I am a regular traveller to South Korea. On Geoje Island, I learned of an abandoned amusement park overlooking the town. The fun park, called Okpo Land, had been closed down in 1999 due to a series of accidents, the last when a young girl tragically fell to her death from a ride.
The park, perched on top of a hill, was in the process of being reclaimed by the surrounding bushland. Although it was deserted, graffti, rubbish and empty beer bottles were evidence that it was still being used as a ‘fun park.’ On that day, I was the only person there, but I had an eerie feeling that I was not alone. Was it my imagination, or was there really a restless spirit inhabiting the area?
I have since returned to Geoje Island but Okpo Land has now been demolished to make room for a hotel. To honour the people who died at this site, author and storyteller Morgan Schatz Blackrose, and I have published a book dedicated to the lost souls of Okpo Land. You can download it as a PDF file for free here: carousel
My brain stores a lot of images, it’s a quasi portable media bank. When I study pictures of other photographers, I often make a mental note of the composition or the concept that the photographer may have used. I don’t use this to copy the work but it helps me to recognise possibilities in image making when I am out and about. So when I came across this image of pole fishermen in southern Sri Lanka this year, Steve McCurry’s famous photo wasn’t far from my mind.
It was a real thrill for me to be able to witness this scene. The photograph may lack the dynamic drama of McCurry’s work, but it serves to document my own experience of being there.