1. Study and apply how semiotics affects the interpretation of image.
2. Apply the function of text as an anchor and relay and how it affects the reading of an image.
Everyone in the class was assigned an item. I got “mirror“. I was glad until I discover later that mirror is such an unique object whereby its function, does not depend on the object itself but what it can do. To reflect.
Mirror is a common object that is easily accessible, which also means I have to narrow down my focus. Hence I choose the theme narcissism.
Test shots, hard decisions and a 2 hour long wait at the printing shop… :’)
Task 1: DENOTATION
“Photograph a series of image that capture the practical function of the object.”
I want to highlight the most important function of mirror, to reflect. Not just in washrooms, mirror can be found in places that are often neglected.
Task 2: Connotation
“Photograph a series of image that celebrate or change of critique that object’s meaning.”
Our actions will affect the function of a mirror. In the same setting, the gym, mirror serve a functional purpose that allow user to correct their posture, but can also be a tool for taking selfies. Narcissism is expressed via selfies.
Front camera is the new mirror of modern society because youngsters often replace mirror with phone screen to check on themselves. Narcissism is expressed via looking at the front camera anytime, anywhere.
This shoot is taken as if we are judging someone who check on themselves, from the inside of a mirror. It looks awkward and silly because one tend to tilt their head, with one eye nearer to the mirror. Narcissism is expressed via constantly checking out one’s appearance in front of a mirror.
This series is photoshopped to warm pink because narcissism is self-love, and pink associates well with love.
A broken mirror has a negative connotation in every culture, represented by a sharp, protruding hook. e.g. 7 years of back luck, separable, trapped souls etc. I really like this shoot but it does not relate to narcissism.
“Create a A2 poster. Give it a title that changes the reading of the image.”
Narcissism is often criticised and frown upon but I feel that there are positive impacts like self-love, confidence, and respect for individuality.
The whole installation poster is a mirror with “reflection” taken rom task 1, set up to look like an art exhibition. When people stand in front of the mirror the “painting” detail reads “Daddy and Mommy’s masterpiece“. The word “masterpiece” is used to suggest importance and beauty because masterpiece usually refer to an artist’s best creation. I aim to point out the importance of self-love. Why I choose this image is because of the Chinese saying “掌上明珠 (pearl on the palm)“, refer to someone who is of inestimable value to their family and is beloved. In this case,the image is no longer showing reflection but relatable to the Chinese saying and my text instead.
I arrange task 2 to be directly under task 1 during the actual presentation because audience can easily draw comparison between function and meaning, even at the same setting. Task 3 uses a typical arrangement observed in art galleries and exhibitions.
Research and reference artist:
Laura is a 1990 born [self-] portrait-artist from Southern Germany. Besides photographing projects she teaches workshops, gives inspirational talks and travels to all over the world – always searching for magical places and special light. It’s her clear visual language, the power of telling stories and showing raw, honest emotions in her photographs that makes her work stand out. She is convinced that photography is a type of therapy that gives you the ability to heal yourself and others.
Kyle Thompson was born in Chicago on January 11th, 1992. He began taking photographs at the age of nineteen after finding interest in nearby abandoned houses. His work is mostly composed of self portraits, often taking place in empty forests and abandoned homes.
His work encapsulates the ephemeral narrative, a nonexistent story line that only lives for a split moment. These images show the collapse of narrative, as there is no defined story line with a beginning and end; instead, these images create a loop. This fleeting moment lives on in a constant unchanging state. By diverting the view of the face, the images become more ambiguous, the viewer is no longer able to tie a defined story line to the image.
for laura zalenga:http://laurazalenga.com
for kyle Thompson:http://www.kylethompsonphotography.com
“Creatively introduce yourself using only 3 photographs…”
Growing up alone with nobody guiding me how to behave or what a social norm should do, I am capricious in character. Of the list of descriptions I collected from my friend and family, I could not determine a clear direction of where I’m heading with project 1.
