Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Independence Day in the United States of America - Symbolism in 2015

So much history has transpired since the founding of the United States of America 239 years ago.  Though far from perfect, the American system of governance allowed people to dream and to achieve so much.  But the times are changing, no?  And so is the country that I love.

I've already said too much.  I'll let the symbols and the symbolism communicate.

Storms Ahead
© Mark Eaton

Before the Fall
© Mark Eaton

As a Graveyard, As a New Beginning
© Mark Eaton

Inevitably, all things do pass.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Urban Flowers 2 - An Abstract Study of American Infrastructure

I usually will walk everywhere I go.  True, it does take longer to travel from one point to another, but then again I see more that I otherwise would if I were traveling by vehicle.

I saw this scene late in the morning while I was walking home from the supermarket, and I was struck by the irony and symbolism it represented.  

 Urban Flowers 2
© Mark Eaton

It seems society will build big and great things, but then move on to some other project without giving much thought to the necessity of maintaining that which was previously built.  The decaying and collapsing infrastructure is very representative of the collapsing American society.  The same can be said of relationships, too, in my opinion.

Without maintaining and nurturing, the collapse will be complete...then, in a manner of speaking, everyone will be walking.  Since nature abhors a vacuum, I doubt the new structure and relationships that will fill the void will be palatable to many Americans.  This is represented by the flowers that are growing in the decay -- though beautiful, they are not indigenous to any single place in the state of Arizona.  Additionally, the plant is an annual, not a perennial.  I know that my preference for living the life of an expat is strongly represented in this study.  As I picked up the plastic bags of groceries, I couldn't help but laugh at the irony.

The tears didn't arrive until I processed the image in the dry darkroom.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Stalagmite Shattered - Abstract Photography

I like composing abstract photography.  A lot, really.  The subject can be large, or it can be small.  The idea can be minimal, or it can be more complex.  The composition can be representative, or even symbolic.  There are times when it doesn't have to be anything at all.  Maybe, though, it is everything.

Stalagmite Shattered
© Mark Eaton

This image was not found in a cave, but instead it was composed not too far from Lee's Ferry along the Colorado River.  Symbolic, perhaps, of the care and respect I strive to maintain when I'm interacting with nature in my own way.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ulla Reimer to Conduct a Photography Workshop in Seoul in May 2015

Ulla Reimer is a professional photographer from France who has been in the business for forty years.  That's right...four decades.  When I lived in China, we would spend time chatting, and she was kind enough to show me some of her work that she exhibited at a prestigious show in the Middle Kingdom.  Her fine art photography is outstanding.  
She currently resides in Seoul.

Ulla has had a distinguished career in the field of photography from being a photojournalist, a portraitist for the stars, and a fine art photographer.  She informed me a day or so ago that she is conducting a workshop in Seoul this coming May.  

I asked her if people could still sign-up to participate in the workshop, and she said yes.  She made it a point to tell me that people who have no experience with photography to those who are very experienced with photography are welcome to participate.

The workshop is a four day event to be held in Seoul.  Here is a poster that discusses the contents of the workshop:

There are a couple of ways to contact Ulla so that you can sign-up to participate in the workshop:

1)  Contact Ulla by email:

2)  If you have Kao Kao Talk, Ulla's ID is ur031

3)  Go to her website:  Ulla Reimer.  Please go to her contact page for her email address.  Enjoy the photographs on her site while you are at it.

Have fun at the workshop!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Chapel of the Valley in Prescott Valley

Prescott Valley is next to Prescott, and both of these very small municipalities are north and west of the Phoenix metropolis.  They are situated at a higher elevation than that of Phoenix; consequently, something approaching the four seasons can be appreciated.

In Prescott Valley, or PV for those old salts who live in the area, there is a an interesting structure that sits on a piece of private property located within the boundaries of Fain Park.  There are many other sources that explain the history of the region far better than I could even attempt, but I do want to discuss briefly this structure.  It is called The Chapel of the Valley.

The Chapel of the Valley
© Mark Eaton

It is a small building, and it is well maintained.  It isn't a traditional meeting place for Christian worshipers every Sunday, but it can be used for weddings and other somber and sobering functions that I would rather avoid.  Usually the doors are closed and secured unless a local volunteer happens to be on duty in the chapel itself.  Volunteers oft times are associated with an historical society or some other organization, and it is these people who provide opportunities for regular everyday people to access that which is often inaccessible.

