Kraków, Zakopane in Poland
During the 8 years I lived in Germany, I was fortunate enough to have had many opportunities to travel. As the travel route was blocked for a long time due to the Covid-19 , I was suddenly summoned to the time when I had traveled freely without any restriction in the past. It was ordinary but precious daily life. Now, it has become a memory that doesn't look like a photograph, but I believe that because of these times, I must have become an artist in search of the beauty and meaning of our life. Starting today, I decided to take out my previous travel photos little by little.
I have always felt that living in Europe has a large square in the city, an old church in the square, and a flower market around the church. There is a fountain in front of the city hall, carriages for tourists, and various large and small street performances are held. Outdoor cafes with beautiful flower decorations are common on the street.
The ceiling inside St. Mary's Cathedral in Kraków Square was a beautiful blue like the sky.
Below is a small cathedral taken in Zakopane. It's a small Catholic church, but it caught my eye at the time. I later drew this church and gave it to a friend.
The photos I am posting now aren't going to look like reviews from commercial travel sites. It is simply a recall of memories, ignoring the constant flow of time and place logically. Are there times when we do too? Suddenly, unorganized thoughts pop up, but sometimes it gives me a sense of stability.
When we travel to an unfamiliar but beautiful country, we press hard on the camera's shutter whenever we meet a great scenery. And time goes by. All that remains is a photo. However, this too often exceeds the capacity. We live with so much visual data in our minds and in our heads, above all else, in one space on the Internet. Is travel a continuation of storing photos like this? Those who truly know travel know all too well that this is not the case. When I travel, a memorable and iconic scene remains in my mind.
So did I in Poland. I still can't forget the beautiful white-haired old woman who was selling cotton candy in the big square. She was very warm and had beautiful blue eyes. I think she was probably representing Poland, not cotton candy, but warm kindness and love. I still think of her when I say Poland.
When I go to an unfamiliar country, I come in contact with a culture, life, and landscape that is different from the environment I used to live in. It is like a child trying to enter with curiosity in front of a large, beautiful but tightly closed door.
Why did I photograph this scene? There are times when I don't understand when I look at the last picture. However, as time goes by, I come to realize that these everyday photos are very precious, rather than a special and glamorous tourist destination. I miss Europe so much. I want to ride the colorful tram that passes between the densely lined buildings and houses.
While living in the US for the same amount of time as in Germany, I also meet friends who have lived in Europe for a long time. At such times, the same nostalgia that everyone talks about is the outdoor cafe. In the United States, there are not many places where you can walk freely while looking at the streets without a car, so this place is the biggest disappointment.
Myungja Anna Koh