Written and photographed by Adam Travis
After nearly two months, Gwangju is starting to feel like home. Nevertheless, moving from a city of around 50,000 to a metropolis of 1.6 million was a huge change for me. While the bustle isn’t so obvious in my little corner of Seo-gu with its quiet, tree-lined streets, it was certainly present the weekend I spent at the 7080 Chungjang Recollection Festival.
After sidestepping my way up a sidewalk packed with vendors, the crowds parted. The long, sloping silhouette of the Hanul Madang (aka the big greenspace at the Asia Culture Center) and its dangling lights caught my attention. I brought my camera to my eye.
It can be easy to let any creative work fall to the side after a 40-hour week. When Monday to Friday are fully packed and the weekends are for playing catchup on chores and errands (or just unwinding), the act of writing, photography, or creating other art can quickly fall off the to-do list.
The solution, for me, has not been to carve out chunks of time in which I’m allowed to take photos, but to make photography part of my every day routine. Documenting the changing streetscapes I see on my morning walk to work, the feel of taking the late bus home after a long day, or a quiet moment of tranquility in a bustling festival are reasons for me to keep my camera close.
With this mentality, the picture I took represented a brief moment of tranquility in a busy, exciting day; an oasis of green in a sprawling urban landscape is a metaphor as apt as any. But being only a moment, the pastel sky deepened to an inky black, and I ducked back into the crowd – a moment of peace giving way to an evening of excitement.
Adam Travis is an English teacher in Gwangju. Adam is originally from New Brunswick, Canada and can usually be found behind a camera when he’s not in front of a classroom.