I happen to know one of the volunteers here.  She has been a friend for many years, and she invited me to the chapel during her volunteer time.  She advised me to bring my camera, because I just might be impressed with all of the stained glass windows that are a large part of the chapel.

I don't do much work with color photography at this stage of my life, but I couldn't resist the temptation to do some color work after I entered the building.  Each window is stained glass that depicts certain figures or events important to Christians. 

Stained Glass Window at
The Chapel of the Valley
© Mark Eaton

There isn't a regular window in the place, and on a sunny day the colors are rather amazing in such a small structure.

 Stained Glass Window at
The Chapel of the Valley
© Mark Eaton

Stained Glass Window at
The Chapel of the Valley
© Mark Eaton

Why the apparent dark section in the above image?  The very first photo of this article provides the answer to that question.
Besides the stained glass windows, there are other things within the chapel that would interest a history buff.  The pipe organ is small...well, you'll have to take your own camera for that one.
This final image of the resurrected Savior is located on the western wall of the chapel, and it was the first image I saw as I entered the doors of the chapel as seen in the first photograph of this article.  I imagine the setting sun can produce some interesting light on this particular stained glass window.
Stained Glass Window at
The Chapel of the Valley
© Mark Eaton

Should you find yourself in Prescott Valley, I hope you can get a chance to view the interior of the little chapel. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Absurd Excuse to Not Travel Abroad

A short time ago I exchanged email messages with a man whom I have known for many years.  He is an intelligent man.

I asked him if he possessed a current passport so that he could join me in one of my adventures abroad.  He is aware of my fondness for Asia since I have lived in South Korea for some years and in China for too short a time.  His response was that he would not visit any country that didn't provide him the right to observe the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution while in that country.  A man has a right to protect himself, he explained to me.

I was wondering if this was a joke, but then some of the misinformed stereotypical observations about the peoples of China, in particular, and Asians, in general, showed me that this was not any type of attempt at humor.  I sat in front of the computer, stunned, for several minutes.

My response wasn't too complex.  I asked him if he used Skype, because I sure would like to have a face to face chat with a friend I haven't seen in such a long time.  His reply was that he had heard of it from another friend who traveled overseas, but that he had never used it.  His reasoning that it wouldn't serve any purpose to give the government goons at NSA, or any other entity, an easy opening to observe a chat.  In his response to me, he advised any snooper reading that particular missive that they should instead read the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution.

I took a couple of days to write back a lengthy response.  I explained that it is important to not allow the dictates of dogma derail life.  In my imperfect way, I tried to share information about safety and security in the areas I resided in during my time in South Korea and China.  Though the places where I lived were not perfect, true of anyplace on earth, the need to pack heat as if he were in an American municipality wasn't necessary.  In fact, living in those areas was a welcome relief.

It's been well over a week now, however, I've a feeling he won't reply.  But maybe he did send something to me, and maybe it, you know, those guys.

I suppose all I can do now is give my friend this look.

Self-Portrait: The Unusual Man
© Mark Eaton

If I could share any worthwhile advice to my American friends, it would be to cut the crap and travel abroad.  Do it before the dogma chains you down permanently.  Once that happens, you've gone over the edge.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Photography at McKenzie House in Suncheon

I was very pleased to have been able to place my photograph, Dwindling, at the McKenzie House restaurant in Suncheon recently.  The master chef, Sue, who is one of the nicest of all the people I have had the privilege to meet, told me that the photograph will be moving around a bit in the restaurant in order to interact with the other photos there.

McKenzie House - Dwindling by Mark Eaton
© Mark Eaton

If you like good food, photography, coffee, and people, then I suggest visiting McKenzie House.  When you drop in, be sure to say hello to Sue.  She will always have a smile and a kind word to share with visitors.

Sue Shows Dwindling at McKenzie House
© Mark Eaton

 A few years ago I submitted Dwindling to the International Color Awards photography competition.  It earned a Nominee in Nature award.  Check it out, along with the other submissions, here.

