4D | Project 1 : Picture Story – Curating Self

Annyeong! This post will be on our very first project for Foundation 4D | Project 1 : Picture Story – Curating Self. 

In this project, we are given 3 different pictorial task to complete:

Task 1 : Me Where we have to creatively introduce ourselves using 3 photographs.
Task 2 : Object and Representation of Self Where we present an object that has significance or symbolic value that is parallel to an aspect of your life.
Task 3 : My World Where we share a series of photos of a location that evokes feelings from within.

Curated by Jiayi
Task 1: Me

As seen in the photos, for task 1, I included 2 self-portraits and my right hand.

For my first self-portrait, I covered my face with stalks of dried baby breathes, that were given to me by my friends on my graduation. Planting myself within the curtains with a dash of the evening ray casting in, I had my tripod placed diagonally across me and that’s how the photo was being shot. The concept of this photo, was really simple. I wanted to show me, but me being me, I am really shy and awkward in front of cameras. The idea of having my face filling a picture, pretty much throws me off. Hence, I had the dried baby breaths cover my face, indicating that my friends provide me with comfort where with them around,  I feel me. 

For my second self-portrait, the concept behind it is pretty much similar to the first self-portrait. I still wanted to show me. But for this photo, I hid the right side of my face behind the curtains. The idea to it was that I wanted to portray a passive-aggressive side to me where I want you to know me, yet I don’t want you to know all about me.  Besides, the mood of the photo that was created with the curtains and that dash of evening ray further enhances the mysterious mood brought to the viewer.

Also, both photos were shot at eye-level. Not only does it eliminate any hints of hierarchy, it bridges a connection between the viewer and the subject of the photo (that’s me).

As for the third photo of task 1, it is basically my right hand in a pool of water. The concept behind this photo was to express my dominant love language, that is, physical touch. In other words, I express my love or concern through physical actions, such as an embrace or a pat on the shoulder. I strongly believe that even a simple gesture, is enough to send across our concern and provide a certain degree of comfort to the receiving party.

As to why my hand is in a pool of water, it is in fact a representation of how I would go through extreme lengths, even if it meant having me to plunge through an endless sea of water to be there for my loved ones.


To me, coffee is far more than a beverage. It is an invitation to life, disguised as a cup of iced cold liquid. Just listening to the sound of the ice cubes clinking in the glass, keeps me sane and going.

I started drinking coffee back when I was a year 1 during my poly days. As the workload piled on, I found myself struggling to keep up with the deadlines pressing on me. I was rather desperate and decided to give coffee a try. Indeed, caffeine worked like magic on me and I found myself wide awake in the wee hours of the morning. Tries after tries, I was convinced that I had to have any caffeine related beverage in my life ever since.

Till date, it has became a routine that I have to have a cup of iced coffee in the morning, before attending to any classes or matters. It then dawned on me as to how coffee isn’t just a beverage, but a physical support that kept me alive through the many obstacles. With enough coffee, I feel as though all things are possible. It gave me that hope that lead to many possible openings.

For the first photo, I wanted to give a full view of the object I chose, that is, iced coffee. Instead of the using the usual plastic cup, I decided to use a conical-shaped glass. This is in fact parallel to my concept, that is to give a majestic feel. I took this photo in the evening where the sun is setting, hence the dash of evening ray that shone through the opening actually provided a different mood to the photo. Besides, due to refraction of light where the evening ray hits the iced coffee, specks of light were created, intensifying the majestic aura to the iced coffee.

Also, I added a finishing touch with the same stalk of dried baby breaths to the photo. Apart from aesthetic purposes, it signifies how much I treasure coffee in my life.

For the second photo, there is a huge contrast to the first photo where I chose to use the usual plastic cup. This is because I wanted to portray how I have my iced coffee on a daily basis. In fact, I always grab a cup of iced coffee from my hall’s canteen before I leave for class, and this is the very packaging of it apart from the dried baby breaths that I added in. Likewise, I took the photo with the dash of evening ray shining through yet not as much as the first photo. Instead of shooting it in bright white light, I felt that by using the natural evening light that shines, actually creates a warm mood to the photo and naturally helps to bring the focus of the photo to the cup of iced coffee.

For this final photo, it is basically me chilling on my bed whilst having my cup of iced coffee. As usual, my head is turned against the camera as mentioned in task 1 where I am pretty awkward and shy in front of the camera (yeah I tried to link up the tasks through such details). The concept behind this photo was to express that iced coffee means the world to me where on my bed, my safe haven (will be mentioned in task 3), I have my coffee with me to pull through the sleepless night.


Indeed, the place that fascinates and holds great significance to me, is and will always be my bed. My bed, has always been my safe haven. A simple furniture designed with a purpose of providing functionality has grown to provide me with the comfort that everything will be fine. I am not sure about most of you but I always had this mentality that, everything will be fine, after a good ol’ long sleep. It is a calm sanctuary that allows me to escape the tensions and stresses of everyday life. 

