Redhill (2015)

Redhill (2015)

“Redhill” is inspired by “The Legend of Bukit Merah”.

The Legend of Bukit Merah
A long time ago, the seas of Singapura was inhabited by many dangerous swordfish that attacked the villagers living by the sea. The king tried several methods to solve this problem, but to no avail.

A clever little boy saw what was happening and suggested the king to make a trap for the swordfish along the beach with soft banana tree trunks. So, the king sent his soldiers to cut down all the banana trees nearby and built a barrier along the beach. When it was high tide again, the swordfish swam up to the beach. However, instead of attacking villagers, the swordfish found their sharp noses stuck onto the banana tree trunks.

The little boy’s plan had succeeded and the grateful villagers thanked the boy for saving their lives. The jealous King grew worried that the boy might grow up and take away his throne. So he plotted to kill the boy.

One night, he sent his soldiers to murder the boy who lived on top of a hill. The boy was killed and his blood flowed down the hill making it red. The blood eventually caused the soil to turn red and the hill became today’s Bukit Merah or Red Hill.

Reinterpreting the story, we seek to explore the idea of betrayal. The captain represents the King and the protagonist represents the clever boy. The masked men in the HQ represents the Silver Fishes. We used the ring as a bridge to relate the captain’s relation to the silver fishes (They are in cahoots trying to kill off the clever boy (Protagonist)).

In the end, the hero was betrayed and shot dead while the Captain claims the credit.

Sourcing of Locations

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Grass patch along NIE. We have to ensure that there is a wide space for shooting and an area where buildings are not as visible in order to show the realness of a hill.

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Big, open space behind ADM

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Along ADM’s corridors. We have to ensure that the corridors are litter-free and have long pathways for the protagonist to run across. At the same time, we have to ensure that there are not much alleys and twists to prevent confusion.

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Short pose for our film (Excited for filiming!)

References

Biting Elbows – ‘Bad Motherfucker’ Official Music Video

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Snippet from “Robocorp”

 Script & Storyboard

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Using our knowledge from Writing Narratives class, we came up with a script for familiarisation. We decide what scenes need to be shot first and what props are needed for different scenes. This script enables us to visualise how the actual scenes going to be like and how we can portray our characters better.

Props

Some of the issues throughout the project is low budget props. We have to find suitable toy guns that look realistic in mini marts, Daiso, etc… In the end, we got a pretty realistic gun for the protagonist and sprayed painted it white to make it look more futuristic.

In addition, when it comes to creating a bomb, we bought a bottle and sprayed painted the cap silver to give it a more sophisticated and high-tech look. We also coil metal wires around the glow stick and stuck it onto the cap to make it look special.

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The end result was a futuristic gun.

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The bomb

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We got white masks to hide the identities of the ‘Silver fishes’ and also got the enemies to don on their berets and same top colour to act as soldiers.

On Set

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Our ‘Silver Fishes’ had to fall onto the ground umpteen times to capture the exact perfect shot. One where the Gopro didn’t cut off the head and where the fall is realistic and impactful. They fell so much that their hands turned red. A big shout out to our enemies for falling for this video!

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We tried to capture the best angle possible for every scene and every clip. Both on the protagonist as well as the captain on the hill. The clips are taken at different timings of the day and most of it are taken in the late afternoon where the lights are slowly dimming.

Colour Correction

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As mentioned above, the clips are taken at different timings of the day and most of it are taken in the late afternoon where the lights are slowly dimming. Some clips thus turn out darker than other clips. Hence, in order to compensate the lack of light, we have to colour correct the clips such that it looks like it is filmed at the same timing.

User Interface Design

User Interface Design

Bomb Tracking

Target Tracking

Sound Design

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 When it comes to sound design, there are a lot of layerings to do.

Firstly, we have to make sure that the audio voice over sounds like a walkie talkie where the protagonist is communicating with his captain.

Secondly, we have to separately record the audio of the protagonist breathing heavily after he got shot for a better sound and voice effect. (The original audio was a little soft).

Thirdly, to give the video an even realistic feel, we individually added in subtle sound effects such as foot stepping on the grass, windows breaking, fingers breaking and placing of the bomb.

