Response to tutor – assignment five

Overall I was very happy with the feedback for assignment five. You can find the full transcript here. The overriding comments were on shot-selection and their relevance to the narrative. I shall address this first.

I have decided to change some of the images as suggested my tutor. In turn, this may invite more viewers to understand where it is in the world that I am shooting which will bear more relevance to the narrative. I have set out the series again but this time substituting the images I felt needed changing after feedback with comments on that decision where necessary. Any extra information (e.g. extra captions and reason for change) will be in red.

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People start to gather at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) after hearing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's death. Mourner's flowers of condolence mingle with the 'get well' cards and balloons.

People start to gather at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) after hearing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s death. Mourner’s flowers of condolence mingle with the ‘get well’ cards and balloons.

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Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s omnipresent image keeps a watchful eye over Singapore’s future generations at SGH where he was cared for until his death.

The grief of the older generations was palpable.

The grief of the older generations was palpable.

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In a city known for it’s capitalist ideals, LKY still turns a profit with state owned newspapers in the Central Business District in the aftermath of his death.

Messages of strength in the ever extending lines of people.

Messages of strength in the ever extending lines of people.

The organisation of the massive numbers paying their respects soon turned in to a military operation.

The organisation of the massive numbers paying their respects soon turned in to a military operation.

Signing the book of condolences at Tanjong Pagar GRC (Group Representation Constituency). Mr Lee Kuan Yew led this constituency throughout his political career until his death in March 2015.

Signing the book of condolences at Tanjong Pagar GRC (Group Representation Constituency). Mr Lee Kuan Yew led this constituency throughout his political career until his death in March 2015.

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“A journalist at Singapore General Hospital readies herself to report amidst the media interest generated by LKY’s passing”.   I am not convinced the initial series image did not work. There is an interview in progress which takes place in front of the long line of mourners. So I would see this one as a possible alternative. It also shows I was thinking along these general lines when shooting initially.

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Mourners file along the river and past the towering banks of UOB and Bank of China as they make their way to pay their last respects“. I have changed the image and the meaning here to better reflect the city in which this event was happening. It ties in better with my capitalist remark earlier in the series too. Less complicated aesthetically than the initial image, it still brings a sense of scale to proceedings.

…..and by night. Some waiting for up to twelve hours to pay their last respects.

…..and by night. Some waiting for up to twelve hours to pay their last respects “as the tourist boat continues to ply it’s business on Singapore River“. Again reflecting trade going on as usual in a city that is mourning.

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Mourners pay their last respects at Mr Lee Kuan Yews’s home GRC, Tanjong Pagar. I have replaced this image as it is more pleasingly balanced and nearly made it in to the original series. It shows a clear generational gap in age, respects and clothing. Cropping the original image led to a wholly unacceptable result.

 

The other main feedback picked up on a point/question I raised on reflection:

“Maybe another concern would be to find the truly individual moments in amongst the thousands of other photographers all doing the same thing. Obviously the nature of photography dictates that each image is unique, but with circumstances being the same for most of the photographers, it stands to reason there will be many similar images out there all shouting for attention. My concern is that mine fall within that gamut.”

My tutor comments:

The same question exists for every photographer and now, as you’re approaching the next module, is a good place to ask it. To me, the overall feeling of your series is humanist – life cycles (pregnant lady next to old man in wheelchair), citizenry, trade. But an event doesn’t have to be recorded just as social documentary. Some other possible points of departure may be found within the shots themselves – raw emotion and extreme heat, death and commerce, text and the city (‘messages of strength’ is a great shot), the military (contrasted with the citizen), news media people looking bored (contrasted with seriousness), the night.

Within my shooting criteria I stated that:

” I need to challenge the viewer with something unexpected.”

and that I needed to:

“Be more creative in my approach, freer with my expression of the camera.”

As my tutor points out, this is still quite a safe series of images which though pleasing are ‘comfortable’, both for me and the viewer. He also points out that there may be jumping off points within the some of the shots already taken. Indeed, raw emotion would have been an interesting direction to take as Singaporeans are not known for expressing grief, particularly openly and in this case raw emotion was certainly on display. I think I got tied up in trying to make a balanced and honest report on what I saw (I believe I stated this) and didn’t take any alternative direction.

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