Project 2: The Subverted Object (Process, Concepts, Test Shots)

For this project, my assigned object is a measuring tape. I knew subverting is going to be challenging hence, I tried to make sure my research and thought process for each component is strong and detailed hence, I’m able to deliver the objectives of the brief. In addition, I wanted to do something different and not try not to use the overused concepts related to measuring tape such as suicide/suffocating due to body issues or anorexia initially. However, after critique, I realised there are different ways to express the overused concepts in an interesting way and it’s up to me on how I’m going to make it more interesting and impactful in terms of sending out a message. This post will be my process of research and trial & error for each component of this project.

The photos are taken using an iPhone 8+.



For exploration of ideas and viewing the measuring tape from different aspects, I’ve decided to break the object down in a mind map in terms of the good and the bad of a measuring tape as well as researching on idioms I could use in the design process.

Mindmap of “Measuring Tape” – Good & Bad


Idioms related to measuring tape, measuring, measurement, scale:

  • A cut above (slightly better than)
  • Move the needle (have a measurable effect on something) E.g. ( We’re all hoping that the new product line will move the needle on sales – revenues have been flat lately.
  • beyond measure (in large numbers)



Ideas for Component 1

Objective of this component:

  • To denotate the object as a literal message.
  • Focus: To measure tangible (physical) objects.

Concept 1 – Interaction: ‘Measuring the mannequin’

Process of selection of photos:

Experimented with different shot distance and various angles to find the best shot to showcase the interaction of the user with the object; measuring tape.

Selected photo:

Using Rule of Thirds, I’ve decided to crop the proper so it will have a balanced composition of the object, the user and the mannequin against the white backdrop. In addition, I increased the saturation of photo so it will be vibrant and it adds emphasis to the complementary colours of yellow and blue which is the interaction of the user and the object (focal point).

Concept 2 – Object: ‘Fabric Measuring Tape’

Process of selection of photos:

Experimented with different shot distance and various angles to find a suitable photo which best describes the measuring tape’s physical attributes. Played around by making the measuring tape messy and arranging it neatly to see which describes the object in its natural form.

Selected photo:

The selected photo is the fabric measurement tape is being coiled up to show how measurement is universal in this world but it’s messy at times because different parts of the world have different standards of measuring as shown from the scale; cm (white side of the measuring tape) and inches (yellow side of the measuring tape). The composition is more dynamic and catches your attention more than the usual neatly arranged measuring tape.

Concept 3 – Environment: ‘Sewing room’ 

Process of selection of photos:

For the environment setting for the object, I captured the wide shot to showcase the whole environment of where the measuring tape is commonly used in.

Selected photo:

For the photo selected, I realised framing and cropping from Project 1 helped me out for this section as it is essential because it removes all the distractions from the surrounding and I’m able to enhance the photo by picking which areas I want to focus on. In addition, after cropping the photo, I’ve decided to remove unnecessary labels and objects to place emphasis on the object and the environment.



Conceptualization for Component 2


Objective of this component:

  • To connotate the object as a symbolic message
  • Subvert the object’s meaning and explore different ways of subverting the measuring tape to change its function or to tell a message through my concepts
  • Considerations –
  • How do we measure intangible object (e.g. happiness, knowledge)?
  • How did they came up with standards and society’s norms which is all related to measurement and scale (an element of the measuring tape) of expectations in this world?


Drawings of Ideas/Conceptualization on notes:

  1. Measurement of happiness
  2. Preconceived notions of dating
  3. Suffocated by conforming to society’s standard of beauty
  4. Body issues due to society’s social norms (e.g. anorexia)


Selected Concept 1 – ‘Measurement of Happiness’

For this concept, I was really inspired by John Holcroft‘s illustration of how social media is a form of ego boost and a substitute of dopamine drug to improve one’s self-esteem in majority of the avid users of social media’s life nowadays. He used his sense of humour to raise awareness about the dependency of social media to one’s life and how it is much cheaper than going to therapy. Hence, I decided to incorporate this idea into my concept for component 2 using the measuring tape as a scale of happiness.


Selected Concept 2 – ‘Suffocated by social norms’

For this concept of being suffocated by conforming to social norms, I’ve incorporated elements of Laura Zalenga and Kyle Thompson’s faceless element and incorporated René Magritte‘s artwork of the figure being hollow into this concept to show there’s layers of meaning to it and the individual putting on a facade.


Selected Concept 3 – ‘Select your outcome (How standards came about?)’