My bed, is essentially a place where most of my daily activities are conducted. In this series of photos, the setting is in fact my bed.

I work,

I eat,

and I chill, 

on my bed.

Some might say that’s really dirty and unhygienic but hey, I do wash and change my sheets on a regular basis. But the point I’m trying to bring across is that, my bed is a place that I feel like I can truly be myself. When I am working on my bed, such as doing my research, I feel highly motivated because I am at the comfort of my bed. When I am having my meals on my bed, I feel really hearty because I am the comfort of my bed. When I’m chilling on my bed, such as listening to music and just day-dreaming, I feel at ease and relax because I am at the comfort of my bed. My bed, brings immense comfort to me that unknowingly, it has became a prominent part of my world.

Besides, for this series of photo, instead of playing with the evening light, I played with shadows. I wanted to change up the mood and instead of using bright white light to create the focus, I felt that using shadows to create the focus would work better as I view my bed as my calm sanctuary where I feel at ease, hence the mood has to be really warm and dark. Also, together with the crease of the bed-sheet, it provides a soft touch to the photo without being intentional.


For this project, I did not have a specific artist that I referenced from. Instead, I was inspired by random photographers that I came across while scrolling through the web for inspiration. Most of which, are photographers that shot with the golden hour, which explains the concept of my photo series.

Walking outside into the light of the golden hour can be a salve in itself. That fleeting period of time – shortly before the sun sets, or after it rises, when shadows grow longer and everything appears to glow – lends us an opportunity to reconsider the world around us, recast in warm colour.

Photograph by Jerome Sessini | Magnum for The New Yorker
Photograph by Jerome Sessini | Magnum for The New Yorker
Photograph by Christopher Anderson | Magnum for The New Yorker
Photograph by Christopher Anderson | Magnum for The New Yorker

Inserted in the above, is the link to one of the few websites that I came across. As seen in the above, the mood of the photo gravitates towards a warm temperature where the focus is on the dash of evening ray casted on the  subject. Besides, with low saturation, the focus would be further intensified.



Photographer Guillaume amat

Apart from the references in the above, I also made reference to a photographer by the name of Guillaume Amat. Based in Paris, Guillaume Amat is a french photographer that focuses on producing photographic narratives. In one of his personal projects – Open field, he placed mirror stands in various french landscapes , reflecting the opposing environment back within the image to create a double reading.

Here’s some of the photos from the series:

Le Calvaire des Dunes | Photograph by Guillaume Amat
Open Field | Photograph by Guillaume Amat

In his interview, he said,

“In the construction of my pictures, I’m interested in creating a new perspective within the context of the image, by blurring the boundaries between the real and fiction, reality and invented. There is a question of the superposing of shots and the fragmentation of spaces to create new perceptions, by playing with the perspectives and the picture frame of the host site.”

Open Field | Photograph by Guillaume Amat
Open Field | Photograph by Guillaume Amat

I really liked his style where it doesn’t come off as being intentional where he tries to create aesthetically pleasing photos, but rather, photos that tell a story and get the viewers thinking. Such styles are what I’m interested in and I did try to recreate this style for my task 1, where I dipped my hand in the a pool of water, creating that reflection without having to use a mirror.

Open Field | Photograph by Guillaume Amat
Open Field | Photograph by Guillaume Amat


Guillaume Amat

Shots that didn’t make the cut: 

The background of the self portrait that I took for Task 1.

A self-portrait of myself to which I really like in specific, the shadow that was formed in the background. But sadly, it didn’t fit the concept that I was going for.

This was yet another attempt of me trying to shoot for one of the 3 photos for Task 1. I really love the reflection, where it provides depth to the photo. While I was editing this photo, I realise that if I were to tilt the photo anti-clockwise, it would actually form a heart shape, that looks something like this:

It really appealed to me and I felt a tinge of regret for not being able to choose this as one of my final pieces as it is parallel to my concept.

Similar to the picture I chose for Task 2, I really like this particular photo. The photo itself is simple with no extra hints of details, placing a sole focus on the iced coffee.

In contrast, this photo is pretty much cluttered where the focus of the photo is being taken away by the extra details such as the petals and all. But I still really like this photo apart from the fact that it is aesthetically pleasing, it doesn’t feel intentional.

This picture is actually made up of two identical photos that were vertically parallel from one another. I really like this shot, as it is clean-cut with the cup of iced coffee as the focus whilst the dash of evening ray shines across the fingers to the cup.  By placing the two identical photos in one photo, it actually gives off a trippy feel that may get the viewer questioning the choice of edit.


That concludes my photo series, and I really enjoyed the entire process of having to conceptualise to taking the test shots and taking the final shots. It was a long process but it definitely saw me pushing my creativity limits and in turn, I found myself really into shooting with the natural light.

Kamsahamida! (Thank you in korean)


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