Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tales From Our Skin by José Antonio Nigro

The photographer José Antonio Nigro is currently exhibiting his project titled, Tales From Our Skin.  The exhibition is at Gallery Golmok in Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea.

This is the artist's fifth solo exhibition at Gallery Golmok.  He is truly an international photographer who has shown his work worldwide.  The quality of his work, and the stories his photographs tell, is breathtaking. 

The link here leads to the Facebook event page that provides details about Tales From Our Skin.

José Antonio Nigro's website is accessed here.  

The exhibit ends Wednesday, November 28, 2012.

Friday, November 23, 2012

japanCrush and Michael Wolf

The photographer Michael Wolf is receiving a bit of attention in Japan for his photographing commuters on trains during rush hour in Tokyo.  The blog japanCrush displays the photos taken by Mr. Wolf as well as several translated comments posted by netizens.  Take a look at what the hubbub is all about here.

Michael Wolf has a great many series on his website titled, Life in Cities.  His photographic work is seen here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Winter Kimchi - 김장

This past weekend my wife and I were invited by friends to join them on a family farm located in 경상도.  We had the good fortune to observe the annual ritual of relatives and friends making winter kimchi.

When I create my own work, I care very much about the process and the final result.  When I observe others creating, I am most interested in the process.  In other words, I want to know what is happening behind the scenes.

There is a lot of community work involved in the making of winter kimchi, or 김장.  Each family has its own special way of doing things, and its own recipe for success.  It is a group effort and everyone has a role to play.

What I saw and how I saw it:

 Old Wizard
© 2012 Mark Eaton

Felines on a Frozen Morning
© 2012 Mark Eaton

Searching for Something Special
© 2012 Mark Eaton

Men at Work
© 2012 Mark Eaton

The Catch
© 2012 Mark Eaton

Field Work
© 2012 Mark Eaton

Harvested Cabbage
© 2012 Mark Eaton

Time for a Break
© 2012 Mark Eaton

Labor of Love
© 2012 Mark Eaton

I enjoyed an intimacy with the land and with the people that my vocabulary can't describe adequately.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Martyn Thompson: Thinker, Photographer, Artist

Martyn Thompson is a forward thinking artist whose work includes photography, acrylic sculpture, documentary work, and music.  He has been involved in a number of exhibitions showcasing his extraordinary artwork.  Not to mention that he also curates art shows.  Too, he has a job teaching English in South Korea.  And he and his wife have recently had a beautiful son.  I think somewhere in his schedule he has time to breath, but I don't know when!

As is true with many artists and photographers, the work is about light; however, Martyn uses light in a way that is so unlike how others use it.

The power of a particular piece of art is very important to Martyn.  The art critic James Elkins reports here that the time a patron views a piece of art in a museum or gallery is measured in seconds.  His aim is to create a piece that has a strong impact when viewed for the first time.  Drawing a person in and capturing the mind of the viewer is key.

As any artist does, Martyn appreciates the time a viewer spends to get up close to his art to look around at all sides in order to figure out and understand the piece.  I think a reader will note how important it is to hang a piece of art at the correct height so as to assist the impact of the piece.

I asked Martyn what motivates him, and his answer is worth quoting and remembering:

"My motivation is trying to push what I have already done until it provides me with a more difficult question.  An artist should always question one's self, and evaluate where the work is going and in which direction one wishes to pursue.  The questions get more complex, as are the possible solutions, but if they remain simple, you may as well do a paint-by-numbers."

To him, a number of Futurist artists, particularly Giacomo Balla and Carlo Carra, played a large role in his thinking.  To the point, striving to destroy the art of the past by contriving new and vastly different perceptions of art.

When Martyn was in school, the Korean artist Bak Nam June had a very big influence on him.  This influence can been seen with Martyn's use of technology in his art.

I first became acquainted with his work when I first viewed his creative and beautiful photography on Facebook.  Little did I understand how these photographs were presented in the real world. 

Martyn's own words are best used to explain his process:

"Initially, I will take a panoramic view of the surrounding area, with a digital camera, working my way around and down in concentric circles, capturing the whole of the environment.  When these images are arranged on a computer, as many as two hundred separate images may be used to construct the final piece.

