A while ago I wrote an article for 10 magazine about Ulsan, a city which I have lived in for almost 8 years now. I must admit that Ulsan has a bad image, but it is what it is, an industrial city. What I have tried to convey with the article is that Ulsan is much more than just a place surrounding a car factory. Be it known that it is not all wine and roses but judging from the comments in the article, it makes me wonder if people actually get out and see Ulsan before heading to Daegu for a Burrito or Haeundae for a day at the beach.
That being said, I have a question. Can you change the image of a city through photography? Can you show the culture, the essence of the city with your photos? A good place to start is with street photography. This is something that pains me to say but the idea is growing on me. Normally, I feel that a lot of street photographers do nothing more than shoot strangers and power poles and then try to explain the artistic significance of random people of the street. It just doesn’t interest me when there is no story behind the shot. However, the Seoul Photo Club has a contest running to photograph your street (link here). Adding that human element, that’s intrigued me.
So, try it! Head over to SPC page on flickr and try to capture the essence of your street. Then take it one step further. Try to capture the feeling and the flavours of your city. What makes you stay there? Is it your job? what are the streets like at night? does the city change during the day?
For me, it is the beauty and the lifestyle of Ulsan that makes me stay. I know many of probably gasped at that statement but there are waterfalls, beautiful parks, ancient temples, beaches, mountains and valleys with in a stones throw away. Not to mention the markets, allies, shopping districts, mountain bike trials, river side walks and shops to meet your needs. Many of the comments on the article showed a lack of insight into the city. They come to Ulsan expecting a miniature Seoul with everything that they had from home but with a Korean flavour. Sadly, Ulsan is not that but in many ways it is getting better. Over the next few months, I plan to show that and I would like you to join me.
I want you to find the heart of your city and what makes it live and breathe. I want you to show the elements that you enjoy about it. Then send me a link. I will try and highlight the works of those individuals that I think captured the essence and whatnot. This should be interesting.