Lastly, we have to ensure certain audio does not overpower or drown other audios such as the alarm ringing which became softer after some time. This is to heighten the sound of other audio and also to create the effect that the protagonist is reaching near the exit of the building.

Promotion

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We want to get our audiences to anticipate for our video project. Hence, we decided to do a countdown promotion on social media e.g Facebook & Instagram. We’re glad that our friends were supportive of us by commenting how much they look forward to it!

Bloopers

Just for Laughs

Reflections

James

“This project can be considered a nostalgic one as I am able to go back to making my own short film which I have not done since I graduated from Polytechnic. The idea of working on the legend of Bukit Merah started off from me as I felt the calling to make an alternative film with a futuristic take that is similar to the story I did for my Final Year Project (FYP) in Polytechnic. After several rounds of discussion and consideration related to budget and time, my team is able to come up with a concise plan to portray our story in the best way possible. With artistic and practical inputs from each and everyone, we are able to work together closely to get the final product done. As each of us are talented and well versed in our own ways, we contributed to the film in the best way possible.

Similarly to my FYP in Polytechnic, I am also the editor for this film and in charge of doing the colour correction and grading. This task was a challenging one was we took multiple takes and had to take into consideration continuity issues in editing as well as matching the different colour temperature and exposure of different shots together to give a coherent look across scenes. There is also a challenge in arranging the different layers of sound together to make them sync in harmony and help to tell the story better. There is a need for an awareness of how loud each audio clip should be in correlation with one another – dialogue, foleys & background music. This narrative is extremely dependent on sound design and more than 15 audio tracks were used for this project. There is also a need for an awareness to layer these clips together to form a harmonious piece.

Finally, all visuals and audio has to come together perfectly to give a sense of professionalism and colour grading has to be done to give the desired look and feel to the final product. To increase the production value, I gave special attention to create extras such as muzzle flashes coming from the firing of guns in the film as well as creating the opening and ending motion graphic title sequences.

On the final note, it is really enjoyable working with the team as each of them are really professional and there is a very strong team dynamic behind us to spur and get things going in the right direction. Much effort was put into the making of this film and we are glad and honoured to have our viewers enjoying our short film. Thank you all for the support and I look forward to creating more compelling visuals for everyone to enjoy!”

Long Fei

It’s our first biggest assignment and we put as much effort as possible to make it look polished. As our group’s story is set in a futuristic style, it is really difficult to find a place to fit the concept. And plus the tide schedule, we decided to film it in ADM. But we managed to maintain the look in the post production.

And it was also my first time using GoPro, which is very interesting. But it is hard to control the shutter speed and aperture, it turned out it has a lot of motion blur.

For the UI design, I quite enjoy doing it and always want to learn more about it in deep.

Stuart

This project has been an eye opener for me, revealing a world that had long been hidden from me behind the curtains. The process to making a film is a lot more complex than one would imagine. I learned that a single scene can take 10 to 15 shots, before an ideal scene can be done, lighting is a lot more important than I thought and editing is something that can take weeks on end even if you finish filming in a day. I still have much to learn in the use of sounds in a film figuring how a scene, but I now have a better understanding of the process that go into making a great film.

Dan

It’s been a long time since I last acted for a project and the last one was for my JC’s drama SYF. It was fun portraying a hero – a dying hero that struggles to stay alive. I understand the importance of having to replay certain emotions in order to capture the perfect shot. Through this project, I learnt a lot of things. I learned the importance of sound layering and making sure how certain audios can give a different mood. Background music is very important and that impacts the overall feel of the video. In addition, it is good to input different angle shots such as wide shot, close up shot in order to give a variety to the video. Colour correction is equally important as well because it affects the mood and overall style of the video. I had a fun and awesome time working together with my group mates and I seriously wouldn’t choose anybody else to work with. After the end of the presentation, I realised that every individual have their own style and that putting an individual into another group will change the mood and tone of the final video. When it comes to team work, synergy is crucial. I will always remember how our first meeting was held in can 2 and we simply bought coffee and dim sum and discussed, brainstormed about the project. The energy was great and ideas just kept coming in. It was a very memorable experience for me.

FIN

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Impossibilities of Being

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Concept

Have you ever had a heartbreak? How does it feel? Painful? Why is it that when we went through an emotional turmoil, it felt as if we can physically feel the pain coming from the heart.

