Project 1: Picture Story – Curating Self


From these 3 pics, you see me walking up the stairs, a landscape shot of HDB flats, and a window frame with clothes hung over it. From this order, they kinda reflect the traits that I have in me. First off, I’d describe myself to be a very explorative person, explorative in learning about new things, new beliefs, new ideas and learning about people and places. Explorative could also come in learning about the mysterious, and the taboo.

I am quite a reflective person myself. I like to have a bird’s eye view of what’s going on in my life, my habits, my work, school, , everything! Especially when I consider myself to be always on the go, always on the rush, always looking forward to something, it helps to kinda take a step back and relax.

The window frame you see with clothes hung over it- they’re not mine lol. But it shows the private person that I am. I value privacy, and my personal space, because I think I’ve come across way too many incidents where people have crossed the line, which brings me to this story I’ll share you one.

One night I was laying down in my bed, and from across the window there are HDB flats too. While I was laying down, I looked out the window and saw a black figure standing by the window. This window was from across the block, but I could make out a human figure from it. When I got up to look out the window and watch this figure, “it” moved off.

Worst case scenario; it was a man creeping up on me through my open window.

That pic I took reminded me of how from then on, that’s how I’m gonna fill up the spaces on my open window. It also carries the meaning of “leave-me-alone” kind of privacy.


The object I chose is the headscarf. For those of you who don’t know, wearing the headscarf and dressing modestly isn’t a Malay thing, but it’s a Muslim thing. On top of wearing loose clothes, Muslims also wear the headscarf because it’s an Islamic obligation. So for me, the moment I walk out the gates I wear the headscarf, because I’ll be out in public. At the same time, the moment I walk in to my home, I rip them off. What’s special about this is because it’s a big part of my appearance – an extra layer of cloth over my head and wearing them out in public, and in the heat. It’s quite a hassle but it’s something that I have to live with, anyway.

The next picture reflect the struggle I have with pinning up my scarf, especially when it goes messy. Not always the neatest, but the annoying heat and hair coming out of it – that’s the look I give when I’m annoyed. Annoyed by the struggle that comes from sweating a lot and fixing you “hair”.

Next, this brings me to the vanity that comes with donning the headscarf. This vanity of wearing the headscarf from dressing like a model and wearing it for the latest godforsaken trends, esp on social media. It can be quite demoralizing when I have to wear it to look trendy. So I tend to feel self-conscious because of that. There are days where I’m suppose to wear this out of respect for a religion, not for some lameass beauty standard. Nevertheless, the vanity that come with wearing it, stays there.

Cindy Sherman’s artworks like “Untitled Film Stills”  was a good reference for me to show that “vanity” photo. Mirrors are a  good prop to show that so I used tha. With the slanted medium shot, it would give off that “how will people think if I look like this?” kind of setting.

“Untitled Film Stills” by Cindy Sherman


Over here, the places which means a lot to me are the local market place, and the walkway to school. Both places bring a lot of memories for me as a child because the market, which was just asit was back then, reminds me of my days tagging my mother along to the market. From watching her pick out gross wet fishes, picking out the most orangest orange and watching my mum bumping into her neighbours and doing the usual “hey how are you” ( in malay) at the local market, was something which happened a lot back then.

As for the walkway to school, the pathway brought back a lot of memories of me walking to and fro to school with my buddies. the fact that it was a loong walk kinda reminded me of how back then it neveer felt like time flew by fast. But now as it is the path that connect itself to a jogging path which I visit often, the place is simply like a trip down to memory lane.

The pic with the vending machine also adds on to the meaning of the walkway to school. It was a frequent stop where me and my then, friends would pick out snacks and buy drinks and “lepak” around that area til the sun went down. With the way it was captured, with the white space, and empty seat, I think it does reflect the emptiness of the place and nostalgic element of the picture. I guess it does reflect a bit of the current nostalgic feeling I’m feeling.



Author: Najiha

Always looking for something more.

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