Everyday scenes from Asia – out and about in Seoul
For Young Woo Park photography is part of everyday life. On his daily travels through Seoul, South Korea’s capital, the ZEISS Touit 1.8/32 is his constant companion.
”One night last summer as I was coming home from work on the bus, it was raining really hard. I was sitting right next to the door. The driver was approaching the bus stop. That’s when I noticed the reflections in the windshield. I waited until the door opened and then pressed the shutter release. It was only when I got home that I noticed the girl. This detail, together with the reflections, gives the photo a very special atmosphere; it captures that day very well.”
Park started to photograph seriously around ten years ago while studying engineering and then acquired his first SLR camera. In 2011 he bought his first ZEISS lens: the Planar T* 1,4/50. Soon after, however, he began to discover compact system cameras from Sony. He continued to use an adapted Planar T* 1,4/50 but augmented his gear with a Sonnar T* E 1,8/24 ZA, followed by the Touit 1.8/32 in July 2013.
“Switching to a compact system had mainly to do with my preference for street photography. The NEX-6 joined up with the Touit is compact, light and can be carried around everywhere without any problems. People you photograph feel less bothered as a result of the inconspicuous camera. And the image quality from combining the Touit and a system camera is simply superb: all the shots I take with this lens are absolutely sharp. I also like the rubber focus ring. The Touit makes it a lot easier for me to capture the nice moments I come across, wherever I happen to be in the city.”
Young Woo Park commutes up to an hour and a half each way to work. This gives him plenty of time and opportunities for his photos, which are literally created en passant. “I particularly like taking pictures at dusk because the streets of Seoul are often very full at night and brightly lit. I always work without a flash or tripod. That’s how I made this image. I passed this market by chance. It’s at night and people are eating simple dishes. It’s a simple yet very lively scene that, in my opinion, depicts everyday life in Seoul quite well.”
This last photograph can hardly be described as pretty. And yet it succeeds in showing the ‘other’ side of Seoul. “The colors are practically as they appear in reality. This used to be a large market for electronics products. Today the area is shabby and the buildings are rundown. But in the middle of all this, a store that sells LED lamps among others has opened up and is, fittingly, brightly illuminated as well. The combination of a system camera with a Touit made it possible for me to take what, in my opinion, is a perfect snapshot.”
About Young Woo Park
Young Woo Park worked for several years in Seoul as a programmer for a medical technology company. Currently he is working toward his Ph.D at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). The focus of his research is medical imaging methodologies. However, on his way to and from the laboratory, he focuses on his passion for documenting Korea’s everyday life in pictures. A tour he made around Seoul’s old fortification walls has been captured in an e-book.