In A Day After a Heartbreak, I want to convey the idea of despondency. I related the emotion really closely to a hangover. I get hangovers frequently after a night of drinking and the effects are devastating. I woke up feeling absolutely worthless, lethargic and useless. The feeling was intense and uncomfortable. I cannot breathe, I cannot eat. Neither can I drink water. The irony: I will do it all over again the next week. Why are we so attached to something that hurts us? Is it because we value that few hours of pure pleasure more than the immense amount of pain?

I decide to use the song ‘Til’ it Happens to You’ by Lady Gaga because I felt that this song is the most suitable music to accompany the images. I realised that sometimes it very hard to sympathise with people when they tell you about their troubles in their relationship. “Just move on.”, “Don’t think so much about it!”, “You’re just overthinking,” I sometimes feel that such words are sweeping remarks. They wouldn’t know the feeling of such pain until it happens to them. Probably then will they know the pain.

What do the images signify?

In the 3 series of transformation, the rose represents love in tangible form. In a relationship, am I consuming love; indulging in the passionate abyss of love or am I being consumed by love itself? It happens in us as well. Being in a poisonous relationship and knowing that your partner will only bring you down yet you still choose to stay. Why?

Moving on, the smoke represents love in intangible form. Smoke hurts and it kills you from within. Slowly. People are aware of its effects yet they still ‘consume’ it. Why? Is the minutes of pleasure and satisfaction enough to compensate for the long term damage? Is it worth it to indulge in spiritual, physically and psychologically satisfaction yet sacrificing the sanctity of the pure human body?

Lastly, love in tangible and intangible. Water is often seen as a cleansing ritual, to rid the body of dirt and impurity. Yet, in the video I explore and put the water in another light. I want to convey the idea that water is instead a burden, a liability. Something that left you in a mess. In the end, the only one who gets hurt is the one who turns on the tap. (Decides to commit to the relationship).

Research Links

I am a big fan of romance and heartbreaks. There are boundless of imagination to exploring the idea of heartbreaks.

These are some of the quotes I personally love because they are full of emotions and deep understandings behind those words.

In the 500 Days of Summer, Summer explained to Tom the reason why she didn’t choose him in the end.

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Summer: Well, you know, I guess it’s ’cause I was sitting in a deli and reading Dorian Gray and a guy comes up to me and asks me about it and… now he’s my husband.

Tom: Yeah. And… so?

Summer: So, what if I’d gone to the movies? What if I had gone somewhere else for lunch? What if I’d gotten there 10 minutes later? It was – it was meant to be. And… I just kept thinking… Tom was right.

Tom: No.

Summer: Yeah, I did.

[laughs]

Summer: I did. It just wasn’t me that you were right about.

In American Horror Story: Hotel Episode 3, Elizabeth portrayed by Lady Gaga explained to Donnovan the very thing that made one person is actually heartbreaks.

“You will learn, it isn’t our precious virus that makes you. It isn’t who you kill or who you screw. It’s the heartbreaks. Bigger, the better. I know better than any of us.”

In ‘Love & Other Adventures’ by Lang Leav, I was particularly intrigued by this poem titled ‘The Keeper’.quote-5

You were like a dream, I wish I hadn’t slept through

Within it I fell deeper, than your heart would care to let you

I thought you were a keeper, I wish I could have kept you

In the poisonous rose that appeared in the first part of the video, it was inspired by the song, “Poison” by Rita Ora specifically the lyrics:

I pick my poison and it’s you

Nothing can kill me like you do

You’re going straight to my head

And I’m heading straight for the edge

When it comes to love, there is no common sense. We choose to embrace it even if we know it’s detrimental to our health. I guess this is addiction. The addiction to love. The addiction to pain.

Reflections

This project is rather personal and intimate for me because I did this project alone to form the idea of love and heartbreaks from my own perspective. I like the idea of using symbolism to express my emotions and feelings. I enjoy using various objects to convey my idea. Furthermore, the close-up shots frequent in the video enable me to better understand myself and the project.

Anchor & Relay

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“I guess we are both tired.”

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“I don’t see it in your eyes anymore.”

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“I finally understood what they meant when they said ‘Love runs out’. Yes, people change; feelings change but that doesn’t mean the love once shared wasn’t true and real.