For this concept of selecting being a follower or a leader,  I was inspired to incorporate the technique of ‘Décalcomanie’ which is a blotting process whereby paint is squeezed between two surfaces to create a mirror image. For my artist reference, you can see each artist incorporate the techniques in their own style and I’ve decided to focus on selecting one out of two scenarios/choices in our lives that will lead us to a different outcome/perspective in life that will be further explained using text and linguistic message.

Experimentation & Process of selection of final concept:

For the final concept, I’ve decided to choose concept 3 to represent this idea of selecting your outcome of being a follower or a leader to show the dependency of the follower towards the leader. However, after the critique, I felt like concept 2 would be a better option for the final concept because it clearly shows the two scenarios that an individual have to select and it really incorporates the décalcomanie technique. I realised that thinking through with my selection of concept is really essential because I need to select the concept that conveys the message best and it’s easy for the audience to understand the context.


  • Preconceived notions of dating
Preconceived notions of dating (Positive perspective)
  • Body issues due to society’s social norms (e.g. anorexia)
  • Subvert the measuring tape into a belt, a whip or a corset

After the critique, I felt like I should’ve spent time exploring and manipulating the test shots that I’ve taken and work with the ideas I had in mind instead of just selecting three and focusing on it. If I had the chance to redo this project, I would select the idea of the measuring tape being subverted into a corset to showcase how people try to fit into the right size according to the beauty standards.




  • Use colour to create energy, elicit a mood and attract the eye.
  • Use blocks of solid colours
  • Limit your colour palette to put emphasis on the main focal point
  • Show seriousness with a BOLD font, enhance elegance with an ITALIC font or express playfulness or fun with a LOOSE HANDWRITTEN font.
  • When selecting fonts, choose at least TWO. (Headline & body copy)
  • Make typography clean and simple
  • Create visual hierarchy
  • Use negative or white space to form clever composition
  • Say more with less (Remove unnecessary elements)(Minimalistic elegance)
  • Create a point of focus (use photography that’s in or out of focus to give more weight to the text)
  • Play with layering to create DEPTH & DIMENSION
  • Take the viewer’s focus on a journey with clever perspective
  • Ensure your composition is BALANCED
  • Use creative illustrations which can be flat or have layers and depth
  • Ensure all of your graphic elements FLOW TOGETHER (Create a path for them to follow)
  • Design your poster to evoke emotion. (fragmented composition made of difference facial expressions to mimic the feeling of the jazz event.)
  • Create consistent templates to use for multiple events
  • Design for your audience
  • Play with contrast for a more interesting composition

(Source of content)

Text considered for poster:

  • “You’ll never be satisfied.”
  • “What is the norm?”
  • “Never enough.”
  • “Create your own norm.”
  • “Your choice.”
  • “Select your outcome.”
  • “Prisoner of trends.”
  • “Create your norm.”
  • “Measure up.”

Outcome of A2 poster:


Selected text for poster:

“Prisoner of Trends”

“Create your norm”

“Select your outcome”


After thoughts:

  • Make it more like an advertisement or poster to raise awareness so it will be more impactful (I should’ve put more thought into it and make it look more sleek and clean.)
  • Experiment more with the text with the other composition of selected concept to see which composition is more suitable to convey the meaning of the image.


Project 2: The Subverted Object



For Project 2: The Subverted Object, my assigned object was a measuring tape. Our objectives is to apply semiotics and how it affects the interpretation of the image using the techniques we learnt such as literal, symbolic and linguistic message.

The colour scheme of the whole layout consists of yellow, blue, white and black which involves a high contrast of colours. In addition, yellow is the main focus as its vibrancy gives a sense of excitement and caution.



Component 1: Denotation

We had to capture 3 images to convey the object as a literal message. I’ve decided to use a fabric measuring tape to work with for this component. For this component, my main objective is to highlight the measuring tape’s practical utility which is to measure tangible (physical) object.


Interaction – Measuring a mannequin

To place emphasis on the interaction between the user and the object, I’ve decided to use complementary colours such as blue (nail polish of the user) and yellow (the colour of the measuring tape) against a neutral background to highlight the function of the object which is the act of measuring. In addition, I applied Rule of Thirds to have a nice composition and balance between the measuring tape, mannequin as well as the user.

