For subject matter, I chose the things that represented my being a foreigner living in Singapore. The idea came to me when I looked through the things I own to look for inspiration. I was searching for objects with sentimental values in them. Old handwritten birthday messages from friends, a musical box from a special person, or something of the kind. Finally, I realized I had a lot of things in twos. Bibles in both English and Indonesian. Three-pin and two-pin plug adaptors. Indonesian and Singapore ID Cards. Rupiah and Singapore dollars. Polaroids of Indonesian friends, polaroids of Singaporean friends. SIM Cards. So many things that, for me, tells my story.
Second week’s photography consisted mostly of rather clinical, exhibition-like pictures of the objects. For me, at that point of time, I felt like it provided clarity and a clear comparison.
Samples of photos taken
However, they ended up looking too flat, too unemotional. Perhaps it was the grey background, the lack of perspective, the central framing. (So… basically everything.) It did not fit the history behind, and did not convey how important the topic is to me. If the aim is to portray ‘evocative objects’, this would be merely ‘objects’, because they are in no way evocative.
Holding the objects in my hands gave the photo a little more emotion. However, clarity was compromised as the hands seemed to suggest something else, like a begging or selling gesture. I had to find a way to be clear and yet still convey the emotions.
After feedback was given, I felt compelled to portray the differences between the two countries. These issues seem to be bigger and more important than me, like religion and politics and colonialism. It’s difficult, though, because I don’t experience them directly. All the things I experienced came in the form of these little things, like SIM cards and food and power point adaptors. It’s a tough call.
P.S. I tried to edit photos of bank notes and Photoshop refused to. Isn’t that cool and creepy at the same time? How do they even detect these things?
P.P.S I still ended up editing it, on this lousy photo editing program called Photoscape. Rest assured, Big Brother, I have no intention nor resources to print bank notes.