Curating Self: Final

Task 1: Object and representation of self

I had been playing the violin for as long as I could remember; from the age of three to be exact. Going for lessons every week for 17 years has made the instrument become a part of me.


It really opened many opportunities for me. During my learning years, I got to travel to many countries such as Australia and Korea. Also by completing all 8 Grades meant that I could teach the skill to others in the future.

With a medium shot I was able to show the enjoyment I had from the oversea trips through facial expression. I also chose to take the horizon of the sky and ocean to represent the countless possibilities that I could do with my musical skills.


I started taking solo classes instead of group classes because everyone in my group class was advancing at lightning speed. I ended up lagging behind. Being not talented at all and I felt left out.

Taking a long shot from a high vantage point gives a sense of isolation. Translating the feeling of loneliness from being left in the dust by child prodigies. The waves and the beach creates a contrast in texture. Those kids were already sailing the seas while I still tread on oncoming waves.


Playing music was really fun but learning the Violin was not easy. It hurt my jaw, my hands cramp up, the Rosin made me sneeze, most likely the noise I made was unsatisfactory. I felt trapped by my extremely slow improvement.

I decided to make use of tonal difference with lighting to depict this emotion. A contrast is created between the background and the foreground. The background being bright and colorful while the foreground is much more dark and dull.

Task 2: My World

During my childhood my family often came to West Coast Park for picnics on weekends, sometimes with friends or relatives. Having not been there in a long time and thought to take the chance to visit the park. I wanted to capture the  fun and energy of the place.


As the shot captures the players in the middle of motion, we tend to anticipate their movement.

The foreground, middle ground and background in this photo are very clear-cut. The people playing volleyball in the foreground. The trees in the middle ground and the sky in the background. These create some depth to the photo.

The Pyramid

I took this as a framing shot through the hexagonal shape made by the ropes. Then I thought it was a perfect example of multiple viewpoints with the lines criss-crossing one another. It made the photo quite messy but the boy in blue attracts attention and guides your sight from right to left.

Cycling Family

This is a one point perspective from taken from eye level. It also communicates movement with the swaying bicycles. There is also some depth to the image due to the converging lines.

Scattered Belongings

This image does not communicate much energy but I thought it was interesting that people would leave their belongings scattered around the field. As if to say they were carefree and had so much fun that they dumped their things wherever they like. Also that the place is friendly and safe enough to do so.

Curating Self: Task 1 Process

When looking at a photo we ask these questions:

What techniques were used?
What visual elements make up the photo?
How do the elements work together?
How the image is composed?

Photo manipulation techniques  –

In this project I try to experiment with the basic techniques of photo manipulation:

Framing and cropping is use to include or exclude details that may change the meaning of the photographs. By moving the frame of the camera or cropping an image, the creator controls and defines the content of what we see.

Subject Distance refers to the proximity of the camera lens to the subject. The closer the camera move in, the viewer becomes more involved with the details such as texture, expressions, while becoming less involved with the surrounding and environment of the subject.

Vantage Point or angle determines the position where the camera is place before a shot. By varying the angle of shot from above, below or at eye level can result in interesting images that could distort, manipulate or offer visual pleasure and surprise.

Vantage Point:

Long Distance + Vantage Point:

Long shot taken from a high vantage point
Cropped chosen photo

By cropping this image I eliminate the people in the background making the photo much cleaner and the tone of the photo becomes lighter. Leading the viewer to think that the photo was taken at an empty beach.

The long shot taken from a normal/medium vantage point depicts the subject playing out to the sea and sky. From this view it is as if the subject is envious of the freedom the ocean and the skies provide.

A long shot with a low vantage point here resulted in an empowering effect the subject. There is also some effect of framing from the clouds behind that helps to focus on the subject.

If i were to cropped the image and turn it into a medium shot, the original effect would be lost.

Normal/Medium Shot + Vantage Point:

I attempted this as a close up shot only to realize it is actually a normal shot because my camera can only zoom so far.

Close Up Shot + Vantage Point:

With this close up shot and angle, I was trying to capture the feeling of being trapped by my inferior skills of the instrument thus the darker tone.  There is also a drastic contrast between the inside (dark and monotone) and the outside (bright and colorful).

From the front much more emotion is revealed than the side. The instrument can be seen being held drooping downward much obviously than from the side.

The back view shows the difficulty and tension that goes into gripping the instrument between one’s jaw and shoulders. Otherwise, there is not much to be seen from this view.


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Curating Self: Catherine Opie


Catherine Opie is a social-documentary photographer. She was inspired to be one after encountering Lewis Hine’s images of child laborers from the early 20th century. Her interests lies in the relationship between the private and the public politics, the mainstream versus the infrequent. She was known for her works about the LGBT and BDSM community.

Pervert, 1994. Self Portrait.

Catherine Opie decided to wear a hood in this piece because she wanted the focus to be her body and not the distortion on her face. It is about the existence of the word “Pervert” and what it meant. The politics lie in the fact that she dared inscribe it on her body, it does not lie in her eyes.

Why would she do this?

This piece were made in reaction to the gays and lesbians coming out of the closets during that time. All the sudden appearance of homosexuals segregated society and Catherine Opie wanted to push the viewer’s boundaries of normality; challenging our cultural code for relationships.

Cutting, 1993. Self Portrait.

Catherine chose the background to reference seventeenth century paintings. The photo is took with intent of having a fruit bowl over her head, which queers the image with a little humor.

In her words “You’re looking at this juxtaposition of cutting of two stick figures, you know, women holding hands, with this comic fruit bowl over my head in the fabric.”

According to the creator this piece was made after the break-up of her first domestic relationship and she was working our her ideas of longing. It is also a representation of what a queer child might make at school.

Oliver in a Tutu, 2004. From the series In and Around Home.

Not all her works that tackle homophobia are so intense. The above is a photo of her son in a tutu and tiara.

Catherine, Melanie & Sadie Rain, 1998. From Domestic series.

For the Domestic series, Catherine Opie rented an RV and spent three and a half months traveling the states.  She wanted to complete the story of domesticity in a show that she attended.

“One of the things I always think about is who I want to have conversations with, what does it mean to create history related to a history that is already present, the need to add a conversation to a given situation, because something is not being represented, something is left out of the telling of the story. ”

Catherine Opie also documents other events such as the Inauguration and High School Football.

Firefighters, 2005. From the series In and Around Home.
Untitled #1, 1994. From Freeways.
Untitled #14, 1999. From 1999.
In Protest to Sex Offenders, 2005. From the series In and Around Home.
M.L.K. Parade, 2005. From the series In and Around Home.
Untitled #1, 2009. From Inauguration series.
Josh, 2007. From High School Football.
Rusty, 2008. From High School Football.
Football Landscape #3, 2007. From High School Football.
Football landscape #18, 2009. From High School Football.
Football Landscape No. 13, 2008. From High School Football.
Football Landscape #12, 2008. From High School Football.

Catherine Opie’s photography style is nothing special it is not especially aesthetic but rather mundane. Just normal day to day lives that most people can relate to, which really ties in with her concept of interconnection.

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