Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sungnyemun Gate-National Treasure Number 1 of Korea

This is Sungnyemun Gate, this is not JUST a gate, it may look like one of the many ancient structures you can see in Seoul, but this one is different and special because this is considered the National Treasure number 1 of Korea.

Sungnyemun Gate in Korea
Aside of it being the National Treasure Number 1 of Korea, what makes this gate awesome for me is because it stands the test of time. Let me tell you what happened to this gate and what are the challenges it conquered.

 It was built in 1398, repaired in 1448, and in 1907 it was destroyed by the Japanese, during the Korean war in 1950s the gate was completely destroyed and torn apart. Korea could have stopped right there and forget about the gate, but it was repaired during the 1960s despite the great damage. Through the effort of Koreans, the gate was reassembled and rebuilt. In 2008, the gate faced another challenge, it was a fire set by an arsonist. The fire consumed the gate and again it was destroyed for the nth time. Take that!

However, the gate could be really an important symbol for Korea that they did not give up on rebuilding it. For more than five years after the fire incident, Sungnyemun gate is now standing stronger than before at the heart of Namdaemun Market proud of the scars and burns and stitches it has acquired from the challenges of time. If you happen to pass by Namdaemun Market, you will see this astonishing gate.

In front of the legendary Sungnyemun gate which is now a tourist attraction in the city
What is with Sungnyemun gate anyway? Why it was built in the first place and why people keep rebuilding it everytime it falls?

Sungnyemun gate or also known as Namdaemun gate is one of the four major gates of Seoul. I have already explained before that there are actually 8 gates in Seoul, 4 major gates and 4 minor gates and I have already shared one of the minor gates which is the Gwanghuimun gate, you can read about the article HERE. Anyway, during the Joseon period, the King came to this gate to pray and do some rituals everytime there are calamities and other natural disasters. This is where the King used to summon good weather condition from the Gods. This gate played a vital role in the life of Koreans a long long time ago and they believe it deserve to be preserved.

I like the structure of this gate, it looks sturdy and at the same time beautiful.

Closer look at the Namdaemun Gate
I like the structure especially the arched entrance in the middle. As you can see, the structure looks so strong and it has two stories.

We don't know what lies ahead to this gate, but as it is standing tall and proud right now in the middle of the city, I guess we could just stare and enjoy the presence of this large castle gate stone structure.

To visit Sungnyemun gate via subway, take subway line number 4 to Hoehyeon station, go to exit number 5, turn right and go straight until the big road, turn right and then go straight until you reach Sungnyemun gate.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Photography Exhibition of Filipino Migrant Workers at Gwanggyo Gallery in Seoul

The Photography Exhibition with the theme "Let Me Introduce Myself" of the Media Class of Yangcheon Global Migrant Center has  been recently concluded at the Gwanggyo Gallery in Cheonggye Stream in Seoul. The 5 days photo exhibit has received positive feedback from Koreans and other nationalities who happened to pass by the area. Some random audiences of the exhibit left their comments, suggestions and messages to the respective photos on the wall.

The exhibition has been participated by the Filipino Migrant Workers who enrolled in the Photography training program of YGMC. This is per se the culmination of what the students learned from the workshop. The closing program has been attended by the owners of the photos of the said exhibit, or let me refer them as The PHOTOGRAPHERS, the staffs of YGMC, Korean University students and some press.

Closing Party at the Photography Exhibiton at Gwanggyo Gallery

There are some University students who went there to interview us about the exhibit and about our experience as a foreigner living in Korea.

Personal interview with Korean students

Above all, the star of the event is of course the photos. The purpose of the exhibit is not only to showcase what we learned from the photography class in terms of technicalities but also to introduce ourselves to our audiences. It is like showing our photos on a personal level of communication. I can say that everybody did a great job with their output but I have several "favorites" in the exhibition that I decided to feature them here in this blogpost. This is just my personal choices though, I selected these photos because I can simply relate to what it is trying to convey or I just simply like it. But then again, I have to emphasize that all the photos in the exhibit are so awesome. These are just the selection of photos to which I can relate personally.

One of my favorites is this photo of a water droplet. I like it because of the colorful lights reflected on the water and the dramatic fall of the droplet of water. The truth is, no special effect or no special equipment was used to shot this. I was amazed when I saw the set up, it was really a smart idea, but of course I don't want to spoil it out here. I reckon this could be used in a commercial.

Photography by Meynard Ramirez

Let's check out these photos in black and white. The photographer loves monochrome because she said she can express her emotions and she can tell more stories when the photo is in black and white. I guess it's true, monochrome is indeed an emotion-filled type of photography. Looking at the photos, you can sense her fears and her struggles in life, that is why I find it attractive even without the colors.

Photography by Kristine Bulanadi

This one is something I can relate too. There is an element of light in his photography. A guitar outlined by colorful light is something pleasing to an eye. The photographer used a very slow shutter speed to make the light outlining possible. I assume he likes music because he chose guitar as his subject and highlight it with the beautiful colorful lights.

Photography by Leonardo Carlet

Taking sunset photos requires a lot of patience and time especially if you want to take a sequence shot of it. Just imagine how many hours the photographer waited just to achieve this photo sequence. And he did a great job with these. You can see how the sun changes position from a certain period of time until it completely gone. When I look at these pictures, I feel melancholic and nostalgic at the same time.

Photography by Arman Carinan

These photos show how the photographer value his time, marriage and his family. I don't know what kind of ring is in the picture, but I am guessing it's a wedding ring. I like the way he makes small objects appear big in the image and how he shot at an angle favorable to light.

Photography by Ralph Marvin Tamayo Aguirre

I love silhouette, in fact I once started to practice perfecting silhouette photography but I could not really make it good. But this photographer did a good job with this. Awesome is understatement because you can really see the outline of the subject including every corner of it.

Photography by Whillerz de Guzman

Sometimes, illusion in photography requires a lot of time to process what is really the subject of the photo. I find this one beautiful because it shows an illusion of a girl lying on the old wall of the building. I don't know how the photographer did this but I guess it's an angle at work right there.

Photography by Yehdenimax Salcedo

This one is also my favorite, Street Photography. I love how the photographer cropped portion of scenes from random street and tells story out of it. I just realize that there are a lot of stories you can find at the street.

Photography by Anny Martinez

This one, not necessarily my favorite, but I have to include because it's mine. It shows about light and labor and it is my personal advocacy to highlight the laborers of the world.

With my Photography teacher Min Im and photo journalist Soa Baek

The exhibition has been very successful. it opens an opportunity to all of us to showcase what we can say about ourselves through photography. I would like to personally thank YGMC Management and Staffs especially Ms. Eunae Anna Cho and our teacher Ms. Min Im for making this event possible. We will forever cherish this experience.