A Look Back at 2021

It is the end of 2021 and I must say that I am sort of glad that it is over, if I am being totally honest. This was the year that followed the death and started with being alone and in quarantine. Suffice to say that it was not a great start to the year.

Photographically speaking it was not much better. Work was non-existent. I did do a gallery for GuruShots in Seoul and that was fun. It was nice to feel that I was doing something somewhat “professional” and related to photography.

I have continued to plug away at my podcast, which is why posts here are somewhat sporadic as I have been focussing more time on building a following with the podcast. So far I think that I have about 25 followers or so. I think that is slightly more than the amount of people that read this blog.

The year ended with the death of our rescue cat and a severe hard drive crash. I managed to bungle up and lose a chuck of my photos thanks to my own procrastination and idiocy. I plugged and backed up my corrupted hard drive and thought that everything was ok. Then It failed again and I realized that enough time had passed that the only backup was the corrupted drive. Basically I lost about a year and a half of raw photos.

So with that being said, let’s get on to my yearly look at some of my favourite photos over the past year.

Near Jeongja Beach in Ulsan, South Korea

This was one of my first photos after being released from quarantine. I was still coming to terms with the loss of my Father and that really zapped my creativity.

The Busan Harbor Bridge

Trying to get my head in a better place I started heading out to new locations. I did a fair bit of searching to find this spot. Thankfully, when I got there, not many people were out braving the cold weather.

Seuldo, Ulsan

I am still plugging away at my lighthouse project, albeit at a slower pace. This is one of the closest to me and one of my favourite areas too.

Ducky, RIP 2021

During 2021, I started another project and instagram page dedicated to my film photography. I managed to get my Dad’s pentax spotmatic F fixed and started to put some rolls through it. Our rescue cat “Ducky” became a popular model as he was alway chilling around me.

Sadly, during the Chuseok Holiday, Ducky’s health took a turn for the worst and he died in my wife’s arms as the Vet basically gave up on him. He had a rough life and we spent pretty much every available bit of money to try and keep him healthy for about a year and a half. We did our best but like most things that I’ve done over the years, it was not enough.

Door in Gyeongju

Throughout the year I took a few trips out to Gyeongju to rekindle my inspiration. At times, it felt like I was simply going through the motions. As depressing as that sounds, I am a firm believer in the idea that you should push yourself to get out. Something will come and at the very least, you are out with your camera and that is something.

Mother and Child in Mugeodong

As spring came, I pushed to get some different shots of the blossoms this year. It’s always a struggle because it is so easy to just set the lens to f/1.4 and blast away at the blossoms. For this shot, I was waiting to see if they would cross and positioned myself accordingly.

Buddha’s Birthday in Gyeongju

This is always my favourite time of the year for night photography. This location was sent to me by a friend in Ulsan. I walked through the shallow river to get this shot and despite the water drops on the lens, I was pretty pleased with how it all came out.

Dong-gu Ulsan

Heading into the summer, I was still trying to figure out what I was doing. I was struggling with a lot both personally and professionally. Realizing that COVID was not going anywhere and neither was my career. Despite getting a master and spending close to two decades taking pictures in Korea, I was treading water at best. This shot came when I drove down to photograph a “cave” on Seuldo only to find that the “cave” was simply a hole in the rocks that people were sticking their iPhones into.

Tea Ceremony in Gangneung

One of the highlights from the fall was being a part of the KTO FAM tour. I got a call from a friend who is the host of This Korean Life and he asked if I wanted to join the tour. It was very last minute and no sooner did I say “yes” was I on the KTX heading to Seoul. It was a great trip and I met some amazing people too. The above shot was from avery beautiful tea ceremony in a pavillion that they only open up for special occasions.

Monk at Tongdosa

Fall came and I was starting to get some help with my grief. Talking to a professional helped me deal with a lot of the issues surrounding my father’s death. It was also during this time that we lost our cat too. Seeing my wife break down in the backroom of the vet’s office crushed me. Any strength I had was gone. It was the photography that kept it all together. It allowed me time to process everything.

Gyeongju in The Fall

Fall is where I am usually the most active. I tried hard to get out more and revisit old places. Heading out to Gyeongju often gave me a lot of great pictures. I found this shot above from scouring instagram. It recently became the “it spot” for a lot of young couples.

Samsandong, Ulsan

The end of 2021, I came to terms with a lot of things. I also started heading out more here and there to find the christmas lights around the city. This was part photo project and part a desperate attempt to find that Christmas spirit that I once had. It is hard this time of year because for so long we call Dad on facetime (my mom can’t hear very well) and he’d be the mc for the Christmas celebrations. December 27th also marks the anniversary of the passing of my best friend Dave Harvey. He was the one directly responsible for getting me to Korea and teaching me photography.

As the year comes to a close, I just want to wish you all a very happy new year. I wish everyone all the best in the coming year. Than you all for helping me and let’s make 2022 a better year for us all.


  1. Lynden Reply

    Hi, I enjoyed reading your blog. Keep Up the good work. Maybe you should think about hosting a photo tour of your city; I decided to follow you on Instagram and Flicker. I also love photography and creating beautiful images in black and white and color, both on film and digitally. Peace

    • Jason Teale Reply

      Thank you! Typically we do photowalks every few months but with covid, it has been tough. We did a film photowalk at the end of 2021 which was great! Hopefully the next photowalk that we do, you can come out! Thank you for your comment Lynden!

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