It just simply means that sometimes when people grow, they grow apart.”

Fire & Ice – Project 1B

Fire & Ice

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.

To be honest, the first time I read this poem I didn’t quite understand it. I tried to google for the meaning and metephor yet for a reason or two I couldn’t relate to the idea that the author was trying to convey. I researched that the poem is about world destruction and despair. I find that the overall tone and mood of this poem is quite dark and moody.

Tone (Treatment of Photos)

The images were taken after a heavy downpour. In order to further amplified the idea of the poem, the tone of the photos are treated slightly colder to match the idea of the poem. When viewed, it is supposed to evoke cold and isolated feeling from the audience.

Interpretation

I decided to break down the poem and interpreted it my own way instead. When I re-read the poem again and I am actually more comfortable relating it to human’s relationship and desires instead. I took the poem personally. In addition, the direction of my interpretation is slightly similar to the original meaning: Dark and moody. How I see this poem is about ultimate doom and destruction and tragic ending. It’s as if there is a fair share of indulgence set aside for despair.

I shall break down the poem and place them accordingly to the images as seen below.

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Some say the world will end in fire

Relating the image to this line, how I view this line is, you can have multiple partners in your life. You can choose to live your life flamboyantly with many different companions. You can choose to colour your blank canvas with the wide spectrum of colours that painted your life. You can spend it promiscuously and live onto the fact that ‘you only live once’.

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Some say in ice.

You can also choose to live your life faithfully with one partner. You will stay loyal and never stray. You can and will only pay tribute to your sole partner and no one else. You will spend the life of your life with your special someone and you focus all your attention solely on your partner. It can potentially become a form of obsession that your partner even becomes your religion.

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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

In anyways, whether you choose to live with multiple partners or with a faithful lover, both is able to satisfy your inner craving and spiritual desires. Ultimately, how you choose to live your life, is your decision. In the end everybody is going to end up dying and succumbed to death itself. There are numerous ways to die and perish yet we will all remain in the urns systematically placed in the columbarium.

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To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

They say life is a journey, not a destination. Life is all about what you make it. Life is about your achievements in life. Life is this, life is that. Yet, what exactly is the destination? Death. Even though we may perish in different ways, in glorified manner with our lover or sinfully with multiple partners, we are still heading towards the same direction: Death. It is only a one way ticket.

How you want to live your life, you live it, you choose it. 

 

Curating Myself – Project 1A

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Me

Paint

Research 

To be honest, I did not do any research for Paint. The idea just come to my mind. However, if I were to come up with similar projects that uses paint on their body, that would be in Cycle 12 of America’s Next Top Model where the contestants used paint over their faces for photo shoot.

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Experimentation

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I mixed red paint with a little pinch of black paint. I dapped the paint, spread it across the brush before painting it on my back. I used a self timer for this shot.

Commando

Research

I got my inspiration from Beyoncé’s ‘Mine’ music video. There was an interesting scene of a couple with t shirt written ‘Mine’ and ‘Yours’. I find the concept really interesting. Hence, I decided to adapt the idea.

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Experimentation

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It was a little hard trying to get this shot because my head is covered with the t shirt and I had to adjust the t shirt such that the wordings can be seen. At the same time, I have to press the remote control on my phone.

Piercings

Research

I was influenced by John Coplans and the style of this photography. Coplans’ work are mostly black and white series and he never photograph his face to assume anonymous identity or gender. Coplans took extreme close up shots of his own bare body to question the taboo of age in a provocative style.

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Experimentation

I bought red strings from a textile shop and I ensure that there’s sufficient thickness so that the strings are obvious in the photo.

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Final Chosen Images

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Paint

To me, art is a form of self-expression.
Red is my favourite colour; It represents passion & love thus showing my fervour for painting.
I feel that whenever I paint, I’m expressing emotions that I cannot present orally.
I also feel that whenever I paint, I’m showing the world the vulnerable side of myself.
Thus, the act of painting on myself.

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Commando

I was serving in 1st Commando Battalion during my national service.
Throughout the 2 years, I endured tough times with my comrades. We forged a strong bond as we climbed up steep hills, struggled through muddy swamps and fought through numerous missions.
Commando has become part of my identity so much so that people sometimes remember me as a Commando rather than my name.
The use of my hand holding on to the shirt symbolises that it’s an identity that I cannot and will not remove.
The colour of my beret is red. Hence, the use of a shirt with red ‘Commando’ imprint draping over my head to symbolise the tagline of ‘Once a Commando, Always a Commando’.

