Mr Jeong is thinking business thoughts, perhaps he’ll start the goat farm he has long planned. He is sitting in an old pine tree, some seven meters off the ground.
A can-do-man, Jeong, aka ‘papa’, used to run his own taekwondo club and has a 5th degree black belt. Each belt has a symbolic meaning that compares to the growth of a pine tree. Papa’s hometown Gang neung is referred to as the ‘city of pines’ and his suggested location for our shoot was therefore fittingly a grove of pines, just down the hill from the 700 Village where he lives.
Papa’s initial plan was to set up a health center and to make medicine out of herbs, but people kept visiting and visiting and visiting, and in the end the logical move was to open a guest house! His wife joined him in the enterprise and they opened the 700 village in 2002. He now tends to horses, ponies, dogs and sledging, farmland, two trouts, stargazing tours, mountain bikes, hiking tours and countless Korean pancakes.
According to his story, he met his wife through eating too many instant noodles while working as a city official in Seoul in the late 70’s. Jeong’s relatives worried his ascetic diet would be to his detriment and eventually introduced him to ‘mama’.
The already perfect day was topped off with a banquet of beef rib hot pot cooked and a midnight open car stargazing ride and howling at the moon at midnight. See the short behind the scenes video at the end of this post.
Prepping the Miscanthus sinensis gracillimus, also known as the maiden hair grass. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
In the courtyard of the 700 Village, which papa set up right next door to his older brother’s dairy farm. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Squatting in the shade. Papa has noticed the changes in weather and temperatures over the last twenty years. There has been much fewer thunderstorms and considerably hotter summers than ever before. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Papa liked these shoe kilties so much he’s been wearing them ever since the shoot. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Kang Ho, papa’s Alaskan Malamute observed us from a safe distance. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Papa slept in his car in order to get us into the national preservation area to check out this potential shooting location. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
A few branches had to be sacrificed for the optimum camera view. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
This is the most high production shoot we’ve ever done. We had dogs, ladders, buses, bookings, security belts, tools, helmets, food, rain jackets and camera assistants, translators, drivers, film crew, cheerleaders and project managers operating alongside us in perfect harmony. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Time past very quickly, papa told us and he felt nothing but great confidence on his branch. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
The first time this has ever happened. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Papa is not a novice in climbing trees. Ten years ago he climbed a peach tree with dramatic consequences. The two efforts after that weren’t so successful either. Yet, he was gung-ho about the idea of climbing one of his favourite pines. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
His next challenge is to get the certificate to run a horse farm. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Papa came out perfectly on film. Thank you Photopia for the perfect developing job! © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Dream team! © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen