Project 1: Picture Story – Curating Self

This assignment allowed me to share who I am and my experiences with the class by using photos. There are some similarities and difference of me being the military and the civilian life.

Task 1: ME


1. This is a picture of my formation tab. It represents where we are working in. Maritime Security Task Force (MSTF) is the formation that I was posted to, being the frontline of Singapore’s defence. We are tasked to patrol around the Singapore waters, always being vigilant in our watch to ensure no suspicious vessels or activities near our territorial waters. It is a very tiring job and a difficult lifestyle but we are trained to persevere through tough times back in Officer Cadet School (OCS) and we take pride in whatever we do.


2. This picture shows the cuts on my safety boots. It occured when our boots scraped across the heightened latch of the watertight doors. It also represents the amount of hardships that we have gone through, from different challenges like physical activities to the test of mental strength. It also reminds me of the family bond we share in our ships. We help one another out, like transferring of stores and food from the wharf to our ship, regardless of rank.


3. This is a photo of me standing in “At Ease” position. It shows the discipline and perseverance that we military personnel must have. The expression shows the fighting spirit and resilience that we put into whatever we do. In the military, everything is stringent and rigid, things must be standardised, so that everyone is on the same page and tasks can be completed efficiently.

Being an officer in the Navy taught me many things. As the supervisors are more experienced, they are able to offer insights and give advice in our area of work. The work experience we get in the Navy is different from the experience we get from the society. In the Navy, we help one another to complete tasks fast and efficiently, but in the society, it’s every man for his own.


IMG_3732_01IMG_3889_01 IMG_3896_01

4. My object is a Navigation Chart. It is the most common tool for Navigators. Even though there are electronic charts for seafarers, it is the most traditional method for us to know where our position is. During our training, we had to memorise every navigation marks and landmarks, such as lighthouse, beacons, buoys and the flow of traffic, from the chart. Back in OCS, we are called the “Lighthouse” as our room lights are never turned off. We had to burn midnight oil to study for test for different subjects in 14 weeks, each week having one or more tests.


5. This picture shows a Dutch tilt of me lying on the navigation chart with other chart instruments. The angle shows instability and gives the feeling of uneasiness. Doing chart work is a very tiring job, we have to ensure that the ship’s draught is able to navigate through the shallow seabed within a channel at a certain time of the day where the height of tide may vary, which may cause the ship to ground (ship bottom touching the seabed, rendering it unable to move). The photo is focused on the hand, and the composition will lead the viewer to look at the head that is resting (showing tiredness) then to the left arm which points to the chart, compass and parallel ruler, which are the instruments for chart work.


6. This photo is a close up shot of me doing chart work using the different instruments. The shot is focused on the word “Jurong Island”, which is an important part of Singapore where our oil refineries are. It then leads to the compass through the grid lines on the chart. The direction of where the compass is pointing leads to the parallel ruler, where we measure the bearing of navigation marks or bearings of our course that we will be navigating through.

Not every Singaporean’s son that is serving National Service get to learn this set of skills, furthermore it is a very different path to take on for most of us. The shows a part of me; I am a very technical person, I like to learn different things, becoming a Jack of all trades. I feel that having a wider set of skills allow me to be useful in different situations or environment that I would be in.

Task 3: My World


7. This is a long shot of my void deck. It is where I spent time with my brother the most, we will always leave house at 8 or 9PM and go for either dinner or supper until 1AM. This void deck is the common area for us to talk about life and our problems. As I am mostly away from home and only return home on Saturday nights, I spend very little time with my family due to the demanding and vigorous trainings in OCS. I find peace and tranquility here and it has a good ambience for us to share our problems.


8. This shot draws the viewer to the black car because of the leading lights and the brightness of the car’s headlights. It slowly draws the attention to the stall name with the pedestrians as a medium. The stall is located at Bukit Timah, and it is our (my brother and I) most visited place as it has long opening hours.


9. This photo leads the viewer to look at the number of commendations and awards that the stall earns. This is my favourite Hokkien Mee stall which is located at Bukit Batok. I visit this stall very often, such that having Singapore delicacy is a part of my daily lifestyle.

IMG_3921_01 IMG_3922_01

10. This photo consists of many leading lines that draws the viewer to look at the stall name. This place is introduced to me by my brother, praising its famous dish – Prata. It has the crispiest prata that I can ever find in Singapore. They also sell drinks that are very thick in flavour. We will always drive to Chinese Garden, just to have a few pieces of prata. I will always introduce my friends to this stall for dinner or supper and they agreed with me that this stall has the crispiest prata.

Artist Reference

John Coplans – I referenced his style of taking close-up shots of himself instead of his face, to tell stories about him. It shows details and ambiguity at the same time, knowing the minute details of the story but unable to get the big picture out of it.

Henri Cartier-Bresson – I referenced his photo composition, utilising the Golden Ratio to draw the audience’s attention across his photos.

Final Presentation Layout



Leave a Reply