  • Shots/Framing:  Medium shot, taken at an eye level


Object – Fabric Measuring Tape

This is an extreme close up of the measuring tape against a white background to showcase the details and components of the object, flexible form, smooth texture and the plastic material used. In addition, the measurement tape is being coiled up to show how measurement is universal but it’s messy at times because different parts of the world have different standards of measuring as shown from the scale; cm (white side of the measuring tape) and inches (yellow side of the measuring tape).

  • Shots/Framing:  Extreme close up shot, taken at an high angle


Environment – Sewing room

This photo is taken in a sewing room to show the environment where the measuring tape is commonly used. I wanted to showcase how a measuring tape is being used in this setting before all the sewing and creation of clothings/etc happens. Using a similar technique to place emphasis on using the measuring tape to measure the fabric, I used the same complementary colours of blue and yellow to ensure there’s a cohesive colour scheme.

  • Shots/Framing:  Mid shot, taken from a high angle


Component 2: Connotation

We had to capture 3 images to convey the object as a symbolic message by subverting (to overthrow/overturn from the foundation) the object’s meaning through other elements of our shots. For this component, I had a few considerations in my mind to work with;

  • How do we measure intangible object (e.g. happiness, knowledge)?
  • How did they came up with standards and society’s norms which is all related to measurement and scale (an element of the measuring tape) of expectations in this world?
  • How can I subvert and manipulate the measuring tape to express the concepts/ideas I have in mind?


Measurement of Happiness

This concept is about majority of our current millennials’ way of measuring happiness and their likability in their lives through social media. The measuring tape is subverted to a scale of measurement of happiness. To showcase how social media likes is similar to dopamine that feeds one’s ego and increase their happiness, I’ve placed the likes in a prescription bottle to show how it improves one’s quality of life and manipulate my mouth into a heart shape. As the millennials receives the love and recognition from their friends on their social media, it improves their mood as shown on the measuring scale. Hence, showing how dependent they are to social media to feel validated and happy in life.

  • Shots/framing/layout: Placed a black border so it looks like an advertisement on  TV to show how effective it is as a supplement in our lives.
  • Artist Reference: John Holcroft (inspired by John Holcroft’s illustrations of depicting the impact of social media in our lives and how it affects our quality of life.)

Evaluation (After critique):

  • Measuring tape being subverted to a scale of happiness is clear to the audience.



Suffocated by conforming to social norms

This concept is about an individual being suffocated by conforming to social norms to be accepted in today’s society. The questions on my mind while coming up with this concept are  “How are we supposed to be satisfied with our life when the trends are ever-changing?” and “What is the Norm?”. The measuring tape is subverted into the pathway/journey of following trends and as ropes to suffocate the individual.

The individual is being wrapped up by the measuring tape to showcase that it’s being restricted by social standards and it’s hollow to show that they’re feeling dead inside despite fronting a happy side of following the trends as shown on the mask. In addition, I used a contrasting colour scheme of yellow and blue; despite the individual being vibrant and flashy(yellow), he or she is walking on a suffocating and lonely journey which is sad represented by the blue road which it not completed at the end to show how the trends are ever-changing.

  • Shots/framing/layout: Tunnel vision to show that the journey is dark and it’s only lit up around the pathway to show it’s a short-lived moment of happiness when they manage to conform to the social norms at that period of time.
  • Artist Reference: Laura Zalenga (faceless figure) and René Magritte (incorporated the figure being hollow into this concept to show there’s layers of meaning to it and putting on a facade)

Evaluation (After critique):

  • It looks like a slender man ): – Prof Serena
  • Make the measuring tape as the path/journey more evident in this concept and use a rough texture to depict a sad & tough journey. – Jia Eenn
  • Take a real photo of a mask from Daiso (any cheap ones) and wrapped it up with the measuring tape to show being suffocated by social norms. – Prof Serena
  • Make the end of the journey (measuring tape) narrower to show bleak/unknown outcome of keeping up with social norms. – Marc
  • Should have left the measuring tape as it is without removing any elements of it being wrapped around the person. – Prof Serena



Select your outcome (How Standards Came About?)

This concept is about deciding becoming a follower or a leader in this world of ever-changing trends/norms. When I was thinking about how standards came about and who made them, I realised it’s all made up by humans. There’s a spectrum (scale) of people ranging from a follower (a prisoner of trends) to a leader (creating the norms). A follower needs an example to follow which are the leaders who are the trendsetters and setting up the standards. All these standards and spectrum of people creates order and structure in this world, hence, it’s essential to fit everything in and create a way of life for people to follow. Nobody knows what the world will be like if there’s no standards, norms, measurement (expectations) created by us. Hence, I believe it will be chaos if there’s no order or structure created.

