Hi there! In my final semester, I took a leap of faith and did something I dreamt of doing ever since I started photography as a hobby. I took the opportunity to develop 252 days indoors and later exhibit it through Singapore Management University (SMU).
It all started when responded to an open call and became one of the twelve students to be selected to participate in a ‘Digital Photography: Visual Diary’ workshop with Objectifs Centre for Photography & Film. The entire workshop was conducted online over Zoom and the mentors from Objectifs critiqued our work and guided us to explore the art of visual storytelling and develop our unique photo projects in December 2020.
For Singapore Art Week 2021 (22 Jan to 30 Jan), SMU presents an exhibition titled ANNOTATIONS at the Li Ka Shing Library featuring the finished photo projects by all twelve students.
Developing the concept
Early on, I pitched the idea of documenting the period of COVID-19 through my family and my home to Kamilah, the SMU Art Programme Manager and Curator of the Exhibition. Throughout this period, there has been anger, boredom, joy, worry and sadness. And yet, these emotions and scenes are hardly portrayed on social media where we feel the need to appear as though we ‘have it together’.
With COVID-19 changing how we remain connected and increasing our use of social media, I wanted to cut through the online world of perfect pictures to truly connect with people. I want to show the everyday realities and how the time together strains and also strengthens the relationships (e.g. the relationship with oneself and also the relationship with loved ones).
Choosing zine as the medium
At first, I thought I would be going with print like the other students. After some discussion with the mentor, I decided I wanted to create a zine aka a picture booklet and hand it out. This goes in line with the theme which is about moments captured indoors and the pages within the zine feels fitting as a metaphor for being indooors.
The photographs I selected were also more personal and I felt that the zine would convey that nicely through the experience of flipping through the pages.
Telling the story
This is my first time creating a zine that would potentially be viewed publicly. As expected, I spent most of my time thinking of how to arrange the photos. I ended up choosing to go with the chronological order since I wanted to show the changing emotional states as well over time.
I would say that minimalism guides my photographic eye so I definitely made sure to incorporate that in each page. It allows each image to say more given that what surrounds it is less. This next one requires more observation but let me know if you even realised that some photos were also deliberately more minimal to also act as a form of negative space when taking in all the the photos.
There is also a delicate balance between tension and resolution among the images that was used to convey the feeling of staying indoors for extended periods of time.
The final product
If I had more time, I would be able to experiment more and capture more sides. Yet, the brevity itself also serves to encapsulate the feeling of being limited to the four walls of our homes.
I will always remember this project fondly because it is the first time I was believed in by someone to bring my photography vision to life. Thank you Kamilah for your faith and thank you SMU for the experience.
For more photography by me, follow my Instagram!