Baking of bread, grinding of coffee beans, the hustle of the lunch crowd, housewives gossiping and friends catching up
‘Man getting lunch’
When I crave time to myself, I go to one particular breakfast joint at Cluny Court. Usually quiet, lunch is the time of the day where things speed up. I frequent this cafe when I need a place to think and generate ideas, usually in the afternoons when it is relatively empty.
However, the busy crowd is somewhat calming, knowing that they are busy with themselves, engross in their conversations or lunches. The hustle-bustle of city life affected even such small spaces where people come in for a just quick bite. For me, I spent hours in my table spot, usually marked by a drink or unfinished plate of food, doing work or just contemplating life. I feel incredibly comfortable in ‘my corner’.
Note: People are usually isolated despite having a large central table, contained within “their part” of the table or “their table”. The environment may encourage conversations between strangers but barely any are started.
For My World, I chose a place I frequent due to its minimal interior and white walls that I find calming. I was inspired by Wolfgang Tillman’s photography series of still-lifes that mainly consist of a white environment and compositions of objects.
Using the natural light from windows, the photographs seem taken from a real setting when in reality the objects are purposefully composed in the shot.
Composition of objects I had with me on hand.
The images I took in “my world” consists of a tabletop in front of a window. While the objects are not arranged into a composition, I tried capturing the scene in that moment in time from a slight angle below eye level. I eventually cropped out additional details, such as the chair on the left to give it a cleaner look.
Series of photographs capturing the dynamism of apparels
The primary function of any clothing is to cover and for warmth, however, I believe there is more to apparel than that.
A body is a canvas, where one paints on everyday by deciding what to wear, how to match an article with another, which colour to illustrate their mood. In that lies the similarity to art. “You are what you wear”, outfits create one’s identity and express his or her personality through style. This is especially true for those who choose fashion as a medium to express themselves.
While clothes give identity, they can be used to hide oneself. Using them as a shield, thoughts are masked with the versatile medium. There is a paradox in that. Hiding the face in the images purposefully, I feel that using clothes to hide the state of mind is convenient at times.
Thus, I feel that a sweater encompasses both the quality of revealing identity through style as well as the literal meaning of hiding one’s body.
With the gap between high fashion and street wear becoming smaller, the oversized silhouette is seen coming back to trend. Valuing its modern aesthetic and form, I have been amassing a collection of sweaters and jumpers for myself despite its incompatibility with the weather. Through this mustard jumper, the dynamism of fashion that attracts me is captured through the fluid and expressive movement. The photographs capture the contour of fabric that loosely follows the form of the body. This piece of clothing serves as a symbol of the excitement fashion brings to my life.
‘Movement’ captures how the sweater folds and fits on a moving body. Hiding the face, the apparel takes over to create a pleasing form. The warm tones add to the contours of the fabric. Shadow casted is minimal to bring the focus to the interaction of the body and clothing while providing a bit of contrast to the light. ‘Movement’ is intended to display the freedom of the apparel and the comfort I feel in my”skin”.
‘Fleeting’ is a photograph of the sweater mid-air, just before disappearing out of the shot, capturing its contortion and dynamism.
‘Swaying’ is composed of myself, the oversized sweater as well as laundry drying in the wind in the background. The various colours and form speaks of fashion as a whole, being vibrant and beautiful at the same time.
Clothes plays a big part in defining me,
as fashion is something I am perpetually interested in.
Having decided on the subject matter of apparel, I flipped through my collection of fashion magazines for inspiration and was particularly taken by the shoot “Undone” in The Gentlewoman Issue No. 13. Instead of the regular modelling of clothes on a human model, the assemblages were laid down on the ground. How the form of fabric changed when it was sprawled on the flat surface intrigued me as it looked almost dead without a wearer.
So I decided to explore how a piece of clothing would look without a wearer, and experiment with the shape and folds and how they interacted with light. How to capture the paradox of how apparel is non-living (without a wearer) but can give life (identity) to a body.
I was pleased with the series of photographs produced, especially the last image as it captures the apparel in its natural form. The deep red of the sweater was contrasted with the warm white background, bringing attention to the folds and creases created with the interaction with the flat surface.
I tried working with sweaters of thicker fabric, realising some of them can retain a shape on its own without a body.The jumper is able to “stand” on its own, creating the body (as if it is worn)
My experimentation and close-up of the apparels brought me to the works of Wolfgang Tillman‘s photography of clothes hung up or strewn across a surface. Though portraying a simple subject matter of clothes, the clothes contain human traces, the act of wearing and using.
After working with just the apparel itself, I started thinking about how I can interact with a piece of clothing, in the case of this project, a sweater. Should I wear it? Stretch it? Throw it? I then came across a fashion editorial of the brand ADER ERROR by Kersti K., with fascinating compositions of clothes levitating in the air, the moment just before it falls. I found this interesting as it encompassed my feelings towards fashion, that it is exciting and dynamic. It also approach the paradox of non-living and living in a fun and vibrant manner.
While I may have been keen to continue my experimentations of clothes on flat surfaces, I decided to focus on the dynamism of clothes in the air as well as interacting with it myself (by wearing and stretching).
Experiment – Capturing the trajectory of a thrown sweater
I decided the throw the sweater across the camera on self-timer, to capture how fabric interact with the air. It captures the form of the sweater before the it is pulled down. I finalised on one where captures the “life” of the sweater for the close-up of the object.
My final works differ much from my initial test-runs where I focused on the “dead” and “still” quality of fabric as I venture into exploring movement and dynamism, which better represents my feelings towards fashion.