The measuring tape is subverted into a prisoner bar code made by the scale of the measuring tape (follower), the measuring tape being manipulated into a crown bow which represents power and superiority (leader) and yellow caution tape manipulated by using the form and texture of the measuring tape which represents a sense of caution using our pre-existing knowledge.

The follower with the prisoner bar code is smaller in size and facing the leader to show its dependency on following the trends created by them. The leader is being represented with the crown bow and it’s bigger in size while looking down on the audience which signify a sense of authority. There’s caution tape around the follower and the leader to send a message that there’s an outcome and consequences when we’re deciding to be either a leader or a follower so, be careful.

  • Shots/framing/layout: A gaming interface to show how we’re just characters in this world having to make a decision of being a follower or a leader and dealing with the consequences of our choices made by whoever (god or whoever with power).
  • Artist Reference: Magritte (Incorporated René Magritte’s two perspective of the world into my concept from his surreal painting)

Evaluation (After critique):

  • To make the concept of the followers and the leader clearer, duplicate the follower and make a group of them that is smaller as compared to the leader. In addition, adjust the crown to the middle so it’s obvious that it is a symbol of power and authority. – Zoey
  • Change the measuring tape bow that represents authority to a crown made out of measuring tape so it’s more literal or the leader being wrapped in a measuring tape dress to show their power in creating trends. – Prof Serena
  • Manipulated the measuring tape too much and should have left the elements of scale and measurement on the yellow caution tape so the audience would easily know the object used is a measuring tape. – Prof Serena
  • Focused too much on one concept and should’ve explored more with the other ideas and not the only one I thought is the best. – Prof Serena


Component 3: Text and Image

For Component 3, I’ve decided to make a poster from Component 2’s third concept of becoming a follower or a leader because it really resonates with how people are being categorised nowadays (alpha or beta) and how the standards are a man-made concept created by human beings.



  • “Prisoner of trends” (To represent the follower’s role)
  • “Create your norm” (To represent the leader’s role)
  • “Select your outcome” – It’s a linguistic message that the audience can infer after seeing the text and the whole image that you either be a prisoner of trends (follower) or be the one creating the norms (leader) thus, selecting the outcome of how you want to live your life as someone who has the upper hand in authority or just following the standards is being created.

I feel like everyone is just a character in this world with a predictable outcome with the choice they decided on which is either being a follower (prisoner of trends) or have the upper hand of being a leader and leading the world. There’s no right or wrong with the decisions we choose but there’s advantages and shortcomings for both decisions.

Evaluation (After critique):

  • “Measure up” is a better relay to use because “Select your outcome” requires too much of pre-existing knowledge and context of the whole concept. – Prof Serena
  • Use a text that is related to measuring so it’s easier for the audience to relay the text to the image.




I knew I was screwed for some parts of component 2 and 3 ):):): I was having a mental breakdown during the critique and it felt like each of us are getting slaughtered one by one because we misinterpreted certain aspects of subverting and the use of anchorage and relay message. However, it’s all good! We survived and learnt how to apply subverting in our future concepts to make our ideas more dynamic and interesting through the examples and mistakes we made during this project <3

In terms of presenting, I felt like I should learn how to calm my nerves down so I can present smoothly without stuttering and I should set aside more time to practise my presentation speech so it’s easier for everyone to understand my train of thoughts.

After the evaluation for my component 2, I realised I shouldn’t manipulate the object by removing essential aspect of the measuring tape too much so the audience would still know it is a subversion of a measuring tape when it is viewed by its own without any context. I need to remember for each concept, it should be able to be viewed on its own and the audience have to be able to understand without much pre-existing knowledge and I shouldn’t assume they know what I’m trying to showcase as a creator. In addition, I shouldn’t be too caught up on one concept and try to explore more with the other concepts so everything is strong conceptually on its own.

This technique of subverting an object really pushed me out of my comfort zone and fried my brain juices as I had to view it from different outlooks. Nevertheless, I believe this project is essential for our design development because we’re able to experiment with the literal, symbolic and linguistic messages during our design process and make the whole project/artwork fun for both the creator as well as the audience in terms of interaction and deciphering the meaning of the work.




Exercise 2: Irrational Objects

Conceptualization of object with verbs & templates

First Exercise

Thinking out of the box with the questions given in class:

Questions about the object given

After this exercise, it gives me a new outlook on how to explore and view my object (measuring tape). There’s more for exploration when I stopped thinking about the literal functions and purpose of the object in a logical way.

