Summer Fridays #9: Contemplative Seoul-Based Photographer Shannon Aston

For one of our final Summer Fridays picks, we chose the New Zealand-born but Seoul, South Korea-based young photographer Shannon Aston, who submitted this quiet image of an open window in the apartment he shares with his girlfriend. The contemplative atmosphere is all about the laze of summer, but there’s a stasis to the photograph that speaks to the August doldrums we’re all currently making our way through. Soon the fall will come, with cooler weather and a breath of fresh air.

See our full interview with Shannon Aston below.

Describe the piece you submitted to Summer Fridays.

It’s the bedroom window of my small apartment that I share with my girlfriend here in Seoul, South Korea. It was shot during the late afternoon in the middle of a heat wave. Outside of the photo, my girlfriend is below me to the right, lying on the bed, passed out from the heat and a long working week. I knew she was in there snoozing in the sun. When I walked into the room and saw her resting there, the window, the light streaming in, and the warm winds circling the room, I thought, wow, this is a pure summer moment! I ran into the living room and grabbed a Lubitel 166B camera I had loaded, and shot one frame before I disturbed her sleep.

How does the piece relate to your memories of summer?

I grew up in a beach community in New Zealand where the sun is dangerously strong, so I’m familiar with that feeling of basking in the sun yet having to escape it. The sun’s energy takes over the house and your body, and the usually mundane home environment becomes energized by the summer light, heat, and wind.  Simple things become very significant. The makeshift curtain in the shot is a sarong I purchased on a surfing trip to Sumatra a couple of years ago, so it adds a personal narrative to my summer story. The Korean style hanook roof and tiles in the background also adds another exotic element, but in this moment, it’s far from exotic.

Describe your process.

Simple: just be ready and be there in the moment. Don’t force it and it will come.

How did you end up making art?

I surf and travel a lot and my adventures around the globe happened side-by-side with the development of my picture-making skills. I find inspiration in nature and the city, as well as in my true love, surfing (when I can get a wave in Korea).

How has Tumblr helped you?

Tumblr has been so good to me. It’s a super positive and talented community of people doing their own thing yet also open enough to receive your individual take on art. I enjoy the feedback and the amazing work coming in from around the world every day; it’s inspiring, humbling, and so diverse.

Each week, ARTINFO and Tumblr will select an artist to highlight from Summer Fridays. Check out the Summer Fridays Tumblr to submit your work and have a chance to be featured!