Task 1: Me
In this task, we were challenged to creatively introduce ourselves in only 3 images. I chose these images because they provide a glimpse into my private life – what I do with my own time and for personal leisure because I think that’s the most direct yet intimate way to get to know a person. I wanted the set to be vibrant, so the images were manipulated to have a higher chroma and taken in brightly lit rooms. The middle shot was taken from a low angle as I wanted the objects surrounding me to be just as prominent as myself. The first image is haphazard and jumbled, in contrast with the systematic layout of the last – everyone has different sides to them that you only realise after spending time together.
For this task, I took inspiration from the environmental portraits of Brian Harkin, where the setting is as important as the subject itself.
Task 2: Object and representation of self
In this task, we had to pick an object that referenced our lives.
My chosen object was an old family photo acquired when my late grandmother passed away, and this made me think of how time has changed the subjects of the photo from when it was taken until the present day. As such, the shots were composed to fit into a timeline (past, present, and future) and taken frontal and centered so as to mimic the original family photo and retain it’s mood. In the last shot, I wanted to convey how time reduces real, living people to still figures immortalised in a photograph, hence the frame.
The photos were laid out in a timeline running from right to left showing the past, present and future, and questions were posed to the viewers to consider along with the photos.
For this set, I took inspiration from the photographs of Andrew Lyman, whose photographs of inanimate objects seem to have human feelings.
Task 3: My World
In this task, we were challenged to capture the sense of a place significant to us.
The Haji Lane area is one of my favourite places in Singapore, renown as both an arts district and an area with a rich cultural heritage. The photos were taken at night because that’s when the district really comes to life – when humans shed their outer shells and when inanimate objects become more human. I wanted to include a mix of humans and objects that really embody the essence of the district – kitschy, welcoming and one-of-a-kind.
Photographs were arranged in a corner to emphasise the popular local saying lepak one corner, the spirit of which is prevalent through the area I was photographing. The arrangement was also intended to take the viewer on a visual journey from the entrance at the top, along the winding streets of Haji until they leave through the bottom.
For this task, I took inspiration from the work of Zack Arias, a street photographer who captures lively, candid photos of scenes on the streets that are full of character.
Task 1 taught me how to select and curate images to paint a portrait about someone. It also meant that photographers have the power to influence how the viewers see the subject by their selection and composition of images, and how the setting and lighting of the images significantly impacted the end product.
Task 2 forced me to open my eyes to everyday objects I would otherwise have simply glanced past and thought nothing more of. I started to think about what significance certain objects carry and what they meant to other people and why they meant what they did. I thought about possibilities and the biography (somewhat) of the object – what it’s seen, what it’s been through, how many pairs of hands it’s changed. This brought me to the realisation that everything and everyone has it’s own story, that it’s just a matter of how you choose to perceive it. I realised that good photographer is one who can successfully stimulate these thoughts in the viewer, or tell the story of the object itself.
Task 3 posed to me the challenges of photographing moving subjects and people other than myself. I found that it was difficult to choose the golden moment to press the button and always ended up with a blurry picture. It was also more unpredictable shooting outdoors, as compared to in an environment over which you have complete control such as in a studio or at home.
Bracaliga, Dan. “Tips from a Pro: Brian Harkin Environmental Portrait Photography.” Popular Photography. October 18, 2013. Accessed September 14, 2015. http://www.popphoto.com/how-to/2013/10/tips-pro-brian-harkin-environmental-portrait-photography.
Pasori, Cedar. “The 50 Greatest Street Photographers Right Now.” Complex. June 6, 2012. Accessed September 14, 2015. http://www.complex.com/style/2012/06/the-50-greatest-street-photographers-right-now/zack-arias.
Frank, Priscilla. “Eerily Adorable Photo Series Captures Inanimate Objects In Love.” The Huffington Post. June 26, 2014. Accessed September 14, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/26/andrew-lyman_n_5508727.html.