Second Exercise

Coming up with 10 sketches of concepts with verbs using our object given:

(Blooming, Fleeing, Flirting, Pleading, Camouflaging, Healing, Screwing, Eavesdropping, Expanding, Mumbling)

We had to do automatic drawing when we were given the verbs, unexpected and unpredictable ideas are created and this encourages spontaneity of image-making which can be further used for development. It helped me out for certain concepts I had beforehand and I’m considering to use some of the random concepts I came up with for my “Component 2 – Connotation”.

Third Exercise

  • Identifying the component parts and features of the object
  • Apply the transformation as suggested by each template
  1. The REMOVAL template (removing one component of the object)
  2. The REPLACEMENT template (replace one component with a different component or replace to a resource from the immediate environment)
  3. The REDEFINITION template (redefine the environment/contextualise the object’s function through a new environment)


This in-class exercise really helped me out by broadening my perspective by looking at different aspects of the object/topic given. In addition, how to let loose and not be too rigid when I’m coming up with the conceptualization and ideation. Hence, I can think of something unique and impactful and select an idea/concept that is not overused for component 2 and 3.

Project 1: Picture Story – Curating Self (Process, Concepts & Test Shots)

For this project, I wanted to challenge myself to tell my story, be comfortable and as candid as Nan Goldin to show certain sides of me and how I came to be the person I am today. During the process of this project, I pushed myself to come up with interesting concepts using various techniques such as the use of semiotics, denotation and connotation, play with contrasting elements such as the value of darkness, the meaning behind the concept and mood of the setting. My goal is to send out an impactful message while telling my life story to my peers.

The photos are taken on iPhone 8+ and Olympus DSLR camera.


 Look at me now… 

Process of Component 1: Me

Planning of concepts for Component 1: Me


Experimentation of Concept 1 – “Stoic Sculpture” :

Artist Reference: Alex Maeda

I was inspired by Alex Maeda’s style of making humans and living spaces into 2D. The concept of painting myself is really interesting and I want to see how it can add value to convey the meaning behind my concept which is my achievements and struggles.

Selected Test Shots for Concept 1 – “Stoic Sculpture” :

These are the test shots selected for review and I experimented with various shots and angles to find out which framing will be able to convey the narrative behind the concept the best.

Selected photo is the fifth photo with medium close up taken at a high angle because it shows a sense of vulnerability.


Experimentation of Concept 2 – “I can’t be fucked anymore” :

For one of the concepts for component 1, I wanted to send out an impactful message about a pivotal moment in my life. I was figuring out on how to do it and I got inspired by Jayde Tan when I was browsing through our local photographer’s Instagram page. I explored with my body to show vulnerability yet convey a message on my bare back.

Selected Test Shots for Concept 2 – “I can’t be fucked anymore” :

For this concept, I experimented with long shot, medium shot and medium close up. The third test shot is selected because it focuses on the impactful message as well as the red silk robe which signifies pride. It’s taken from a low angle to show that I’m in control and suits the narrative.


Experimentation & Selected Test Shots for Concept 3 – “Carefree – I do what I want” :

I experimented with various part of my room and tried of different expressions and gestures to convey the feeling of being a carefree person without any care in the world. The selected test shot is the fourth photo because the background is white and my expression is suitable.

Artist Reference: UglyWorldWide – You Can Do It

I was inspired by Uglyworldwide because she tends to convey her mood by doing quirky makeup on her face and I incorporated this style into my concept because it gives off a carefree vibe.


 Searching for happiness

Process of Component 2: My Object

Process of Planning Component 2: My Object


Selected Test Shots for Concept 1 – “Windmill of Happiness” :

I tried using lighting to achieve a reflection effect but in the end, I chose test shot 4 because I realised I should keep it simple because happiness to me is about enjoying the simple things in life.


Selected Test Shots for Concept 2 – “Existential Crisis” :

To show the contrast between depression and happiness, I have chosen the second photo because it’s more interactive and it has more contrasting element of the childlike innocence and hope for happiness, and the smoke which is the will to survive.

Framing for Concept 2 – “Existential Crisis” :

For the chosen photo, during the review of test shots, Prof Serena asked to focus on one object so it’s not confusing. Hence, I cropped away the cigarette in the original photo and frame it to be a medium shot so it focus on the details of the emphasis which is the vibrant rainbow windmill and the smoke. In addition, I did colour correcting to make the colour more blueish to make it gloomy.