These are then further broken in to layers of depth, with the furthest items displayed only in the back image, working up to the foreground.  Each layer is then printed on a separate piece acrylic paneling, and these are attached to an LED light box to illuminate the image from the back." 

In my opinion, this is an imaginative and creative process.  This process is also applied to his work with models.  The artist and model Jung Min is the subject of the piece immediately below.

It is a process that requires patience and an eye for detail.  Quality work and quality art cannot be rushed else it will look shoddy and amateurish.  Martyn's father is a model railway enthusiast who takes the time to build just about everything from scratch.  He even builds and solders the electronics necessary to operate the model railway.  I have a feeling that some of that work ethic and knowledge rubbed off onto Martyn.

The acrylic sculpture presented below is titled, Festival Guitar Man.  It illustrates well the detail and workmanship that is required for excellence.

Martyn is quick to praise his wife for the positive influence she has had on him.  She is a graphic designer, and her assistance in buying supplies and contacting factories to produce new or experimental techniques and media is invaluable.  It was she, he candidly admits, who persuaded him to present his best work.  For that reason, he will not substitute quality for cost.  What a wonderful team.

He shared this important and wise advice with me:

"Finding reliable people to work with is an excruciatingly time consuming necessity for any artist.  Whether it be a regular supplier of canvas, a printer or a framer, maintaining these relationships and finding out what good can come does not happen without some epic failures along the way.  Keep trying new places until you until you find what you are looking for."    

Not surprisingly, Martyn stepped back from art when his son was born early in 2012.  Spending time with his son has helped him to mature, and that is pushing his work in a different direction.  Because of the constraints of time and prioritizing what is most important to him, his documentary work is on hold for the time being.

Within the last year, he has been published in PHOTO (ARTVAS), Leaders Magazine, Elle a l'Seoul, Mokpo Today, and the Seoul Art Guide.

I mentioned that Martyn has been involved with music, too.  He played bass guitar for a band called Flying Maru that performed in a number of shows in Seoul.  Listen to some of the music here.

He organized and curated the Homo-Sapiens exhibition earlier this year at Gallery Golmok.  He will curate a show in December 2012 in Insadong at iGallery that will look at man's relationship with animals.

He recently concluded a group exhibit at the Jeonju Biennale.  Early in 2013 he will have his second solo exhibition in Mokpo.

His website can be accessed here.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Not To Do List

Luke Copping is a commercial and editorial photographer in Buffalo, New York.  He posted on his blog a list of 10 things a photographer should not do to become a successful photographer.  Read his insightful thoughts here.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hugo Lee: Shooting the STYLE

Hugo Lee has a relatively new, yet laid back street style photo blog that features some nice images from South Korea of that genre.  Take a look:  Shooting The STYLE

Thursday, November 8, 2012

So Long, Brenton Stevens

I will not miss 2012 a whit with all of the news I have received about family and friends passing this year.  I received word this evening that someone with whom I taught here in South Korea, a friend, has died in his home country of Canada.  

Brenton Stevens had taught here in Korea for more than a decade, and his input was invaluable to me when I first arrived in country.  Many a times we had feasted on his homemade pizza, shared beers, and told tales.  I can't even begin to imagine how his wife feels.

The online obituary is found here.

So long, Brenton.  You will be missed, but not forgotten.  I'm drinking a couple of beers in remembrance, man.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Interview With Groove Korea

Groove Korea is an online and hard copy English language publication in South Korea that reports and covers a wide range of topics.  I was very excited when I was asked for an interview to be included in the November 2012 edition about one of my favorite places to photograph in South Korea:  Waon Beach.

Dylan Goldby, who is a remarkable photographer and writer, interviewed me for Groove's Capturing Korea feature.  Waon Beach is the ideal place for me to conduct a longitudinal project that supports my love and appreciation for water and the sea.  To read the interview and to see some previously unpublished photographs of the area, please visit the Groove Magazine website here.

Thank you, Dylan Goldby, for interviewing me for this article.  A big thank you to Matt Lamers, who is the editor-in-chief at Groove Korea, for your kindness and support.

