Abandoned Co-operative with William R. Pugsley

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As I enter the fourth day of our quarantine, I search my extensive photo collection for any exploration, no matter how big or small I could share with you. I offer pictures from an investigation of an old distillery/ice cream factory in Chungcheongnam-do. In late July, we stopped through for a quick meet-up with Bill (creator of the magnificent Photon Wave Function zine) while on our way to Gwangju for the weekend. He’s a prolific Nonsan-based photographer, and I’m amazed by his zine output, releasing seven issues this year. I recommend checking out his zine; he captures the country’s simple beauty while also showing the effects of the younger generations moving away from rural areas for urban settings. Bill shoots many “rurex” (rural exploration) scenes, but he’s not limited to just that; Previous issues of Photon Wave Function have focused on jobs, trains, people, and animals. Drop him a line at billpugsley@yahoo.com for back copies.

We met up with William at the Nonsan Cultural Center, where he had a photo show displaying his work. It was good to see him; the last time we saw each other was June 2019, exploring an abandoned Christian university. Seeing framed prints of a photographer’s photos is the ideal way to experience the artist’s creation. Many nuances missed in a photo zine are clearer to detect when the print is directly in front of you.

Well, on with the adventure. William told us about an abandoned factory he had explored before. This place was a co-operative made ice cream that doubled as a makgeolli (Korean rice wine) distillery in a previous life. Perhaps it produced soju and other treats as well? We could only guess based on the evidence left behind.

Two things caught my attention while exploring this old co-operative factory:

  1. The Brutalist architecture. I love me some brutal looking buildings.

2. Old ice cream wrappers! Who wants to try some Hot Gold? Perhaps you would prefer a simple “Ice Bar?”

With plans to meet up with Isaiah the next day, we took William back to his car at the cultural center. It was good to explore Chungcheongnam-do further. With winter break coming for me, perhaps we will try to see more of Korea’s eastern side.

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