This made me realised how framing will immediately zoom into the main point of the narrative and less is more.


Brandon Woelfel’s artwork (Processed with VSCO with e8 preset)

I was inspired by Brandon Woelfel’s way of using colour smoke grenade to add vibrancy into his photos. However, instead of using vibrancy, I want to incorporate smoke in a depressing way to have a conflicting effect with the vibrant rainbow windmill.


Selected Test Shots for Concept 3 – “A reminder…” :

The process of capturing this concept is really tedious because I had to use a tripod, timer and blow the windmill at the same time. It took quite a long time because I wanted to achieve a medium shot at an eye level with a white background.

I was in dilemma to pick between the second and the third photo but I’ve chosen the third photo because the facial expression is more intense even though it was a mistake to have my head cropped out. Also, after consulting with my classmates and friends, they said the second photo is a bit too boring and there’s no emphasis compared to the third photo.

Framing for Concept 3 – “A reminder…” :

For the framing for this photo concept, I’ve framed it to be medium close up to focus on the details of the rotating windmill and the intense look from my facial expression. My aim was focus on the main emphasis of the story which is eyeing on my future happiness despite my struggling situation. Hence, I decided to edit the colour tone of the photo to have a blue hue.

Other rejected test shots for Component 2 – My Object:

Experimented various angles and shots of me interacting with my rainbow windmill but it’s not really impactful compared to the selected test shots. However, being able to try out different shots, knowing how to pose even though it’s weird doing it by myself was a fun experience. Thank god, I’m shameless and I didn’t mind people watching me do my project alone:


 Daddy is gone…

Process of Component 3: My World

Process of Planning Component 3: My World


Selected Test Shots for Concept 1 – “Gone…” :

For the concept, I took wide shots to show the environment of my world with my younger self with the windmill in it. My focus was to place contrasting visuals between my sad self and the vibrancy of the playground. I tried to play around with the infrastructure available to express the pang of sadness of receiving the news by using the railings of the playground to show that my life is ruined like how people will get a black mark in their records when they enter prison. (Leaving a scar in my life)

I’ve chosen the second photo because the environment of the location I wanted to showcase is really obvious and the feelings I wanted to express is really suitable and child-like for the narrative.


Framing for Concept 1 – “Gone…” :

For the framing of this photo concept, I decided to use Rule of Thirds to crop the photo to put emphasis on me crouching down, hugging my knees. I wanted to showcase how the playground it’s a happy place for the people around me in the photo but how I’m unhappy about the tragic news using a blue hue for the mood at that exact happy location.


Selected Test Shots for Concept 2 – “Taken away” :

To convey the cause of how my dad passed away, I tried placing the windmill and the beer bottle using the Rule of Thirds and decided to use the third photo. I prefer the long shot of the photo with the kid facing away from the camera in the background.


Selected Test Shots for Concept 3 – “The beginning of my downhill” :

To convey the message that my life is scarred for life and it went downhill, I tried experimenting using different poses and angles. The chosen photo is the fifth one because it places emphasis on how my life went downhill since I’m sitting on the slide. The medium close up shot focuses on the bloody hands and how broken I am from the body gesture.


Framing for Concept 3 – “The beginning of my downhill” :

For the chosen photo, to amplify the depressing mood, I colour corrected the photo to have more cool tones so the red bloody  will stand out more


Other rejected test shots for Component 3 – My World:

These are the rejected test shots because it doesn’t fit the narrative or capture the location of the environment well.



  • It was really tough managing everything by myself from using the camera, tripod, timer as well as, trying to pose in time to capture the right moment.
  • Figuring out the concepts and planning out the shots and framing is tedious and enjoyable at the same time.

This project has equipped me with useful skills that I could use in future projects or any concepts that I’m planning to do.

Project 1: Picture Story – Curating Self


Layout of Curating Self


For this project, I’ve decided to focus on my dark past and the gradual development of how I become the person I am today.

Layout of the photos

First row of photos (Component 1): I’ve decided to arrange the photos in a way which is going down to show that I’m starting afresh from square one. In addition, there’s a gradual decrease in the value of darkness (from left to right) to show how my life have improved.

Second row of photos (Component 2): The layout for this series photos is straight to show how I feel like my life is stagnant and stuck whenever I have an episode of existential crisis and I used cool tones to put emphasis on my sad emotions and mood of the narrative.