This photograph wasn't a part of the interview; however, it does show Waon Beach when I visited during a rainstorm.  I shot this scene from within the structure I mentioned in the article. 

© Mark Eaton

Monday, November 5, 2012

KoreaMaria Announces: Self-Defense Seminar in Gwangju

The news of the abduction and rape of a 22 year old female expatriate by a taxi driver in Gwangju-si, Jeollanam-do, South Korea has motivated many expats living in the province to raise awareness and to provide services to increase the safety of foreign residents.

For example, KoreaMaria has posted on her blog some information about a self defense seminar that will be held regularly in Gwangju.  Her post also includes helpful information regarding how one can increase personal safety.  To read her article, please visit her site here.

As KoreaMaria mentioned in her post, the Jeolla Safety Alliance has a Facebook page, and it can be accessed here

Please help spread the word.  Thank you.

Friday, November 2, 2012

How to Photograph the Person

I just didn't feel like doing much at all this beautiful autumn morning.  The 2012 Suncheon Photo Club exhibition concluded a couple of days ago, and I spent quite a bit of time last night working on submissions for an upcoming solo exhibit.  I thought I would spend some time this morning just taking a look at what other photographers were doing.

In addition to being a member of the Suncheon Photo Club, the only foreign member of that august body, I am a member of the Gwangju Photo Club, too.  I was revisiting some of the images posted on the GPC Facebook page from the recent Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk that many club members posted.  Time and again, I kept viewing an image submitted by the Joe Wabe, who also happened to be the walk leader in Gwangju.

I realize not all of my readers will be able to view Joe Wabe's photograph of two Korean women here, because many do not have Facebook accounts.  A wise decision on their part, I know.

The art of photographing the person is much different than taking a photo of people.  Recording the mood, the feeling, the inner being of a person is no simple task.  The subject must have a trust and a belief in the photographer, and the photographer must reciprocate.  A bond between the persons is necessary.

While viewing the mentioned photograph above, I reminded myself of the photographic work by Claudine Doury.  Rather than wax poetic using polysyllabic superlatives, I direct the viewer's attention to Claudine Doury's website here.  

It is an art and a gift that just cannot be packaged and sold on one of those trendy photo sites, nor at some photo conference or workshop.  It is inside a photographer, or it isn't.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Roman Rivera: Artistic Photographer

I look at the photographic art created by Roman Rivera, and I feel at ease.  I marvel at the scenes composed by Roman, and, too, I wonder where on this Earth such places exist; I so want to be there.  I came to understand that such places are in my heart, and in my mind.  Yet such places do exist in the physical word, but it is the point of view of an individual to see the beauty displayed.  Roman not only sees the beauty and the peace, he has the ability to show it to the world.

Trees in the Mist
© Roman Rivera

Currently, Roman appreciates photography as a hobby; however, he has plans to approach photography professionally.  He loves the art of photography, because it is his way to keep in touch with the world.  It is my opinion that he is well grounded in the arts.  In fact, he is inspired by the great artists of the past.  Artists such as J. M. William Turner, and Edward Steichen are only two examples of the greats who do inspire Roman.

Roman is very candid about how he processes his work.  When he takes photographs he already sees the end result before the image is even uploaded onto his computer.

© Roman Rivera

He uses correct photography techniques when he takes a photograph.  He merges the image with textures in his workflow.  An extraordinary piece of art results.  He says there are no big secrets to his process.  I wish it were so easy!

    Waiting the Butterflies
© Roman Rivera

Beyond the Invisible
© Roman Rivera

As can be seen from the photographs above, Roman is especially fond of nature.  He also does fantastic work with cityscapes and city scenes, too.

 Grand Canal, Venice
© Roman Rivera

A Day in Vitoria-Gasteiz
© Roman Rivera

It is his desire to travel the world for his photography.  He wants to expand his photographic art, and he wants to show people how he sees the world.  I like his vision.

Between Earth and Heaven
© Roman Rivera

 Journey to Nowhere
© Roman Rivera

Roman Rivera is wildly popular on Facebook.  His work can be seen on his Facebook page here.

His photographic art can also be seen on his Wix page here.