4D Assignment 1


Hello everyone! This is me. For my first task i did a story-like sequence of photos containing visuals and symbols that represent my idealistic values in disagreement with the realities that are part and parcel of society.

In my first photo I am completely bare-bodied facing the sea. This represents my surrender to nature. Surrender in a spiritual sense that has become a physical exposure in the image. Yet I am facing the sea, which gives a sense of connection to nature and at the same time, distance to the viewer.


Here in the second image of task one, I am carrying a bag of plants. Literally, carrying nature on my back while in the midst of people moving to and fro, following signboards and directions. The plants on my back symbolically  represent the belief of nature ideals i try to hold on to while being a part of society in its busyness (busyness represented by signboards and directions and people).


In the last shot of the first task, I leave the plants on the beach as I walk away into a distance. This represents my need to leave my own ideal values behind at times. Leaving nature where nature is and walking away from it into reality. This image is also captured in the ending afternoon where the sun also acts as a symbol of nature.

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In my second task, i wanted to choose an object that i frequently interact with. My piano is a personal object that i can easily interact with at a deeper emotional kind of level.

In the first shot of this task, i wanted to introduce the piano as the object. I took the inside of the piano because i wanted to show the softness and nakedness of the piano contained in its hard exterior. Here you can see that multiple piano keys have been played causing these few hammers to move forward. I hoped that the awareness of the moving mechanisms inside the piano would further enhance the value of intimacy when one plays on it. Being aware of how the sound travels in the piano connects you better with the instrument. It is like the passing of energy into the object. (Another similar example could be driving a manual car as compared to an auto car)

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In the second image, I did not want to interact with the piano in a conventional way. I wanted to make the interaction almost surrealistic to show how interaction with the object brings me out of reality. The bright background  brought out in the hope of creating a dreamlike space in which the image is set. I was trying to pose my hand in a way where it looks like a person is walking on the keys, hence the image did not capture my wrist to make it look less like a hand and more like a person, further adding to the surrealistic intention as its not usual.

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Contrasting to the second image, my third image of the second task was shot capturing the movement of my arms. I wanted to show that while I may be gentle with my piano, I may also be more aggressive in expression. That my piano may take my more aggressive rants.

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For the third task, Haji Lane was a personal place of mine. The things in this place that intrigue me may be its culture, or people, or its activities, or its lights. However, what brings me back again and again is the night here, which seems to drown me in its atmosphere.

The first shot, very much like the first two tasks, is the intro. The introduction to the night in Haji area. In the first picture you see the mosque which many people associate as a landmark of Haji area. The picture sets as an introduction to the night as the sun is no longer visible at dusk. The alley lies below the mosque in welcome of those who wish to go in.


In this image, I took a shot of an intricate looking lamp, followed by other lamps along the sides of the passageway, leading the crowd into the night of Haji. The light itself is intricate full of patterns that represent the culture influence there that intrigues me. The colour of the image, like the first shot, is quite saturated in blue. I wanted the colours to be more saturated as I wanted to express that drowning atmosphere there.

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In the third shot, a man is simply placing a drink on the table of a customer. The image again is saturated with heavy lights giving the effect of a drowning atmosphere. The image captures a simple thing happening. But at this instance of time, I am at my table looking across and time seems to stand still like how this photograph stays still; in my mind at that instant the tray of drinks is suspended in the air; the people seem to come to a stand still as the atmosphere of the night there is weighted on me. It was a moment i wanted to capture on camera and I hope the shot has given some of that effect here.


Aside from the assignment, this place holds many great memories for me. The people are different here somehow. We could talk into the night and pass the night over drinks and smoke. Also, there is a culture here that I like which sadly, will end. Its one of those places you’d one day only remember and never again experience.


  1. A really really daring and adventurous yet thought-provoking set of photos you got here bro. I was glad to be able to correctly interpret the meaning of your shots before we even started presenting. Just a real waste that your printed versions didn’t come out right.

    For my critique of your work, I feel that your 2nd shot in the 1st section (the one with you carrying the flowers) has a lot of distracting artefacts and extra elements.

    Apart from that, a wonderful bunch of photos. Looking at your work reminds me that photographs don’t always have to be literal or exhibit wonderful lightning and stuff to carry deep meaning. Also, I’ve never really seen Arab Street in that light before, and I didn’t know you smoke Shisha hahaha!

    Good work man!

  2. Hi Hsin Wei,
    Firstly I want to say that I really admire your crazy amount of detailed thought in all of your assignments, as well as your courage to do what you feel is needed to fully convey your message a.k.a. drop your pants wew!!
    Task 1: For the first photo, I’m not very sure how surrendering to nature relates to the idea of you holding on to your idealistic values. Do you mean like surrendering to your beliefs? Aesthetic wise, I think a wider shot would have shown a keener sense of vastness and made you look more vulnerable (surrendering). For the second picture, the sudden switch to an urban indoor environment is a bit jarring for me, maybe it would have been better to shoot it outdoors in a more natural setting. Still keeping the people and signposts of course. I really like the last shot.
    Task 2: I think the soft focus of the first picture really brings out the softness of the piano’s hammers. Perhaps you could include the hard and glossy exterior of the piano in the shot as well to further bring out the relative softness. Your hand does look quite disjointed and surrealistic in the second shot. I think it would look even more surrealistic if you included more stark white space in the left of the shot.
    Task 3: I can feel the feels from your Haji Lane shots! I also like the progression of Haji lane being lighted up throughout your shots. Your last shot is really atmospheric, the air looks very thick and romantic even. The only nitpicky thing would be that the first shot looks a bit dull and murky.
    Overall, your concepts are very strong, and if you create even more impactful images, your work will be really great! 🙂

  3. Hey dude!

    Woah, I remember you saying the printing messed up your photos and I thought you were exaggerating (sorry) but yeah the exposure and colour difference is nuts. I had a completely different impression of your photos from the presentation :/

    Having heard you speak a few times on your assignments so far, I have to say I really admire the extremely detailed and intense thought process behind all the content that you create – to me it’s very sincere and shows that you really care about your art (although I hope you don’t stress yourself out too much over it). I like your task 1 especially; in my opinion the symbolism in each photo is very well rationalized and introspective, and aesthetically to me they are quite high concept.

    However, I feel that with these high concepts, the photos could have been much more stunning if more photography tricks/techniques were utilised? I’m not sure if this was part of your thought process, but things like shot size, exposure, and even photo editing might make a big difference. For example, in your first image if you wanted to showcase more of the awesome nature you could have taken a much wider shot to incorporate more of the landscape, while simultaneously showing you as a smaller figure, making you look even more insignificant in this huge world. If it was a nicer day, the sky would have been more colourful and might make the photo less drab. For your second photo, the slow shutter effect could be utilised in a wide shot with you standing in a busy crowd, showing even more so the contrast between modern bustling life and you with only nature on your back. (These are simply my personal takes on your ideas, read with a pinch of salt)

    Anyway to wrap up my comment, I think having creative yet rational thought processes like yours is more important than techniques for now – your passion can be channeled into brainstorming, and once the execution catches up to your great ideas then you’re in business!

    Sorry for the tl;dr wow

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