Years ago, when we were living in Seoul and traveling around the region quite a bit, I went through a film photography phase. From deep inside my closet I resurrected my old Pentax K1000 and hit the streets to look for things to photograph. The funny thing about using film after a few years of photographing only in digital, was that this time around I found myself much more mindful. Buying and developing film can get expensive. Every time I raised the camera to my eye, looked through the viewfinder, framed the shot, set the focus, speed and aperture, I was thinking, “Is this worth the film?” In the process of shooting on film, I became more conscientious and thoughtful about the images I was taking from the world.
Then as we were planning our next trip to Shanghai, I thought of an odd little project. I wanted to take a print of Seoul to Shanghai and photograph it in Shanghai. And then develop that photograph and photograph it somewhere else, and so on.
Not long after Shanghai, we visited Kyoto. So the photograph in Shanghai of the photograph of Seoul went with me to Kyoto. I felt a little self-conscious as I paused in various public places in Kyoto to position the photograph and then step back and photograph it. In New York City, the next stop, I didn’t feel as self-conscious, maybe because I consider New York my “home turf.” In Dalian, China, I photographed my photograph of Seoul in my photograph of Shanghai in my photograph of Kyoto in my photograph of New York. At this point, the earliest photo of Seoul was barely distinguishable, a tiny spec.
Next came Bangkok. Then Hong Kong. Then Quito (Ecuador), Seoul, Hong Kong (we had moved to Hong Kong at this point), Thailand, Seoul, Malaysia, Chengdu, Hangzhou (I was pregnant at this point)… And then for a long pause, we didn’t take any trips and I put away my film camera, to begin my journey of motherhood.
To be honest, I don’t really know what I am “trying to say” with this project. I think it’s more of an exploration than anything, a kind of “thinking aloud” about travel and memory, only with photographs instead of words. I have put it down for now, but I might pick up this thread again at some later point. For now, I am journeying through motherhood by creating other things.