Thursday, April 06, 2006

a very strange photo shoot

I was walking off Smoo campus yesterday when my pants started vibrating.

Cell phone.

It was my boss. She needed me to do her a favor on Thursday. "Long story short," she said, "could you show up at 5:00PM in a suit? You're going to be an actor tomorrow." Bemused but curious, I said OK.

I had a stomachache this morning, so I went home not long after my 10:30AM class and came back in the afternoon at the appointed time, dressed in my monkey suit. The boss's office was open and filled with people, including the boss herself, my colleague A, and a certain Mr. S, who is running for election in the Map'o district of Seoul. There were photogs and lighting guys there; the idea was that we foreigners were to listen attentively while Mr. S gave some meaningless spiel in English, and the shutterbugs would snap pictures of us. The photos were purely for PR purposes: Candidate S Shows Off His Skills at Handling Foreigners.

My colleague A was having none of it, and while he kept a smile on his face, he decided to ask Mr. S uncomfortable questions about scandals (golfing, groping) involving GNP party members with whom Mr. S associated. It was all I could do to keep from laughing. For my part, I simply asked meaningless questions to keep Mr. S talking, because his discomfort was plainly visible.

We did a few minutes sitting around a conference table. For once, I was enjoying the fact that I was sweating: I knew it meant Photoshop work for the crew later on. We did a few standing shots as well: Mr. S standing over us and talking; all three of us standing up and pretending to engage in witty repartee; the three of us shaking hands. The photogs seemed not to mind that I was constantly facing away from their cameras. After all, I've got a good face for radio, as they say. They may have caught me in a couple shots, but I think most of the shots will show A.

We did some photos in the hallway as well, pretending to relax at a podium that was dragged out for us to stand around (I have no idea why three grown men would be standing around a podium placed at an awkward angle in a hallway). Smiles had, by that time, become frozen to our faces-- or at least to mine.

The whole thing was over in about twenty minutes, but that was a painful stretch of time. I wonder whether the photog crew will send us copies of some of the pics from the shoot. If I get a copy, I'll be sure to blog it: a memento of my twenty minutes with some politician about whom I care nothing. Maybe the Yangban knows this guy.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Or they might just leave the sweat in to show how brave Mr. S is to fraternize with large, sweaty foreigners.

But I would have walked out as soon as I found out it was a political photo-op. Then again, I tend to be violently apolitical when it comes to Korean politics.