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Piercings

I have a penchant for piercings and I feel that it is a form of self-expression.
I feel that all of my piercings are inter-connected. Hence, the use of a red string to connect all of them together.
My piercings all meant something to me. Thus, the use of red string to symbolise that it’s something that I hold close to my heart

Presentation

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Tone

The tone of the 3 images are highly contrasted and structured to show the strength and toughness of each photo.

Composition of the 3 images is based on direction of the body.

In the Commando photo, I was facing to my left looking over to Piercing. In the Piercing photo I was looking over to my top right towards the Paint photo. Even though my body is facing away from the the other two photos, I was actually facing down over to the bottom left towards Commando. This thus creates a synergy within the 3 composed images thus producing the ‘certain reality’ that the project required.

Object

Research & Experimentation

I chose to use my earpiece as my object because I use my earpiece to listen to music every single day. I feel that I’m locked in another world whenever I plugged in my earpiece. I use it for casual listening and also when I work out.

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Interacting with the object and making use of the reflected background to add interest in the photo.

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I made use of the rounded lines of the platform and the pointed edges to draw the audience’s attention to me.

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I tried to place myself in the middle of the line between the sunlight and shade.

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Final Chosen Images

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My earpiece is a good investment because it provided good bass and sound quality. The strength and image of the fierce Rottweiler accentuates the power of the earpiece. I feel that this image is able to fully represent the mood and energy that the earpiece delivered.

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I chose this shot because I feel that this photo is the most suitable photo to convey the idea of me wearing my earpiece. Also, I explored the idea of not shooting with a background behind me but instead, took a reflected shot of ADM’s architecture and environment.

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I chose this image because of the lines seen on the pavements, stairs, railings and trees. In addition, I appreciate the contrast in the lighting because I deliberately took this shot while the Sun is still up. I placed myself in the middle of the gap to lead the audience’s attention towards me.

Presentation

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The composition of this task is based on the process. First I place the solo close-up shot of the earpiece on the top. Followed by me wearing it and ending it with me working out with my earpiece.

World

I shot my world at my late grandfather’s kampong house. It is one of the last few kampongs in Singapore. It is located at Buangkok. I shot this place because it gives me a sense of familiarity. I have been visiting this house for as long as I can remember. There are numerous memories surrounding this house. My very big family usually gather together during festivals such as Chinese New Year.

Research & Experimentation

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This place is usually quiet and isolated. Somehow or another I felt that the animals here are not as lonely because they form a community within themselves. My father told me that the streets here used to be filled with many people.

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Some of my relatives or visitors will sit outside the house at the front yard when there are not enough space inside the house. It is quite therapeutic because the time and pace past by really slowly here. A totally different vibe from city area.

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The side of the house.

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We still use the traditional mouse trap to catch rats.

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My father recounting the good old days to my maid.

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Final Chosen Images

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I chose this image because it gave me a sense of familiarity. I used to sit here with my silbings whenever we are bored from interacting with our seniors. We will sit around here and swing our day by.

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Our family is a great fan of the bamboo shoots and braised pork slowly cooked using the charcoal stove here. Somehow the food taste much more authentic and special.

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Stray dogs are free to roam around the house. They became part of our family over time and I feel like they are the ‘guardians’ of the kampong house.

Presentation

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Tone

The composition of these images are based on the journey through the house. I deliberately add a little fade to the images to give a sense of nostalgia.

First you enter the house on the top left corner and as you walk into the house, you can see the entry towards the bedroom as seen on the top right corner. Beside the bedroom, there are charcoal stoves used to cook food traditionally. After you journey though the house, you exit the house as seen on the bottom left corner where the stray dog is looking out. The rounded swinging chair in the middle is used to complete the four images. It is also a key image to maintain the synergy within the composition.

Reflections

There are boundless opportunities when it comes to using yourself, your body, the things you use and also the environment surrounding you to produce a narrative to captivate the audience. Photos can be an powerful tool to convey ideas and imagination that one simply cannot convey verbally.