For those who are interested, I only have five prints of Dwindling remaining. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Hospital Culture

This isn't a discussion about my being hit by a car in Suncheon with only two weeks before departing for the United States, but rather it is a discussion about the hospital culture I experienced while spending more than a week in the hospital due to my being hit by that car.

I was wheelchair bound during the first part of my hospital stay at 순천 제일 병원.  Groggy from the pain and from the pain medication, I nevertheless ventured out of my hospital room.  At first, I only explored the nooks and crannies on my assigned floor, but then I utilized the elevators to explore the different areas of the hospital.

 Top Floor - Large Room and Elevator Access
© Mark Eaton

As is my nature, I would greet anyone and everyone who passed me.  The first day or so the responses were guarded, as can be expected.  It didn't take long for some fellow patients to stop and to chat.  I struggled with my Korean language skills, and they struggled with their English language skills.  No one had any place to go, so more time was spent trying to communicate.

I soon saw some patterns developing.  The male patients formed communities largely based upon room assignments.  Not much interaction occurred outside those assignments.  

However, the female patients formed groups according to innate and instinctive ability that meant that a certain type of community and cohesion could comfortably exist.  Too, based upon assigned rooms, the females also ventured into other areas to interact with other female patients.  I found that three females groups existed:  1) Old Grandmothers, 2) Nice/Decent Women, and 3) Wild Women.  There was also a fourth female group, which I tabbed the School Girl Group.  Except for the bleach blond young lady who had no qualms about saying hello, the SGG members spent a lot of time peering into their phones, hence I won't discuss this group.

Due to physical abilities, the Old Grandmothers stayed mainly in their rooms except when the need to exercise or the need to use the facilities arose.  The members of the other two groups, however, were physically active and socially active.  

The Wild Women were the first to approach me as I sat on the sofa in the lounge area on my floor.  It soon became apparent that no casualties would be suffered by talking to me, so I was invited into the WW room to eat some tasty Korean food that was brought into the hospital from the outside.  In Korea, it is expected that food and beverages be brought into the hospital as a way food.  The invitation to consume the spirited beverages was always declined by me, because I didn't know how my pain meds would interact with the...spirits.  It was fairly obvious to me what the combination did for those in the WW group.

Soon afterwards, the Nice/Decent Women invited me into the room to read, share stories, and to look at art.  There was a schoolboy in my room who spoke English.  One night the both of us were invited into the N/D room so that he could do homework.  Plenty of food to eat, but without any of the spirited beverages. 

After a day or so of this, one nurse or another would find a reason, not that any was needed, to come into the rooms carrying a medical tray or a clipboard that were never used.  And just as quickly out of the room they went, the entire time carrying a remarkably neutral face.

My offer to buy coffee for the nurses at their station was met with a brief discussion amongst one another.  The head nurse settled it and said ok.  I think they were a bit surprised when I returned from the downstairs coffee shop with the correct order.  The excess hamburgers or chicken I offered to the nurses, and they accepted with bright smiles. 

A couple of the men did invite me into their room for a chat and for coffee.  We would greet each other as we saw progress from being stuck in a wheelchair to being able to stand upright again, though with assistance.

And so on, and so on.

I want to take a moment to praise the doctors and the nurses at 순천 제일 병원.  They are competent professionals.  I was especially impressed with the nurses.  They asked pointed questions about my condition and symptoms that generated the need for further tests.  Sharp as tacks, they are.

Just a couple of more photographs of the top floor of the hospital.

Top Floor - Kitchen Entrance
© Mark Eaton

Top Floor - Access to Elevators
© Mark Eaton

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Abstract Photography - Structure

Late last year I wrote a short article about why I like abstract photography.  The article, along with a couple of my photographs, can be found here.

I recently uploaded some new abstract compositions at my website.  Specifically, these images are structures of various types from South Korea as well as China.  

 Alien Structure and Moon
© Mark Eaton

Scenes photographed at night adds a surreal dimension that is not possible if photographed during daylight hours.

© Mark Eaton

I hope you enjoy the mystery as much as I.

© Mark Eaton

Please take a look at some of my abstract photography: Abstract Photography.

I hope everyone has a wonderful year during 2015.