Posted on May 12, 2015
I came across a certain concept on Instagram called “calmversation” created by the digital influencer and educator, Missy Jena. The word itself really struck a chord with me, not only as it is the perfect word that sums up some of my experiences in Korea, but also photography wise, it is the feeling I strive for when editing my pictures. As described brilliantly by their guest blogger, a calmversation is:
“… an opportunity to connect with others in time and space, based on a visual experience. These visuals embody peace and tranquility and the imagery often plays with the viewers’ senses. Our interpretation of these pictures may differ but the end result is always the same; a quietly beautiful conversation about what’s in front of us.”
This exactly summed up the experience I had with Angie, Hannah, and Noah when we journeyed down to the south coastal county of Namhae. It’s a small town with a population of approximately 50,000 and lies peacefully along the coast located just a few hours from Busan. Namhae possesses stunning mystical beauty such as the Sangju beach, canola fields and Boriam temple where once you hike up, you are able to see the stunning view of mini islands drifting into the distance.
I have traveled a lot in Korea, and most of the time it is either by my larrysome or with people who don’t share the same passions or hobbies as I do. Maybe it was because of that reason I decided to travel to Namhae once again, but this time with companions who really get what I do and love. The fact that we can bond and take photos in such amazing location points has made this trip one of the best experiences in Korea. For example we can be at the beach and talk about the bleak future or we can be on top of a mountain discussing how much we despise our own blogs or having a conversation about the stupid things our students do over a warm cup of coffee in the canola fields.
It changed my perspective of travel. Perhaps this was the key missing ingredient and mindset I needed to enjoy and improve my work even more. Although I know there will be many times in the future where travelling alone will be necessary for the sake of a job, however it’s time to seek out companionship who strive for taking the best pictures of Korea whilst having a ‘calmversation’ with myself…
Whose up for it?
Posted on May 4, 2015
Clients, collabs, teaching, editing, weddings, exam prep, flu…
These were just a few of what constipated my weekly schedules, ultimately making me sick several times within just two months. On one hand a busy life is more fulfilling, but the fact that it makes my body sick makes me feel I need medication to help myself man up a little..or more simply just take a breather. But me being me…stupid and careless, I just kept going without thinking about the harm it did. Time to rest up Ken!
So when the Conrad Seoul Hotel contacted me to experience my luxury moment in spring I felt like it came at a perfect time. Hence still half sick and half a zombie, I decided to accept the offer and use this time for healing and spoil myself a little.
I was offered the King Deluxe room and an extra 35,000won credit to spend in the hotel. As this was a time for myself only, I decided to cut off all communication with friends and family, got out my laptop and started my therapy session…photo editing. Yes, you heard. Photo editing is my therapy session and the effect was enhanced with the 14th floor window view of the Han River. It was great to just work while watching the sun set and to witness Seoul coming alive at night.
As evening came I remembered that I forgot to pack some extra underwear…woops! But luckily I was able to take the elevator down to the IFC mall to quickly purchase some as well as stop by McDonalds for those McChicken Nuggets and curly fries. Feast!
In the following morning I was welcomed by the misty horizon of Seoul city, empty McDonalds packaging, and unanswered emails clogging up my inbox. To get those emails out of the way as soon as possible, I decided to skip the feast down at the Zest and order a breakfast in Bed (Salmon Eggs Benedict) which came no longer than 20 minutes. By the time I devoured the meal it was time to pack my bags and bid the hotel farewell. I can say I was definitely restored back to full strength and felt revitalised, like a snake shedding its skin. I would also like to thank Conrad Seoul for hosting such a peaceful and luxurious weekend.
*though this was a collaboration with Conrad Hotel, thoughts as usual are my own*
Posted on April 27, 2015
As I opened the gates I expected a certain Mad Hatter and a late rabbit to greet me with a birthday song. This was the exact feeling and imagination I had as I stumbled across En Rogel Teapot Café which is isolated and hidden in the county of Jangseong. First opened in 2006 the café owner, an artisan of steel sculpting built this masterpiece so that he can make his own ultimate artwork which is a lifelong dream.
Despite being a unique treasure of Korea, En Rogel is also surrounded by Cherry blossom trees and petals can be seen raining on its parade every spring. In addition the reservoir hosts jaw dropping mountainous scenes, making Jangseong county a countryside gem of Korea. Hidden jewels like this makes me seriously consider what else I am missing out on in this country and that maybe it’s time to not focus on Seoul too much and expose to people more charming and unique perspectives of Korea.
But like, for reals…the cherry blossoms in Seoul sucks compared to the south regions. Just sayin’
Posted on April 19, 2015
I find myself morphing into a turtle every time winter hits Korea. I seriously detest venturing outdoors so I stay inside my shell cave until hunger strikes…which is like every hour. Hence museums are always a good option for mild entertainment and shelter when stranded outside the frickin’ cold. I do take issue with museums here though. Compared to the ones in London, museums in Korea are a little bit like being served plain white bread for lunch. The architectures are mostly square, blocky, and the exhibitions usually lack the awe factor (sorry not sorry).
A group of us braved the cold and decided to travel to the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Samcheongdong, Seoul. The MMCA displays visual art, architecture, design and crafts and with its minimalistic arrangement it was a rewarding opportunity to really take full advantage of the available space. The special exhibition of Lee Bul was being showcased here as well this season and I must admit, it was different, unique, and I almost choked on the white smoke which suddenly blew in front of my face, but despite the hazards it really favoured towards my photography taste. Dangerous hazards are all art nowadays…duh~
This outing was also the first time meeting a fellow Instagrammer, Ian McKay and what a great way to express our creativity here, in the museum. Aside from being talented, he turned out to be a solid gentleman with a bundle of interesting ideas and stories…it’s such a shame he left the country and back to the states within a few months after this meetup. Why can’t we all just live in reaching proximity of each other? Whhhyyyy~
*picture credits 6 and 9 to Angie*