Project 1: Picture Story – Curating Self

Introducing myself has always been a challenge due to my complex and unstable upbringing. I would not be sure whether I should reveal my entire background story, keep it brief or whether I should even just remain at the surface level of my individuality. Through these images, I wanted to capture more of the essence of my character, rather than delving deep into the matter.

Task 1: Me

Vagabond. That word would perhaps be a good description of who I am. I have been moving around since I was four years old and have learned to call these different places my temporary homes. Hence, I wanted to portray a typical traveller, one who drags her luggage as she makes her way to the airport, using movement to tell a larger story.

Task 1_1_SizeChange
A luggage is one of the typical symbols of travelling. I wanted to first portray this to place the setting of a girl leaving. However, a luggage for me has symbolically been a home, being that it is the place where I can keep my belongings while we search for a new physical home to settle in. Inspired by Giacometti’s implied motion in his sculptures, the movement in this image is subtle through a fairly moderate shutter speed, which symbolises how this girl’s travel is not as sudden or unexpected. It shows how moving around has always been integral to my upbringing and is hence not so much of a life-changing event for me. The door of the house is not emphasised on so much, being that, as a vagabond, showing only one house would mean that I would be neglecting the other homes I have lived in.
The airport – another typical location for travellers. Nonetheless, I chose the airport as a setting, being that it offers a sense of familiarity to me. I have been to several airports and was able to spend enough time to observe other people as well (I realise I may sound like a creep saying this). I have seen tears of joy due to friends and families reuniting, yet also sadness due to farewells, which are feelings that I had to go through growing up. In this image, I am standing still while those around me are the ones in motion. This symbolises how people come and go in my life as I travel, meeting new people and bidding farewell to them.
In this last image, movement is not evident, yet I am still at an airport and am even closer to the airplane. The lack of motion here symbolises what I currently long for, which is to settle down. I want to find a place to call home, yet I am still not sure where that is. Hence, for now, I shall continue travelling, with hopes that perhaps the airplane could bring me to a place I can finally and sincerely call home.

Through these images, I hope to get the audience thinking that I am a traveller and would hence derive at the idea that I am a foreigner – labels that would define me on a surface level.

Yes, I do travel, but it mostly is not because of the wanderlust trend going on at the moment. I travelled because I had to follow my family around the world. I want to continue travelling because discovering the world and the differing cultures it offers has become an essential part of my life. You would be right to call me a foreigner, but the thing is that I feel like a foreigner wherever I go, even in my country of origin.

Task 2: Object and Representation of Self

Sings along to “Java Jive”… I love coffee! In this series, I wanted to mock the commercialisation of coffee. I have always loved coffee but was only aware of the kind of coffee that was commercialised. Having learned about third-wave coffee, which emphasised much on the harvesting and roasting of their beans, it is difficult to go back to just drinking instant coffee.

Task 2_3
Who would not love the smell of coffee? Being able to have coffee beans allows me to smell the lovely aroma of coffee even when I am not at a cafe! And I love it!
Task 2_1
Having worked at a third-wave cafe, I learned the importance of picking coffee beans, roasting it and storing it. It is not merely a symbol of coffee, but these beans also provide jobs for the farmers who specially handpick these beans when they are ripe, so as to ensure quality coffee. This allows mutual benefit for the barista, consumer and the farmer. Hence, there is more to coffee beans than people think.
IMG_2873 (1)
People associate coffee with its paper cups and latte art. Those help to sell coffee, and like the girl in the photograph, consumers just drink coffee without thinking about the origin of its beans. I enjoy drinking coffee and will forever love the taste of it, but I have also grown conscious of why they have what is called “specialty coffee”.

Task 3: My World 

Being able to actually visit a past home is a privilege for me. Having lived in Singapore before and moving out of the country just last year, I decided to go back to my “hometown” here – Bukit Gombak. Using the concept of day and nighttime to symbolise a journey, I decided to go back at night to highlight the fact that no matter how often I can go back to Bukit Gombak now, that part of my life has passed and it would not be the same as it was before. Moreover, the pictures continue to become darker as the series progresses, which accentuates this idea. Oddly enough, that was exactly how I felt when I went back. I was extremely excited to be back, yet the place did feel different to me in a way. The idea of journeys and attempting to go down memory lane are emphasised in my focus on pathways in the pictures.

Also, Edward Hopper has always been an inspiration for my photography. I admire the sense of calmness in his urban landscapes and the feeling of isolation in a supposed busy area. For these photographs, I tried to omit as much people as possible, being that I wanted to focus more on the location and not the people I would meet there.

Task 3_1

Task 3_2

Task 3_3_SizeChange

Final Documentation on Wall


IMG_0585 IMG_0589IMG_0586

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar