Haeundae Beach (GoEun Museum of Photography)

Yesterday I visited Haeundae Beach in southeast Busan. It is one of the most famous beaches in South Korea, and in 2009 was featured in what was billed as South Korea's first-ever disaster film, titled Haeundae (해운대) but translated in the United Kingdom as Tidal Wave. Distribution rights have been sold in 15 countries but as far as I can tell the United States is not one of them.

The beach is beautiful, and clean, as is all of South Korea, which is remarkable considering that it is difficult to find a trashcan pretty much anywhere. They are certainly not on every corner, but even so the streets are clean. I think it says a lot about Korean pride and discipline.

Being only mid-April I imagine the water is too cold to swim comfortably. I didn't see anyone in the water, and I wasn't prepared for it myself. Maybe before I leave Korea I'll go for a swim.

While leaving the beach I stumbled upon the GoEun Museum of Photography, which is only a few years old and remains the only photography-specific museum in Busan. Like the Busan Museum of Art, the museum is free. It is also small. You'd be hard-pressed to spend more than 30 minutes there, and even that would be a bit of a stretch. I saw everything in about 20 minutes. There were maybe a dozen photos upstairs, a dozen photos in the basement, and on the ground floor two Korean girls who worked reception and spoke English just well enough to confuse me with their answers. When I asked if I could take their photograph, they politely declined, one saying she was embarrassed, which of course I understood, but the other girl said she couldn't be photographed because she was expensive.

The current exhibit is called, "A Muted History; Reading the Table Stones," and features photography by Kwon Tae-Gyun. Mostly it was photos of rocks, not my cup of tea. I've come to realize that I enjoy photographs most when they include a human element, preferably human beings or at least the human imprint (e.g. rocks marred by, say, litter). But not all of the photos were just rocks. Two or three also included people or at least a human element.