Fire and Ice (Nicholas and Clarita)

Fire and Ice
by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
to say that for destruction ice
is also great
and would suffice.

We first interpreted the poem as a direct description of the end of the world, how it could not just go down in conflict and flames, but also “end” in a sense that no one actually interacts with each other anymore. 

Beyond surface level, we decided that the poem could also be describing the end of a relationship, and this is what we decided to show in our photographs.


The series start with a normal relationship: bathed in warm cordiality.


In anger, passion and confrontation,


a relationship could end in an inferno.


In apathy, indifference and detachment,


an end to the relationship could be brought about as well.

In this series of photos, we played around with the hues and tones of each photograph to bring about the warm, hot and cold qualities of human interaction. It started off with warm tones to create an ambience of comfort, to subsequently redder and bluer tones to illustrate frustration and coldness respectively and finally black and white to show a situation devoid of emotions and complete ignorance of each other’s presence.

We also overlaid rushing water to emphasise the tumultuous relationship, and two stones separated from each other to emphasise distance between the individuals.

One other thing is our choice of location. While it is not obvious at first, as the photographs progress to show the falling apart of the two characters, the tree trunk in the middle, as well as the outline of the building in the background serve to highlight the separation between the individuals.

Props as Signifier


2016-08-22 045911 1rsz_2016-08-22_043422_12016-08-22 043517 1

In these photographs I pictured my watch as a functional object. I captured the watch the way it is, impartially and just showing how it is used in daily life to keep track of time.


2016-08-22 050417 1
Wealth, luxury item (feat. Shuyi)
2016-08-22 050829 1
Death, old age
2016-08-22 045727 1
Lost/neglected time (feat. Hweeann)

In the first photograph, I used the watch to depict status and wealth of the owner.

In the second photograph, the watch is representative of time itself. Along with the rust, I tried to bring across the idea of decay, aging and death.

The last photograph shows how in our daily lives we tend to forget about time and the fact that time does not rewind. We take time as an unlimited resource and tend to neglect the truth that our time in this world is in fact very limited. 

I think that despite being simple, this exercise was able to open my mind about a very basic tool of communication used in film, theatre, paintings, and art-making in general. Props are widely used in the art world as a functional visual instrument to make a scene more believable, most of the time, but less people realise that they are also able to communicate subtext about the messages or themes of the film/artist.

Photo from BBC website on “Elements of Drama”

Take a ripped photograph for example. This is a very common metaphor for the ending or the falling apart of a relationship.

The spinning top from “Inception”, 2010

The spinning top from “Inception” is representative of reality in the movie. The high amount of attention brought to it and the unending continuous movement of the top (no spoilers) not only creates suspense but also links the plot together.

Props play a highly important part in film and theatre, but in reality it is easy to dismiss the presence of props and sets as purely functional. They are the underdogs of the film/theatre industry. I will probably pay more attention to the use of props or objects in my next projects!

Here is a good read on why props matter in filmmaking!

6 Ways To Turn Movie Props Into Iconic Symbols