Project 2: Impossibilities of Being

About the Project
Concept: Small me exploring the world of plants.

The entire project represents the idea of exploring diversity in nature (non-flowering parts of plants). The first part being all greenery, second part, coloured (other than green) or multi-coloured leaves, and the third, dying leaves (brown) + bark + terrain, similarly coloured and textured aspects of nature. It finally ends as I reach the flowers (possibly faint from some scent) and before I could explore that aspect.

I composed the images by going outside on the streets and just have fun taking all the different photos of different plants. I tried to take them at angles that was as if I was small and curious. After which I picked a wide variety of photos/plants to show diversity and picked out possible photos I could fit myself in, then took photos of myself in those angles and photoshopped myself in. I also had to change the lighting/colours of the different photos so that they would match.


Artist Reference
The Listening Room – Rene Magritte

I’ve taken inspiration for this project from surrealist artists and their paintings, one such example being The Listening Room by Rene Magritte. The sheer size difference between the apple and room for example, and the strangeness and impossibilities of surreal paintings led me to my idea.

I’ve always been intrigued by the effect of the shallow depth of field, hence I’ve also tried to utilize the technique in my work.

Aphid's delight.
Using this technique, it is possible to show the minute details. The blurry background also gives a sort of mysterious atmosphere that adds to the surrealistic feel.


I feel that I could have done better on this project, maybe by exploring further rather than just colours, or perhaps by photoshopping more of myself into the photos to make it more coherent and united as a whole. On the positive side, I feel that I’ve discovered more about the techniques for the depth of field effect, and also improved my photoshop skills. Overall, I’ve enjoyed taking photos of nature and it was also fun looking at the outcome after putting myself in the photo.

Assignment 1B: Fire and Ice

There are many insights into this poem online, but none which I find particularly resounded with me. I thought about it for a fairly long time before I finally came up with an interpretation that I was satisfied with.

As I interpret Frost’s Fire and Ice, with fire as passion and ice as rational, I imagined someone with two lives – where one life was where he followed his passion, while the other was a life where he chose a more rational path that would allow for a comfortable life. Although the paths are different, they are also strikingly similar. Yet, fire is still preferable to ice. Ultimately though, we all die anyway, which is why no matter whether fire or ice is chosen, the outcome is the same.

With time constraints and some desperate attempts at searching for places and again at searching for internet pictures, I did not manage to acquire any suitable pictures and decided to change to using more abstract images instead, which I found could express what I feel about the poem best.






As shown in my series of photos, everyone has the same beginning or ending, only the paths we take are different. A path we are passionate about is preferable (I hold with Frost that fire is more desirable, although there are people who would think that ice is better! (you know, as stated in the poem)) to a life that we would think of as more stable and comfortable (but probably boring). Of course, everyone also has different opinions on what their passions are (those written in the series are just mine although I tried to make it a little more general). I’ve also tried to give a blurry effect on the paths as the futures are just simply unclear, there is no way of really knowing what will be next.


Fire and Ice – by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Assignment 1A

Task 1: Me



Growing up, I’ve been a sort of quiet person when it comes to meeting new people. I’ve always found communicating difficult especially when it’s hard to think twice before talking when giving an immediate response. There have been many arguments about how technology is increasing distances between one another instead of bridging us, but I stand on the side where technology does bring us closer together. I find it much easier and comfortable to express myself through the virtual world where I can think before I speak.

Task 2: Object



Back when I used to crochet, I received a crochet hook from my friend. A thoughtful gift, it’s made from bamboo because the oil from our hands apparently makes it better and smoother after long usage. However, my friend doesn’t crochet and doesn’t understand the idea of hook and wool sizes. Although I am touched and I don’t want to let the gift go to waste, sometimes my trusty aluminium hook is still a better choice.

Task 3: My World





I’ve been interested in all things math since young. Geometry, fractals, graph theory, you name it. Geometric shapes, math all around us in our surroundings in particular, really fascinates me, which is why I picked this playground with ropes that intertwine and interact to form shapes (although that’s not their main purpose) as my world. I took photos of it from different angles and positions, and in the day and night, and picked out the most interesting images that did not have the same angle/position.


In terms of self-discovery, I still find it difficult to express who I am, and I have realised that I do not have any strong interests in anything (other than gaming …and art? …and math?). I’ve also found that I don’t have many objects I consider precious, many are disposable and easily reacquired, while I hold memories, friends and ideas closer to me. It’s also that I find shooting my surroundings and other things much more fascinating and fun rather than racking my head trying to shoot myself or parts of myself (and cringing because I am rather unnatural in photographs).
In terms of technical skill, I feel like I’m improved somewhat in terms of timer based photography (is there such a thing???) and maybe in terms of attempting to take photos of myself (although I still dislike it). Not used to editing photos (I usually keep photos as they were originally taken), it was my first time editing a series of photos to similar colouring so that they look like a series. Personally, it was actually rather fun to change the entire mood/colour of the photographs with some sliders, and I would perhaps like to try editing photographs to the same colouring again.
Overall, although I didn’t like how we had to take photographs of ourselves, I still enjoyed the feeling of taking photographs and editing the series of photos in a different manner from what I’m used to.

Post final presentation
arrangement1_re arrangement2_re

Task 1 should be looked upon as a whole series, while Task 2 is a story. Task 3 is arranged this way as the higher points to the lower points (the exception is the first shot which is an establishing shot) Although the light switches are out of place here, I feel that it actually helped me in deciding how to place my photos (this is no excuse though, I will try to pick another spot next time)

Nan Goldin

Nancy Goldin (better known as Nan Goldin) was born in 1953 and is a photographer. She left home around the age of 13-14 and was introduced to the camera when she was 15. She held her first solo show just 5 years later in 1973, which explored her photographic journeys among the gay and transsexual communities.

Nan often displays her photographs in a slideshow, and explored the ideas of love, gender, domesticity and sexuality in her earlier photographs. One of her well-known works is “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency” (1985) with featuring violent couples, drug abuse, and autobiographical moments.


“Nan One Month After Being Battered, 1984”

Background of photo

Nan and Brian were originally deeply involved with each other but things started to break down and one night, Nan was battered. When Brian battered Nan, it was said that the main target was her eyes, while the lips were unharmed. Her red lips express resistance to the battering, and also suggests a refusal to be silenced. As with the other parts of her make-up (her curls and embellishments and even the home decoration), it also shows feminine self-presentation. In contrast to the physical damage she defiantly offers to the camera, she appears well groomed, which is implied that the artist won’t hide away, and will face the world, showing us the brutal reality of domestic abuse.

In the photograph, Goldin’s stare clearly shows her as a battered woman, but she does not appear defeated, confused, or even passive, which challenges us to rethink what a battered woman is. It shows us the force of her personality in this self-portrait as a battered woman and that force challenges the imaginary of battered-woman as pitiable defenseless victim. It is true that she was defenceless at the moment of the battering, but she is not entirely powerless as she shows the public what Brian had done, and spreads awareness about the potential of violence in every relationship.

How does it identify as self-portrait

According to Nan, the nature of her art has always been personal, and described her photos as “a visual diary”. By taking this photo, she wanted to always remember the damage and injuries that Brian did to her and not be persuaded to return to him. Nan also said, “There is no separation between me and what I photograph.” For obvious reasons, this photograph was not photoshopped and was a very real representation of how she was like at that moment one month after she was battered, which she strongly identified as a self-portrait then.


Information taken from:

1. Nan Goldin, Wikipedia

2. Nan one month after being battered 1984 summary, Tate

3. In the frame: Nan Goldin, “One month after being battered”, Polly Allen, Bitch Media