Out of the markets in Seoul, the one I like the most is Dongdaemun. You can find anything you want there. I’m not talking about consumer stuff, of course you can find anything you want there if the market is big enough, but parts of this market has industrial stuff as well, and that makes for great photo opportunities. With black & white film, some parts of this market can have that classic vintage look to the photos.
The area in question is between Euljiro-4 and Euljiro-3 Metro station and south of the small stream on the map
So what happens on Sundays. First of all, in that area that is marked in English as “Sallim-dong” on the map above, most of the shops are closed. There are some workshops that are still open on Sunday – but it looks like the only reason is to catch up on the backlogged work. You can safely say that it is generally closed on Sunday. So there are all these alleyways that are devoid of human beings, but you can still get a sense of the spirit of the market. So over a few Sundays I made my way there, walked around, got lost a few times, and once I do, I just walk straight and eventually I’ll hit a metro station and I’ll find my bearings again.
Here is are some of the photos taken during the survey. They’re all taken with Leica Ms and I believe a majority of them were with 24mm, which I prefer in tight places and it retains a rectilinear look unlike something wider. Enjoy and leave comments if you wish.
These shops are close to Euljiro-4 station. Start of my walk. Nothing interesting yet. Walking into the small alleys, here’s the first workshop, sewing machines. It took me some time to meter this show, trying to balance the strong backlighting with the shadows inside the shop. And this is the reason I prefer film, you can control the contrast by development and prevent blown highlights. One of the thing I like about this market (and markets in Korea in general) are all these transport Daelim bikes.
… And sometimes there are the more discrete fuel-saving ones too… Or these ones that look like those human transporter in smaller towns in China. Here’s a hybrid Daelim. Or a human powered pull-carts. I guess they just leave them on Sundays since no one will steal them. Motor envy Stairway to nowhere Lets have a look at the alleys. There are the occasional pedestrian or dogs and cats, but otherwise it is quiet as hell I believe that this restaurant was opened when I passed by. Usually places like these have the best food, but I was not hungry at the time. I think I know what they make here… Here’s one area with a jumble of signboards I took this obligatory bokeh shot. The 24mm Elmarit ASPH does a nice job at it. In the background, some sign of humanity. I like machine shops. They bring the feeling of being in the industrial age. That could be the reason I almost always look for them to photograph Discarded machine parts litter this alley way close to the stream up north of the original map on this post. They could be spare parts. More parts… Here’s a guy that’s working overtime in his workshop. The deeper you go into the alleys, the more one-man workshop you will find. I don’t know what this one does, it looks like a jewellery workbench.
I think I’ll end right here. There are no real order to the photos, I just put them all here. I will probably have enough photos to do an essay one day, but the trickiest part is to think of a topic to write about. Dongdaemun…