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.
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
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.
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
Inspired by: Jaydenation – Jayde 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.
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
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.
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)
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)
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.
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.)
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
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.