Third row of photos (Component 3): To showcase how my life has been rocky after a certain incident in my life, I’ve decided to place the photos up and down.



 Look at me now… 


Component 1 – Me

For this component, I wanted to show a few pivotal moments that made a huge impact in my life hence, how I developed to become a happier individual and changed my perspective in life in a positive way.


“Stoic Sculpture”

In the past, people always think that I’m just lucky whenever they heard about my achievements but they didn’t see the struggles behind the process. I planned to experiment with the use of semiotics by using colours and decided to paint myself; gold and red. Gold represent my achievements and red represent my struggles in life.

My concept is being a stoic sculpture to show that I’m numb to everything by having a blank facial expression. It becomes a norm to be hurting yet keeping a stoic expression. This photo is taken from a high angle to show my vulnerability to people’s comments and judgement about me.

  • Shots/Framing:  Medium close up, taken at a high angle
  • Evaluation: Very daring, playful and use semiotics to convey the narrative of the concept. – Classmates
  • It looks like a painting from far. – Chen Guo

Artist Reference

Inspired by: Alexa Meade – An artist known for painting humans and 3D spaces to look like a 2D. 

I’ve decided to play with colours and make myself a sculpture as it gives a stronger emphasis on the emotions of the narrative like Alexa Meade’s artworks and the audience can try to figure connotative meaning behind the photo.


“I can’t be fucked anymore”

There was a certain phase in my life when I was used and taken advantage of due to childhood trauma, during work and even in relationships. I was at the lowest point of my life so I had the choice to either rise from my traumas or die in a pathetic way.

I’ve decided to use my bad experiences in life as a motivation to build myself up again hence, using an impactful phrase, “I can’t be fucked anymore” to showcase that I won’t let anyone belittle me anymore.

I’m stripping away the red silk robe (pride) and showing my bare back as stepping stone into the next phase in my life which I won’t hide my weaknesses anymore and it’s okay to be vulnerable and not putting up a strong front. The photo is taken at a low angle to show that I’m in control even though I might be vulnerable at times.

  • Shots/Framing:  Medium shot, taken at a low angle
  • Evaluation: Not shy to experiment with my body. – Gina
  • Contrasting meaning behind my body posture (looks like I’m hanging myself and giving up on life) but the message on the back says otherwise. – Prof Serena

Artist Reference

Inspired by: JaydenationJayde Tan is one of the upcoming photographers in Singapore who likes to come up with unique and aesthetically appealing concept to send out a strong message to the audience. ‘Make Yishun Pearl Again’ and ‘The Majulahs’ are my favourite projects of his and I want to be able to do more concepts with more impactful messages.


“Carefree – I do what I want”

After all the bad experiences I went through in life, I decided to be carefree because I won’t let anyone dictate my life and I’ll do what makes me happy. I no longer want to be dragged by my past so I decided to use a white background to signify that I’m starting afresh.

To cover up my pain, I like to dress up in vibrant and colourful things to mask my dark past and it become a form of therapy for me because it’s relaxing and I get to be creative with myself. To showcase this side of me, I decided to paint two smiley face on my cheeks, wear bright coloured clothing and unique accessories.

From the previous photos, you can see how my life have improved from the change in facial expressions in the photos. In addition, after I changed my perspective in life, I’m enjoying life and became a stronger individual because nobody can stop me.

  • Shots/Framing:  Medium close up
  • Evaluation: This photo brings out the child-like innocence in me and links to the next few components of the narrative of my story. – Prof Serena

Artist Reference

Inspired by: Uglyworldwide – A unique experimental model/artist who likes to convey her mood by painting her face or dressing up in a certain way.



 Searching for happiness 


Component 2 – Object

For this component, I wanted to show how my life comes to a standstill whenever I start questioning the purpose of my life and if I’m capable enough to carry on in life.


“Windmill of Happiness”

For my object, I’ve decided to chose a rainbow windmill which signifies happiness and hope to me. I received it from my friends when I became an adult because they wanted me to always be cheerful and happy in life.

The background is cool toned and plain. In order to showcase the conflicting emotions of happiness and sadness, I try to put emphasis on the contrasting tones of warm and vibrant colours of the windmill and cool colour of the background to convey the gloomy mood.

  • Shots/Framing:  Close up (To focus on the details and vibrant colours of the windmill)


“Existential Crisis”

At times, when I’m having an episode of existential crisis, I pondered to myself, “Is it possible for someone like me who has depression and multiple traumas to achieve the happy future I have in mind?”