“Who I am like is shaped by the people I meet along the way”,
I said to myself as I glanced through task 1 for the 18th time and fell deep into a whirl of past memories.
Shaped, through words, through experience, and most importantly, through how I learn to respond. It’s all like a game of cards but everyone is the dealer of their own response. Hence photo 1 and 2 were taken with “cards” to respond with my emotions. Basically I printed out selfies with varying emotions and select the exaggerated ones. Photo 3 was based on my mentor’s suggestion of taking a witty close up of myself in the process of responding.
“We think with the objects we love; we love the objects we think with…”
My coach once told me, “don’t keep punching and kicking, hit hard once with all you might to make sure your opponent never gets back up.”
Practising Muay Thai for on and off about 2 years really brought out the aggressive side of me that I never thought I would enjoy so much. Not only does it trains me physically, it also strengthens my emotional well-being by acting a channel to alleviate my stress during A-level period. It has helped me to improve much in terms of my own mind set, how I should persevere and never give up in face of adversity. It has encouraged me to try my best and love what I’m doing.
I could not think of any object that better represent my passion other than this boxing glove, hence I thought task 2 was pretty straight-forward. As such, I need to put some thoughts into how I can highlight the emotions and my affinity towards the object.
I like this shot because I had a difficult time showing momentum in a still second, but there are too much distractions in the background that could not be cropped as this photo was taken in the gym.
“A place that is significant to you or fascinates you…”
Cliche yes, but my favourite place is honestly my bed. Sleeping in comfort is such a rejuvenating ritual that I look forward to everyday. It is no doubt of major significance in my life. For my bed I look into cleanliness, comfort and minimalistic design and that is exactly what the photos here depict. I hope to bring a sense of coziness to my audience, make them feel that this is a place for relaxation, meanwhile implying that this place is something personal. With a hint of belongingness, the make-up stains and strands of hair were left as it is. I took a series with ‘baby’s breath’ flowers and aromatic diffusers but perhaps they drew attention away from my bed and hence I left them out.
“The camera may record accurately but it is people who choose what and how it records… “
I’ve learnt so much through this project in terms of angle, positioning the camera, and most importantly cropping to show only the essential parts to convey ideas effectively.
Because we were limited to 3-5 photo slots per task, a lot of decision-making was involved and I had a hard time filtering my ideas and shots taken.
During the actual presentation I’ve decided to paste my photos in an organic form because of personal preference and didn’t give much thought to it, which I regret because I discover later, that this arrangement is messy, and denies space for contemplation. Perhaps another important lesson I learnt that day was to arrange my photos in a way that is most powerful in bringing out the interest of my final products.
We did an in-class activity whereby I partner up with Jun to take 12 photos of each other, without posing.
She’s more comfortable in corridor rather than classroom so that was where we head to. Intuitively, my first shoot is wide angled, eye-leveled because in my opinion, corridors all have this depressing ambience.
Followed up by a high angled, full body shoot to highlight her vulnerability and helplessness in the lonely corridor because this angle make her seem rather insignificant.
I wanted to zoom in and get a close up shoot but Jun is extremely timid, hence, I managed to capture the moment she shy away from the camera. I’ve decided to post it as one of my favourite because it’s natural, her action upheld an accurate representation of her personality and who she really is. This photo also immortalised an unspoken but interesting moment during our 10 minutes of shooting with minimal interaction.
All in all, this activity is fun, straight-forward but never easy. Firstly, there are sources of distraction like people walking past and random structure like windows and doors that can disrupt the tidiness of the photo, therefore framing and positioning the camera became an issue. Secondly, minimal interaction means that communication between me and her is practically non-existent which makes the shooting process extremely difficult because we can’t tell each other what kind of result we’re looking for. Thirdly, as an inexperienced photographer myself, there are always rooms for improvements like how to focus more efficiently, handling the camera better and most importantly, learn about the compositions so my photos can turn out to be aesthetically pleasing.