was beautiful. I started naming off all the colors on the door to fill in the gaps in my Korean, and told him that the pink and yellow and white were beautiful too. I told him that I thought this place was beautiful and all places around here were beautiful. At that point he cut me off, put his hand over his heart and told me he was deeply sorry in both Korean and English, over and over again. He grabbed my hand, and walked me over to his house. So then I was sitting on the floor with this old man in his kitchen, and I realized he lived in a Buddhist dwelling. There was the Buddhist sign on the front and a prayer room in the next room. We were sitting by the animal food. He said a lot, and I felt bad I could understand almost nothing, except that he wanted to know if I’d eaten lunch. And I had had cold buckwheat noodles an hour earlier, so I didn’t join him, even though I wanted to. But I would have been late for frisbee later.

I thought it was a total shift, where last time I was under the impression that photography had put a distance between me and the place I lived, this time it brought me closer. At least, if I hadn’t looked completely ridiculous to that old man by taking a picture of a disintegrating door, he probably would have never interacted with me.

Also, I kept rolling blue over and over again for a while.

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