To showcase wanting happiness and hope for the future despite my condition, I’ve decided to blow smoke against the rainbow windmill to show my desperation to make it turn and come true. I want to put emphasis in my dilemma of succumbing to my depression (the will to survive) or staying strong to witness my future (the happy future I want to experience).

  • Shots/Framing:  Medium shot, taken at an eye level view
  • Evaluation:  Like the concept of using of windmill and smoke to signify a certain emotion – Classmates
  • Prof Serena commented how I like to play with contrast using semiotics and connotations in my concepts and that could be one of my artwork styles.
  • Someone suggested that I could’ve cropped out the railings and focus more on the concept of the photo but Prof Serena commented that the bright light around the railings add emphasis on the contrast of meaning since the value of darkness right side of the photo is high. (Preference of the audience)

Artist Reference

Inspired by: Brandon Woelfel – A famous photographer in California who likes to use LED lights and smoke to set the mood in his photos. His photos made me think of ways I can incorporate smoke into this concept to express my sadness. 


“A reminder…”

Whenever I look at the rainbow windmill, it’s a reminder that life will keep moving on even if I’ve experienced good and bad things in life and it gives me hope to carry on in life.

To showcase this concept, the rotating windmill signifies that the world will keep on revolving no matter what. I shouldn’t give up and I have to be patient to experience my moment of bliss and happiness even if it’s too painful at the moment as seen by my stern facial expression in the photo.

I’ve decided to placed the rotating windmill in front of my face and I’m staring right into the camera to put emphasis that I’m eyeing for my happiness in the future and I’ll drag myself forward even though it’s painful.

  • Shots/Framing:  Medium close up, taken at an eye level view
  • Evaluation: Personally, this is one of my favourite piece because it really means a lot to me and it’s still a reminder to me till today.



 Daddy is gone… 


Component 3 – My World

A playground is usually a place of happiness and fun to majority of the children in the world. However, it’s the opposite for me and how my life went downhill when I was a kid…



This is the exact place where I got the news that my dad passed away and I was in confusion because I didn’t understand the concept of death till one of the adults said he will be gone forever. That was when I felt a pang of sadness over this tragic loss.

To express this emotion, the windmill which signifies happiness is facing down on the ground and I’ve decided to make the mood gloomy by using cool tones.

  • Shots/Framing: Wide shot
  • Evaluation: There’s a daughter and dad in the background to show my absence of my dad after the incident. – Prof Serena (I didn’t notice this till Prof Serena pointed it out to me and it adds value to the narrative.)


“Taken away”

After this incident, my life changed forever. I placed the windmill (happiness) in a beer bottle to showcase how my happiness and role model in life is taken away from me because of someone’s inconsiderate act of drink driving.

I decided to think of a way to convey the cause of my father’s death in an interesting and impactful way to show how it can affect kid’s life for being irresponsible. The kid sitting at the background of the photo really adds value to the concept because it evokes a feeling of being lost and alone.

  • Shots/Framing:  Long shot
  • Evaluation: Like the play of objects to convey the cause of my father’s death. – Classmate


“The beginning of my downhill”

For this concept, I wanted to focus on the beginning of the downhill of my life and how I scarred for life with pain and stereotypes of my life being ruined because of my tragic loss.

I took this photo when the sun sets to incorporate darkness and the gloomy mood into the narrative. In a state of confusion and lost, I sat at the end of the slide to put emphasis behind the concept of how my life went downhill. In addition, my hands are bloody to convey the message that I’m scarred for life and I have to live with this pain and loss for the rest of my life.

  • Shots/Framing: Long shot
  • Evaluation: Marc liked the emphasis behind the reason why I’m sitting at the end of the slide to convey the meaning of how my life went downhill.



I really enjoyed the process and the final outcome of the photos because I feel that I managed to deliver the narrative and concepts I’ve in mind.

I realised I prefer coming up with creative concepts using semiotics and experimenting with my body because I like making the audience see the denotation and connotation behind my concepts as it makes it more interactive. In addition, a few people pointed out that I enjoyed using contrasting elements to make my concepts come alive and convey an impactful message.

Framing techniques, Rule of Thirds and the different types of shots and angles really makes a different in conveying your narrative and I realised the importance of it during the process of doing this project. Experiencing this makes me realised how I can tweak the narrative just by doing minor changes and I have to plan out really well to convey the mood and message I have in mind. Lastly, colour correction and taking the photos at the right place and setting is important to set the mood of the photo.